Be Your Tea was created in 2014 and launched in November 2015. The preparation of over one year was necessary to figure out how we would do business with Asian partners, to refine and tighten the concept, to find the name, to determine the logo, to build up the collaboration with designers and printers for the design and packaging, to make a first selection of the teas, to launch the first website, the elaboration of the communication plan, etc. We rented an office that was put into use in November 2015 as a storage and packaging place. This space was inspected and approved by the FAVV (Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain). In the beginning, there was a mix of direct trade and European suppliers to immediately start with a diverse range. Meanwhile, we buy almost all our tea through direct trade from Asia. Jozefien traveled to China for the first time in April 2015; after that, there were three more trips to Asia. The local contacts form the basis for the purchase of the specialty teas.
The commitment of Jozefien Muylle was to build a brand for pure loose tea with respect for biodiversity, the well-being of tea farmers and producers, which had to be sustainable and ecologically responsible. Thus, the foil is compostable, the cardboard is FSC certified, all teas have a fair price, and consumers are advised to get as much as possible out of their tea.
Requests from organizations like museums, cultural centers wanted to associate themselves with BYT and show how 'the market' appreciates the tea brand. We actively respond to this through Facebook, Instagram Posts, YouTube (with 'how-to videos'), and newsletters.
Originally, the basic idea was to enter the consumer market by offering a bi-monthly tea subscription. 3 or 4 gift boxes with top tea in a letterbox box for a fixed price (all-in) for 1, 3, or 6 deliveries. It did not catch on as expected based on market explorations in advance. The conversion from visitor to buyer remained too low. We participated in fairs, ranging from organic fairs to design and pop-up markets, we were present at the tea festival in Utrecht, etc. Through the workshops of The Natural Way of Tea, we developed an involved audience. Our customers turned out to be mainly gourmets, foodies, and tea lovers. The price and the self-confidence to brew specialty tea properly turned out to be a stumbling block, not as a gift but for regular personal use.
The disappointing interest from consumers was initially compensated by strong interest from the Horeca (hotel, restaurant, cafe) sector. Without active prospecting, we served quite some horeca customers. They found us.
In 2018 Jozefien divorced me and that was the end of our joint efforts. In the years after we kept serving existing clients, but the combination of Covid (many clients closed) and the erroding effects of the divorce lowered the B2B sales. Clients went with other tea brands.
Early 2024 we formalized the status that was already the informal state of affairs for a long time.
Be Your Tea was a wonderful and beautiful brand, but came nevertheless to an end.