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A Day in My Shoes
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Episode 11, Part 5 - A Day in My Shoes - Linda Villano - SerendipiTea

Monday, November 25th 2013 @ 12:00 AM

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A Day in My Shoes – Episode 11, Part 5 - Linda Villano, SerendipiTea


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Welcome to A Day in My Shoes – a blog and sometimes vlog as The Tea House Times publisher, Gail Gastelu, puts herself in another person’s shoes for the day – going behind the scenes in the tea industry!  If you are just joining us, go to the Archived entries in the left column to catch up - beginning with January 2013.  OR

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EPISODE 11, PART 5 – A DAY IN MY SHOES – LINDA VILLANO, SERENDIPITEA

Hello everyone – back to A Day in My Shoes – spent with Linda Villano of SerendipiTea.  After learning about their operations more deeply and blending tea with Linda as well, Linda and I spent some more one on one time and I asked her to tell us what a typical day is like for her in this business.

As with any business, Linda told me that every day is different and it keeps things interesting! 

Operations at SerendipiTea run like a well-oiled machine. As I shared with you last week, they have firm systems in place and a great group of people working there through every single step of the process.   Wow! Once again, I have observed the amazing people who are drawn to working in the tea industry. They were like family all caring about the quality of the tea, the importance of education, and quality customer interactions as well. 

Linda told me that they usually place large orders for tea quarterly – meaning the large orders for their supplies and inventory needed to keep up with blending and customer orders.  These shipments include herbs, spices, florals, teas and other ingredients.  They usually compare quarter to quarter and the previous year of the same quarter to help determine, eyeball, and gauge their needs. The same goes for other supplies, packaging, and labels.  Thankfully all of the systems they have in place and the amazing group of people working there keep excellent communications between departments.  They all know anticipated ship time, and keep things running smoothly.

Linda takes pride in working with customers on every level, wholesalers, and new prospects as well.  She also answers questions about products when those come up. 

Social media is another task that takes some time but is an important part of marketing activities including Facebook Twitter, Special Events, Fundraisers, Tastings, Trade Shows, Public Events, Press Releases, Copy and Text for new products and other educational materials for staff and customers, and more.

Linda also takes careful time and consideration when sourcing ingredients.  She also takes a lead in quality control, cupping of samples, spot checking and comparing lots. 

A new catalog is created every 1-1.5 years when pricing is also reviewed.  Other things Linda manages include private label customers, proprietary blends, co-packing, and she also takes a trip to one tea country of origin each year.

Of course when I asked Linda how often she travels to origin, this took on an entirely new conversation over lunch where I drilled her on the conditions in each country and my most important questions included things like the ability to use a hair dryer and a real toilet!  I was going to share the funny chart I drew while we had this conversation, but I decided it is best kept between Linda and I as a fun remembrance of our day together. Let’s just say that traveling to origin of any tea growing region is unique, special, rewarding, and each may have a different challenge that we are not accustomed to here in the USA, but I am sure each is wonderful in its own way!  : )

Special thanks to Linda and everyone at SerendipiTea for sharing their expertise. I encourage you to visit their website at http://www.serendipitea.com

 

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