Since founding Tealet, I’ve learned that building a community for a new brand and product is one of the most difficult jobs of a startup; it’s a game of creativity and authenticity. Hundreds of online tea retailers offer a variety of tea at very competitive prices, so how does a new tea company stand out? As we started to pinpoint who our customers are and what makes them happy, I began to invent a personality that would best connect with this target demographic. What resulted after a few trips to the craft store and a night of hot glue and feathers was the Tea Fairy. I donned the Tea Fairy costume for the first time in mid-October, utilizing Halloween as an excuse for my strange appearance. What started as a joke turned into something people enjoyed.
Our team was invited to more events and the Tea Fairy costume continued to evolve. Her once playful tutu and tiara has since been replaced with a more conservative long skirt and she is much more in touch with Asian culture. Every encounter brought a new smile and an answer to the question, “Who is the Tea Fairy?” I explained to people that she is a magical being who befriends tea farmers around the world and collects their tea leaves to deliver to happy Tealet customers. I even went so far as to visit Santa Claus at the Union Square Macy’s in San Francisco so that the Tea Fairy could have a meeting to talk collaboration, offering to help deliver tea gifts this holiday season.
Santa Claus meets the Tea Fairy from Tealet
The Tea Fairy’s rise in popularity came with celebrity status. Mikoto Kurage, a fan from Tokyo, Japan, calls herself a Tea Fairy Otaku. She has contributed her artistic skills to create an animated Tea Fairy character we can share with the rest of the world. We thought that the best way we could share and engage is through a game. The game, Tea Fairy Spotting, is open to the public and no purchase is necessary. To play, sign up, providing your email, name, and mailing address to participate. We will mail you a Tea Fairy sticker, which can be placed in any unique spot of your choosing. You can then take a photo of your Tea Fairy sighting and share it on the Tea Fairy’s Facebook page or on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #teafairy. It’s a fun and simple way for people to get their own Tea Fairy and share it with the world.
Seeing the CEO of a company with pink hair and sparkling wings may be surprising, but it was the most authentic idea I could think of to stand out. She’s festive and brings tea culture direct from the farm to new tea lovers around the world. It’s not all fun and games, but why not have fun if we can?!