With Shane Talbott’s background in the spa and salon industry, he has a passion for pampering. Shane’s unique blends of super-premium tea leaves, herbs, fruits and spices are as accessible as they are extraordinary, priced so that everyone may savor a lifestyle of extravagance, sophistication and elegance.
Talbott Teas is available in Jamba Juice stores nationwide, and they are thrilled to be a part of the Jamba Juice family.
BusinessInterviews.com: How did you manage to make the leap from the spa and salon industry to launching your own tea business?
Shane: The short answer is, by following my passion. I believe that if you follow your passion, the rest will fall in to place. Of course, a little hard works helps,too! I am passionate about the salon and spa industry and have always been a tea lover. When I opened my spa, I wanted to set it apart from other spas and set up a tea bar inside the spa. I started with unmarked containers of ingredients and would talk to the clients to get a sense of their flavor preferences. I would then create a custom tea blend just for them, and if it was a great blend that seemed like a crowd pleaser I would keep that blend as a regular offering.
Clients loved the special attention and the experience they had with each visit. Client demand inspired the next step to package popular blends and offer them for sale inside the spa.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk a bit about the creative process when it comes to ‘designing’ new flavors of tea? Where do you look for inspiration?
Shane: I think my inspiration is a bit unusual, at least compared to most tea blenders. I mentioned my background in the spa industry. I find a lot of inspiration in spa products and services, especially because aromatherapy is such a big part of those things. When I am struck by the aroma of certain combinations of spices, florals, herbs, etc., I get a strong reaction that makes me think, “how can I translate this into a cup of tea?” The aroma of tea is such a big part of the experience.
BusinessInterviews.com: Startups typically need to pivot and evolve their business model over time, especially as customers start to use the product. Can you provide some advice or lessons learned to entrepreneurs on pivoting while keeping your business moving forward at the same time?
Shane: The big pivot for us has been to provide a tea offering that is a little more of an everyday affordable price. The teas I started making are very high quality and that made them very expensive. Since most people are not so familiar with tea in general, it takes a lot for them to commit to an expensive tea.
We decided to create a line of tea that is very affordable and approachable. The thinking is that this can be an introductory experience with Talbott Teas and then when the customer is ready to take the next step up in quality they can experience our whole leaf teas.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the significance of having Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement and what kinds of doors opened from that publicity?
Shane: Literally, overnight business growth! I think it goes without saying that when Oprah says she likes something, a very big audience trusts her opinion and thinks, “If Oprah loves it, it must be great!”
When Oprah included Talbott Teas as one of her Favorite Things on her show it immediately translated in to orders up to our eyebrows! We definitely had our best Christmas, EVER! Of course, it doesn’t end there. Once the holiday madness calms down, there are just as many people in business that saw the endorsement and contacted us to say they wanted to work with us.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends in the beverage industry that you’re excited about?
Shane: One of the developments in the industry that I am truly excited about is the new technology with the single serving K-cup design. Up until recently the cups were truly designed for coffee brewing and tea is brewed very differently. The tea leaves need to steep in the hot water for a certain amount of time, and that was not possible with the original design.
The new design is specifically for tea brewing. It allows tea leaves to brew properly and create a delicious single serving of tea. I am really looking forward to creating Talbott Teas products with this new technology.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you reflect on your experience and the journey of becoming part of the Jamba Juice family and what that has meant to the direction and vision of Talbott Teas?
Shane: It has been an absolute pleasure to become part of the Jamba Juice family. They really saw our vision for tea and wanted to be a part of that vision. We are working hard together to do exciting things in the tea category and to bring exciting new tea experiences to people. There will be new tea blends and people will be able to find us in more places. There is also potential to grow in to international markets much faster that I could have imagined possible.
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