Meet Erin Young she is a big tea lover!Creative Folk, Entrepreneurs | April 23, 2018
It all started with a goal to chat to entrepreneurs over 60. Then out of curiosity we decided to talk to entrepreneurs under 30. We believe these two very vast generations can learn and grow from each other.
She partners with sustainable tea farms in Kyoto, Japan to source her premium matcha green tea powder.
Can you tell us a little about your business and what you do?
I started Zen Green Matcha Tea when I was 21. At the time I was a big tea lover and I read about an amazing type of green tea called matcha from Japan. I looked around Sydney to try and find matcha but I discovered I couldn’t buy any in Sydney. I immediately thought there might be a business in bringing this amazing tea to Australia, so I contacted many sustainable tea farms in Japan. After trialling many samples, I bought 10 kilos of matcha, packaged it up and started selling the tea at markets and to family and friends. When I had people contacting me to reorder I knew I was onto something so I developed my brand, built a website and started to learn all I could about business.
What motivated you to start your own business?
I became interested in entrepreneurship when I was 20 because I wanted to be able to travel freely, and separate my time from my income. In my last year of university, I joined entrepreneur societies, and met some incredible people who had successful businesses. This both influenced and inspired me.
I also have a real love for my product and its incredibly rewarding to hear how much my customers love the tea too – especially when I hear about how this tea helps improve their health. Matcha tea is often used to increase energy levels, reduce inflammation and protect against diseases, so when I hear about happier and healthier customers, because of my product, its amazing!
Some of my customers have ordered from me for seven years now so it has been wonderful to grow my business on their positive word of mouth.
What were some of the struggles you faced when you first started?
The first big challenge was the isolation I felt when I first started the business. I was working from home and the business was not making much money. Not having a team around me or a structure to my day was very hard and caused me to develop anxiety. I decided at that young age to go back and get a corporate job and grow Zen Green Tea on the side.
Another challenge came from business growth. Four years into the business, I received an email from a company who distributed to health food stores asking if they could sell my product. I agreed and they confirmed a relatively small number of units they expected to buy each month. I set aside these units and went on a planned vacation overseas. While on vacation, I received a frantic call from my mother (who was helping me manage the business) saying this distributor just ordered more than my entire Australian stock of tea.
This massive increase in volume meant that I had to air freight more stock into Australia and my parents had to take a week off work to help me pack stock. Its small events like this that define the business and I am happy to say we were able to meet the new volume!
Now the main challenges of my business are around expansion into new markets and taking it to that next level. It requires me to learn more about managing people and to take bigger financial risks. Scary for a business without any outside investment and still just me as a full-time employee!
What do you like most about having your own business?
I love the freedom my business gives me to live the life I want.
I value learning and growth so my business both allows me to always learn. It also gives me the time to be able to build lots of hobbies and interests into my life.
I’ve set my business up so that I do not have to be in any one location so I have been living out of a seven kilogram backpack and basing myself from different locations. The last two years have seen me work from over 25 different countries and have some amazing experiences like learning salsa in Colombia, diving in Honduras and a road trip around Scandinavia.
Who is an older person that you admire and why?
Tim Ferriss. He is the pioneer of the online, lifestyle business movement. I read his book the Four Hour Work Week when I was 21 and it had a huge impact on my life and my choice to become an entrepreneur.
I love all of his books and his thirst for learning.
If you could jump into a time machine what era would you visit and why?
I’d visit the future- perhaps 100 years from now. It would be amazing to see how society has progressed and to be able to read back on what people thought of our current time. I truly believe that we are in a hedonistic era now- we are consuming at capacity, and have the ability to travel so much. I’m sure in the future our descendants will shake their heads at how unsustainable our generation was.
Anything else you would like to add?
If you are looking to live your best life, you need to determine what your values are and then, based on this, work out how you can change the elements of your life so that you are able to live out your values.
A good book to help you determine your values is Awaken the Giant Within. Once you have your values and a rough plan, you will start to, both consciously and subconsciously, make every choice based on your values. With enough time and effort you will create your best life. Everyone I have met, that has put in the time and effort, has created their best life.