Meet the partner: Frank about tea
by Tribes Inspiring Workplaces, on 17 Apr 2020
The young Dutch entrepreneurs from Frank bout tea: David Kellerman and Valerie Hirschhauser.
Our members and colleagues at Tribes, do not only drink coffee every day, but also drink a lot of tea. Today you will learn more about our tea supplier iand whats the story behind theír cup of tea. Frank about tea is not just any tea supplier. They have an inspiring story to tell and a clear statement they want to bring out; Drink for change is the message. Frank about tea, is a small company with big ideas from two young entrepreneurs Valerie Hirschhauser (on the right picture) and David Kellerman. They want to be a leading tea company when it comes to an honest and transparent cup of tea. By drinking their Tea you also contribute to a better world for people and the planet.
The tea sector is a difficult industry managed by many and powerful competitors. Frank about tea provides lobbying to give more attention to better conditions for the local farmers. Frank is another word for fair, hence the name Frank about tea. The business is going well for Frank about tea, they are adding new tea flavors in their product range. Soon you can also drink a cup of tea from tea bags that are not only compostable, but also GMO free. These tea bags are made from corn fiber and are therefore completely plastic-free. That makes not only Tribes people happy, but also the environment.
Who it all started and their inspiring story.
After studying international relations, Valerie first traveled to Ghana (West-Africa) to understand the cocoa sector better. Indeed, there are many abuses in this sector. The three major products such as coffee, tea and cocoa are widely consumed in the west. Valerie was particulair interested in these three products, because as a westerner you don’t know exactly where the products comes from. Once back in the Netherlands, Valerie came up with many new ideas and ambitions, and therefore she decided to start a business for herself. Together with her partner David Kellerman they ended up in the tea sector. As many of us don't know, tea is the most widely consumed drink worldwide, even more than coffee. Most of us also don't know what's behind our cup of tea. That’s the reason why Valerie and David decided to investigate the tea sector.
And so, their adventure begins…. Both armed with a motorcycle, they traveled for three months through East Africa in countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. During this trip they spoke to various tea farmers and ministers. They found out that there are too many steps in the tea’s supply chain. The supply chain is too long from the moment the tea leaf is picked to drinking the cup of tea. The tea that lies in the supermarket is no longer fresh. As a result, the consumer drinks a low-quality cup of tea, but, more important, the local farmers get a very low price for the tea.
This was the reason why Valerie and David thought it was time for a change, Therefore they started making direct contacts and collaborations with the local tea growers. At the end of 2016 Frank about tea was founded. Valerieand David are very proud that they achieved purchasing tea based on Direct Trade. This means that they go directly to the plantations to buy the world's best teas from the tea producers. Fewer steps in the process also means that tea is more traceable. See below the tea journey from Frank about tea.
The collaboration with Tribes and Frank About Tea
Valerie: “David went once to a Tribes location and was inspired by the concept and story. The brand experience of the inspiring office spaces of Tribes is the most important part of it. In addition, Tribes also presents itself as the party for sustainable business by letting sustainably furnished offices and flexible workplaces. Tribes also creates optimal working environments that affect people and the planet”
“We want to introduce the atmosphere and experiences that Tribes creates in the office to tea. After that we also came into contact with Jones brothers Coffee who is also partners with Tribes. We had so much in common with the Jones brothers Coffee, that we would be a very good combination to serve our Tea and their coffee together at Tribes. Via internal ambassadors of Tribes; Eline Hamelijnck (Marketing Manager) and Eduard Schaepman (Chief and Founder of Tribes), who were both very enthusiastic about the story of Frank about tea and the taste of the tea.”
Frank About Tea has gradually been introduced to Tribes. First, they started in the Netherlands, then Belgium and now they also introduce their tea in Tribes Germany.
Why is the focus on the Business-to-Business market?
“Our focus is mainly on the office market. We see that there is a great need for better tea in the office, to create more experience and we see a lot of opportunities, especially in coworking spaces, to offer that experience. The focus on quality, experience and sustainability is therefore the segment in which we often want to be active. But also, other creative markets such as concept stores and the leading large corporations that want to buy purchasing tea online better. But we also certainly serve the smaller market such as cafes and restaurants. For consumers who would like to drink it at home? From our website www.frankabouttea.com you can order tea directly to your home address. The website is already Europe-wide.”
Frank About Tea wants to bring its consumers even closer to the farmer. This is why they are currently busy setting up cool campaigns. From next year we will also want to launch a new website. Unfortunately, Valerie is not allowed to say much about it yet, but she will keep us informed by then.
What is the best tea to drink?
Frank About Tea's classics always do well, such as Earl Gray, Rooibos and Green Tea. But there is also an increasing demand for caffeine free tea such as the Ginger Lemon.
“More and more people are moving away from afternoon coffee and taking tea more often. Tea also contains caffeine only to a lesser extent and is otherwise absorbed into the body. In the office it is good to drink that combination of coffee-tea, not only for productivity but also for using creativity. A fun funny fact: most coffee consumers don't know that; tea can extend your caffeine from the coffee kick, so you get a more gradual kick from it."
Inspiring flavors of Frank About Tea.
Frank About Tea has different flavors from loose tea to tea bags. Soon they will present more new flavors, which can also be tasted at all Tribes locations. Frank About Tea listened carefully to customer wishes, including the feedback from Tribes.
“There is a lot of demand for herbal options and that is why we started working with digest tea, including Venkel. Soon you will also receive new green tea variations such as the flavors Yasmijn and Rasberry. The Spicy LemonGrass flavor is back in our range. A petition had even been signed for this taste with another customer. The Lemongrass Licorice will therefore get a strong spicy kick from June. An old tea with a new flavor!