Along with cold mornings that December brings, there also arrives the cozy holiday feelings and a promise of a new beginning. There’s an effervescent feeling that something bright and shimmering right around the corner is waiting for us. As we go about trying to wrap 2021 up, we cannot help but feel as if we too are standing in front of greater things. 2022 is already a whirlwind of temptations – of more work, of more adventures and of course, more teas.
But before January sweeps the ground below our feet, we want to look back on 2021 in its entirety. Skipping past the numbers and jargons to the immeasurable experiences that accumulated into feelings of accomplishments and lessons learnt. So, first the good things.
Nepal Tea was synonymous with Nishchal and his dreams when it first started in 2015. But over the years, through his hard work and all the amazing people who believed in the dream, Nepal Tea has come alive. From just the heart and mind to pump that dream into motion, the company has grown limbs.
We have 4 core team members and are constantly blown away by the amazing team collaborations with Digital Mercari and Expressiv. With such awesome people, Nepal Tea aims to run.
So many of our plans came to fruition in 2021. We finally introduced our reserve collection.
The inspiration behind the spectacular packaging were the whiskey brands “Suntory'' and Japanese Calligraphy! Of course, all of this would have remained nothing but an imaginary mood board above our head, had it not been for the Expressiv Team and Sagar dai (we'll share his story soon!). Their leadership and collaboration really made our dreams come true.
Nepal Tea grew. Despite the pandemic, the lockdown and the separation from families and friends, we grew. We found ways to connect.
We’re still learning how to maneuver the post-lockdown pandemic world but it’s been smooth because we have an amazing network of supporters. Their partnership emulates the trust in Nepal Tea’s potential. Despite the hurdles, Nepal Tea partnered with 3 new tea producers/farms and 1 coffee farm producer. We explored and expanded several retail partnerships, collaborated with thought leaders, wholesale partners and through it all new customers and tea drinkers came to know about us.
In August, our partner farm Kanchanjangha Tea Estate and Research Center received funding from The Forum Fairer Handel's Covid-19 Fair Trade Emergency Initiative. We used the initial funds to conduct medical camps that directly helped more than 60 Nepali tea farmers.
Along with that, we provided PPEs and other primary care ensuring their safety for the farmers. We also provided much needed organic farming training to our extension area farmers who will be supplying us with teas and other crops such as yacon
WIth the help of Collaborative Schools Network, our non-profit wing Nepal Tea Foundation (link) has been able to sponsor 21 in-need children's education and 2 school leaders. We’re working to double that number next year through our donor matching program.
Now to some lessons that 2021 taught us.
Featured but floundering:
In retrospect, we could have handled the ensuing chaos better. There are a lot of “what ifs” and the “should’ve, would’ve, could’ves”. We ran out of the item quite quickly and lost quite a number of probable sales but it makes up for a great learning journey.
The Not-so Perfect Match:
Over the years, we’ve partnered with many media agencies, some expensive retainers, some commissions and some hybrid. But 2021 has taught us that despite the ‘investments’ it all boils down to whether or not the agency/people align with the core values that represent us. We’ve had a very negative experience while working with “top marketing agencies with decades of experience”. But partnership with young start-ups and self-learning hustlers has bore results we’re super happy about. It all boils down to the leader and the “match”!
Late rising to the occasion:
We weren’t able to execute and plan for the holidays properly this time. The growing team left us with a bit of under planned optimism. We had a lot of plans but not enough time to execute them. We were unable to push sales during this time but valuable lessons there to understand the workflow as a team and move ahead with proper planning.
These experiences and learnings are what makes this journey so exciting and so very worth it. With this reflection we cannot wait to leave behind 2021 and embrace the challenges and discoveries of a brand new year.
Nepal Tea wishes you and your loved ones happy holidays and a great new year!