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Cool Company of the day: Tea Forte

We were let down when we went to TeaForte.com to research more about the product we’d recently been wowwed by – we thought we were on the cutting edge of discovering a hot new product. But at their site we learned that Oprah beat us to the punch when she announced in 2004, "if you are a tea lover, this is about as good as it gets."

Oh well, Tea Forte is STILL very cool. They have great tasting tea and the most exquisite individual and bulk packaging imaginable. The loose tea is encased in a silken pyramid with a fake twig and leaf projecting upward for handling.

They also did something we think is brilliant: they created individual tea trays that are custom-formed to elegantly hold a tea bag (er, pyramid) before and after usage. Why’s this cool from a business strategy perspective? Well, if you’re a restaurant-owner and you decide to carry this tea and buy this ceramic accessory, it pretty much locks you into this brand of tea going forward. At very least, it makes switching to a different brand much less likely.

We beat this drum all the time, but part of "cool" is recognizing that a product that’s been around forever – and tea has – might spell a business opportunity if it’s given a fresh approach. Repackaging tea into something gorgeous… something that adds interest to a table setting certainly clicked in this case.

Bottom line: There’s the usual way to create and sell a product, and there’s the COOL way. Tea Forte certainly has taken the latter direction with their gourmet teas and accompanying accessories.

About the Author: Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to [...]