All Filip Yip needed was a visit to St Jude’s, and he was “in love instantaneously”.
Ever since, the illustrator/designer by trade has been looking for a way to help our school fight poverty through education, and his latest business turned out to be just the right avenue.
Filip’s new venture combines his passion for exotic teas, a fondness for sourcing products from little known developing countries and a desire to help people in need.
He launched NOUS Tea in December 2015, offering a premium organic selection of blends with a $1 donation to St Jude’s or fellow charity Namlo International (for earthquake relief in Nepal) from each package sold.
“We took a tour at St Jude's and fell in love instantaneously with the premises, especially the fleet of colorful school buses,” Filip said, explaining that he had travelled to Arusha with a Tanzanian colleague for market research on their university business concept. “The academic achievement of the students is very impressive and inspiring! Since then I have been looking for an opportunity to collaborate with St Jude’s.”
The trip was also a valuable step along Filip’s emerging career path, with the business concept earning them third place at the prestigious Chicago Booth New Venture Challenge Business Plan Competition in 2010.
After creating visual brand assets for almost two decades, Filip said it was five years ago when he was recruited to rebrand a tea in the UK where the seeds for NOUS were sown.
His NOUS research led him to the advantages of sourcing teas from “neglected origins”.
“There is always a poor cousin next door (to countries with well-established tea reputations such as Darjeeling), who do not get the same love due to their underdeveloped economy and infrastructure. State borders are only imaginary and political boundary does not divide climate or soil composition,” he explained. “Teas from Myanmar taste a lot like their counterparts from Yunnan; teas from Tanzania are comparable to those from Kenya; and teas from Nepal have the same characteristics of those from Darjeeling's...etc.”
Filip (pictured) said the advantages of sourcing teas from these areas include being organic and non-GMO.
“Teas from trees not grown industrially are in fact more flavorful, thanks to the soil that is not depleted of nutrients nor polluted by chemicals. Merchants and farmers in these regions are also keen to work with importers because of their desire for economic growth,” he said.
“This is one area where we can squeeze some budget out for charity. We get clean, delicious teas at a lower cost, and experiment with reducing marketing cost to further increase charity contribution.”
Filip said it will also be an interesting challenge to see if they can raise awareness of their product though communities such as St Jude’s supporters, as effectively as traditional marketing campaigns.
“We are starting really lean, yet we are super ambitious in being generous, $1 a box for donation is a big chunk of revenue. No big established multinational brands can afford that kind of social commitment,” he said.
“We want to give back to the communities we source tea from in a meaningful manner, and education is definitely one area that’s proven to be effective in reducing poverty in the neediest population.”
New York-based NOUS tea is currently exploring new avenues to ensure more people around the world can purchase from their selection and support charity. Go to www.NOUStea.com to make your order, and have it delivered anywhere.
The kind folks at NOUS tea have also made a special offer for St Jude’s supporters. Make your order with this discount code - stjudes25 - and enjoy 25% off the total purchase.