James is live on a REDDIT AMA!
We (Rickey and James) started Zest tea because we love quality tea, but we also love the energizing boost we get from a cup of joe. Yes, most teas have some caffeine, but sometimes some doesn't cut it. You know those mornings.
We were sick of trading in our delicious, healthy, tea, for that sludge they call coffee at the office, so we set out to find quality energizing tea. Unfortunately, they didn't exist. Instead of whimpering and moving on (well maybe a little whimpering) we started making our own blends of caffeine infused teas using our favorite high quality blends.
We've been tea-heads (sorta like deadheads but with different plants) long enough that we knew how to blend a great tea, but to start it was only for ourselves. Then our friends heard about what we were doing. They loved the idea and when they tasted the teas they had to have it for themselves. Eventually we succumbed to our friends pleas and decided to make our blends available to the masses. There was only one problem, we were broke.
We didn't know what to do, until Venture for America issued the program's fellows (us) a challenge to raise money for a company or cause via a crowdfunding platform called RocketHub. Two months later (and with a lot of help) we had raised over $9,955 from 87 different funders. It wasn't much, but it was enough to get the wheels rolling. In January 2014, we shipped our first product out to our funders and began selling Zest Tea to the public.
Favorite Accomplishment: In May 2015 we were named the Best New Product at the World Tea Expo!