tea and the community, a chat with avi markus of nourishtea

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is about understanding your business’ impact on the wider community and considering how you can use this impact in a positive way. I’ve had the opportunity to covered some other great tea companies that are doing some neat things in the CSR space, such as Rishi Tea, Runa and BOH Tea and now I’m so pleased to be able to add Canada’s nourishtea to this group.

Avi Markus and Chris Draper - founders of nourishtea

nourishtea is a Canadian tea company that are doing their best to make great loose leaf tea accessible (through price and distrubution), cool and fun, all the while supporting large and small causes that they are passionate about.  When it comes to CSR nourishtea are working on both the local level by supporting those in their community that ask, but also at a larger level by partnering with organizations like Action Against Hunger, which is just one of the charities they donate proceeds to.  To me they are a real testament to doing what you can, regardless of your size.

nourishtea was started by Canadians Avi Markus and Chris Draper, two guys with an extensive background in big brand corporate culture (think Coca Cola, Shopper’s Drug Mart and Unilever) and the tools they’ve picked up in this environment have clearly translated perfectly into the swift, nimble and socially conscious smaller business format.  To me nourishtea is a brand that is personified by a bright and colourful outlook on the world and life (I think their tea packaging is pretty striking), and a healthy disposition.  I had a chat with Avi Markus about tea, doing good in the community and the Canadian tea landscape.

nourishtea have a real community focus, with you donating 5% of your proceeds to charity, one of which being Action Against Hunger.  Can you tell me a little about what inspired you to do this, and what you think is important when looking for a charity to partner with.

Image via Ecofabulous

Honestly, we just want to be good people. We want to make sure that we are there for the community and the charities within the community – in every sense of the word.

We were brought up that way (and I know it’s just the right thing to do). Although, we have selected Action Against Hunger ACF as our national charity, we are still donating tea products (and our time) to dozens of charities every year to help them raise funds.

We are a growing business and it’s not always easy for companies our size to offer cash donations, but what we can offer is product to help them fund raise (and so we do that – as often as possible).  To be frank, I rarely say no when asked. I get requests from organizations of all sizes and they’re all important. We’re relatively small now – but we’re going to be a large brand soon – and we’ll never change this approach. I guarantee that. It’s in my blood to do good – it is in Chris’s as well.

What are your thoughts on the Canadian tea landscape today.

I guess my answer here is that as diverse and exciting as the tea market is in Canada (and it certainly is growing rapidly & evolving) there was a gap in the marketplace – one which nourishtea has filled.

We’re not about the intimidating aspect of loose tea. We’re actually about almost “dumbing-it down”, and making it accessible, simple, fun, youthful…easy and light.

While it’s true that nourishtea has a wonderful and important following in the Specialty Channel and we owe our existence to this group of consumers (we’ll always be there for them with great quality teas and new innovation of organic and Fair Trade tea), nourishtea’s raison d’etre is actually to bring loose tea to life in the mainstream market!

We want to bring loose tea to everyone – so we developed a line of organic teas, at a $6.99 price point for the mainstream grocery & drug marketplace. This was position in the market that was waiting to be filled; the buyers were looking for something new and fresh and nourishtea has offered it to them.

On a personal level what is your favourite tea in the nourishtea range, and do you have a favourite tea-travel destination or story to share.

My own personal favorite is definitely minty igloo. I enjoy it every night. LOVE IT.  However, our yummy chai and our sweet berry breeze will knock your socks off as well.

My favorite tea destination story can best be shared by one of our 2010 Trip to Sip winners (a customer from Whole Foods Market), who won a trip to India: take a look. [Their new Sip-to-Trip competition is up and running with the prize being a trip to the very tea-centric city of San Francisco.  More info here.]

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You can find Action Against Hunger online, on Facebook and on Twitter.

nourishtea is also extremely proud to support other phenomenal not-for-profit organizations at the local level.  If you are fortunate enough to be affiliated with a local charity or a not-for-profit organization and would like to talk to nourishtea about involvement, please don’t hesitate to contact them to see how they can become involved. Contact Avi Markus at avimarkus@nourishtea.com.

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Comments
3 Responses to “tea and the community, a chat with avi markus of nourishtea”
  1. Alex Zorach says:

    This is a promising looking company. I looked through their websites and read about their teas and I am excited about both their commitment to charity, and their choice of offerings. They are selling a lot of pure teas, and have a good balance of teas of different styles and from different regions.

    • deb huff says:

      Thanks Alex, I totally agree with you. I’ve had a few email chats with Avi, and one of the things that has really impressed me is his genuine passion for making (good) tea accessible and about working with the local community. I think it’s really important to have brands like nourishtea that can be that fun, non-intimidating stepping stone into the wide, world of tea. The fact that it’s a brand with a ‘personality’ like nourishtea’s is something I love (fun, vibrant and community minded!).

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