Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hotel Tea Doesn't have to Suck

It's very rare that I pump my own product on my blog just because it seems very self serving.....however, I think it may be appropriate when this time it's so AWESOME!  It's not a secret that I own a tea company and as such I have been tasting a bunch of teas, exploring new and interesting packaging as well as studying competitive packaging.  Sadly, I have been a bit underwhelmed considering that my category is a $1.3 BILLION dollar category.  What has been most disappointing is what has been presented in most hotel rooms.  

I believe that there should be a consistency in a brand or product that is provided.  For example, you wouldn't expect an upscale steakhouse to serve a delicious steak and then turn around and serve it with plastic ware right?  So, why do hotels that cost $200 a night provide subservient products that don't match the brand or type of room?  You will probably spend, in a 4 star hotel room while on vacation, close to $1000 for a 4 night stay in a good hotel so at least the TEA should taste good.  Ok, if you Groupon then you'll probably spend 75% of that amount.

You've experienced this before.  You wake up, decide on a morning beverage, you choose wisely and pick up tea (thank you for the support), decide on the 3 flavors (usually a lemon black or orange black tea), proceed to tear the square package and put the dusty tea bag in hot water.  Then you watch it color the water.  So, introducing the better way to enjoy tea in the hotel: Village Tea Single Serve.  TINY paper tubes, 1.7 x 1.5 inches made from 100% recyclable paper material with 1 soilon (soy tea pouch that doesn't leach a chemical into your water) pouch which means it's 100% biodegradable.  What's even better is that its 100% whole leaf tea so you get all the best stuff while on vaca.  Now to find a hotel that wants to carry it :-) 

Make sure to visit Retail Partners to see where you can purchase Village Tea in your neighborhood!

Posted by Martin Ekechukwu at 12:55am on 7/22/2011 at home on my iMAC using the new OS X Lion and giddy with it all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Being Behind the Brand: Lights, Camera, Action, RUN!!

I dislike being on camera. I mean really hate it. The on the fly ad-lib improv stuff and I just don't mix very well. In my current role there is a lot of camera time because I'm the loudest mouth piece for my company - Village Tea . What I don't like the most is the fact that I forget everything that I am about to say right before they start with "so Martin, tell me about.....". As soon as my mouth opens up everything is fine but the lead in sucks and what's worse is when you KNOW you flubbed a line. Case in point:

For The Dr Oz Show, I was a nervous wreck. The rehearsal was great until the audience showed up and the producers said one final thing "oh, we're live to tape so don't mess up". At that point my hands turned into a waterfall and my flight or fight syndrome was telling me to RUN!

I've been trying to get a grasp on why I am so nervous being on camera so much and I have landed on the fact that I am very conscious of how I present myself and concerned that I'll slip and say something idiotic. What's worse would be to not say anything on camera at all which at that point I'll go jump off a bridge afterwards. I don't watch myself after a taping more than 2 times because I turn into super critic and I've been known to pull a Biden before so I try at all costs to avoid a Biden moment.

I'll leave with 3 tips that help me get through a live interview.
1). Get the questions ahead of time and study them diligently.
2). Practice multiple versions of a response rather than a canned response to keep it authentic and smooth
3) Pray for rain if it's an outdoor interview and a power outage if indoors.

This is the only interview in 3 years that I have ever liked. Enjoy!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad2. Am home! Yay!

Location:Uptown,Dallas,United States

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tea Time on Vacation: When Only The Best Will Do

While on vacation in Miami, my best friend, whom I am visiting, rants and raves about his new Keurig system that he adores. He, an engineer, enjoys a good morning cup of joe or tea like the next guy but the on and on about his system forced me to put it to the test. Now, while I don't partake in the morning joe I chose to find a good tea flavor that I could enjoy. He carried a few traditional flavors that are commonly used by most consumers via Celestial Seasoning. I sat down and prepared a couple flavors and I have to say that it was decent. It's the closest you can get to a fast cup of tea without the steeping process.

Now, there is always room for improvement with anything so I'm not going to do a deeper dive on their product line but the quality of the tea could improve vastly especially with the green tea. Unfortunately, it tasted very processed and needless to say I didn't ask for a 2nd cup. My palette has been slightly more refined in the last few years but most people can taste a good green from an ok green tea.

I thanked him for the morning experience and kindly asked if he had a stove top kettle because I carry my own tea (shocker!!!). He said he did not because the Keurig system eliminates the need for a tea kettle if you buy the pods. He followed that up and said it would dispense hot water through one of it's settings. So, I did the most reasonable thing I could to get my cup of tea for the morning. I put the Mobile Teapot under the system and let it run. I turned to him and said "that's the most expensive hot water dispenser I've seen in a long time". The look he gave me was priceless.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad2 at 30,000 feet Sadly Leaving Miami for Texas.