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Meet Chi Nguyen of Purpose Purple Tea in North Dallas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chi Nguyen.

So, before we jump into specific questions about your business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Purpose Tea was started with one powerful idea in mind and that is to use business as a platform for positive change in the world. As an immigrant whose family fled communist Vietnam in search of a better tomorrow, I understand intimately the overwhelming need for equal access to an opportunity to improve your life. Everyone deserves access to opportunity no matter their color, skin or sex they were born. When we empower women, not only do they benefit but so do their families, communities and societies. At Purpose Tea, our vision is to end female poverty in tea.

I had always wanted to start a social enterprise focused on empowering women because when we knock down barriers for women and girls, they thrive and we all benefit from their contributions. As an avid tea drinker, I knew there were issues with worker exploitation in the business of tea and most workers are women, about 75%. After visiting Kenya to learn more about the supply chain, I discovered a magical cultivar, the purple tea leaf, which has superior health benefits and has exclusive health properties that no other teas have. It’s really special. In 2017, Purpose Tea was born with a mission of lifting up the most exploited in tea, female tea workers, and commercializing the most exciting innovation in tea, a brewed tea made from the purple tea leaf.

We launched into the market early 2018 at Market Streets in Texas and added retailers throughout the midwest. In 2019, we expanded to retailers in California and Texas: Albertsons, Vonns, Pavillions, Lassens, Whole Foods and many more. Because the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to stay home, we started selling online through our website: purposetea.com and Amazon.

Has it been a smooth road?
Definitely not! There is nothing smooth about starting a business. There have been several challenges along the way but those bumps in the road are opportunities for growth. A challenge we weren’t prepared for was launching too soon into big retailers. It requires more capital, more resources and more inventory to ensure it’s successful. As a new and emerging brand, it would have been better to launch in smaller retail outlets to build brand awareness and build marketing programs that work before launching in larger retailers.

The other notable challenge is with manufacturing. We changed manufacturing partners two times (!), which had an impact on quality and costs. Eventually, we landed on wonderful partners but it was a painful process.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Purpose Purple Tea – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Purpose Tea is a mission-driven beverage brand with a mission of lifting female tea workers out of poverty and we feature the most exciting innovation in tea, a bottled tea made from the purple tea leaf. We’re best known for our strong female-forward brand and empowering women. We’re passionate about health and wellness as we feature purple tea, a new beverage that has more of what consumers are looking for: more antioxidants, more zen with 42% less caffeine than green tea, and an exclusive phyto-nutrient that no other teas have and is linked to fat burning and anti-aging.

I am most proud of our Direct Impact model that empowers the women who are picking our tea and our continued commitment to learning and making the program better for our stakeholders. I’m also really proud of our small but mighty team. Retail is not for the faint of heart and I’m proud of their tenacity and persistence!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
There are many things I love about Dallas but if I had to pick one, it would be the spirit of the city. There’s an independent streak (must be a Texas thing!) but it also respects traditions. The thing I like least about Dallas is the heat and humidity!

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