Industry: Food & Beverage
Products: Organic wild-harvested teas
Founder John Boyd is an importer, a manufacturer, and an industry educator -- a model for California's progressive food and beverage brands.
The U.K.-born Boyd grew up immersed in the culture of tea. After moving to the United States in 2006 and realizing that his choices were limited, he decided to develop a tea company to expand the selection.
The hook: high-quality, natural ingredients. "Our teas are unadulterated and pure, with nothing added but what you would want to put into your body," says Boyd. "That's what we're all about."
According to Boyd, it all starts with product sourcing and organic and chemical-free processing. "We go to the best source for each plant we use," says Boyd. "Our sencha and matcha green teas are grown in Japan. We get our turmeric and ashwagandha from India, and our ultra-high-quality chamomile from Egypt."
But that's just the beginning of the process. "Our methodologies for meeting high standards are simple and at the same time quite complex," he adds. "Every ingredient we purchase from every supplier anywhere in the world must be sent to CCOF [California Certified Organic Farmers], who then must green light it before we can make the tea," says Boyd. He also says that, on top of CCOF certification, all of the herbs they use are certified organic, no matter the country of origin, noting, "If the product is certified organic in Germany, it must also get certified here in California by CCOF."
Shipping to their facility in Carlsbad can be tricky. "Because we order custom quantities from exclusive producers, we often have to ship by air," says Boyd. He expects to lower costs through ocean freight in the future, but the company prioritizes in meeting the needs of those that use small-batch herbs for wellness. They continue to provide dozens of herbal teas that can't be found anywhere else.
A sign of its commitment to sustainability, Buddha packages its teas in custom-made unbleached bags that are heat-sealed, not glued or stapled, and ships them to markets in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Australia.
Buddha also sets itself apart from large tea manufacturers in the way it sells to consumers. "We want to provide our customers with an easy way to navigate the plethora of offerings and information on our website," says Boyd. "The most logical way is to guide our customers to shop for herbs that support the specific bodily function they want to improve. We use all modern equipment, and yet are very hands-on from start to finish. The ingredients come into our warehouse as raw, single herbs, and are meticulously blended by strictly following the tea's specific recipe. Next, they are weighed by hand, put into a food-grade mixer and tumbled for spread evenly. Only then are finally ready to package. This final step requires state-of-the-art equipment to ensure consistency and accuracy."
He adds, "We adhere to both modern science and ancient principles in selections of the leaves and plants that go into our products, as well as the agricultural techniques. We have a network of native experts that understand our herbs because they live where the herbs grow. We assure we provide our customers the absolute best for their body, nothing less."
Challenges: "Though Buddha Teas UK was launched about a year ago, we recently launched Matcha NOW UK," says Boyd. "Currently, we are looking at the regulations overseas, as we hope to expand even further. The challenges we've come across mainly center on shipping issues. When we seek to contract with distributors, we have to take into account the costs of getting our product delivered. Once we've gained traction, larger quantities will be ordered and we'll be able to ship in containers by boat. This will slash shipping costs dramatically."
Opportunities: In spring 2018, Buddha Teas will add two new flavors to its Matcha NOW line to increase its branding and sales: Peppermint Vanilla and Turmeric Ginger. These are cold drinks packaged to align with the existing recyclable Matcha NOW bottles, but each will have its own unique look.
Needs: Boyd stresses about needing to fill orders, especially with new products coming out. The company just launched a line of CBD teas, cannabidiol extracted from organically grown hemp plants, and plan on rolling out Golden Milk Tea, a delicious concoction of turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices.