It has been an incredible journey building Treecup. I have sunk a year and a half of my life into funding tree saplings by selling tea. And in 5 days, I'm pleased to announce that Treecup's pre-orders are set to launch!
Pre-orders will be fulfilled approximately one month later, when we finally receive our new biodegradable and BPA free bottles. Indeed, it's been quite a journey and we're just beginning!
My mother, as co-founder and CFO, is in charge of tea production, inventory, and bookkeeping. She has always been a blessing to my life, but nowadays she is instrumental to my efforts building Treecup, and I couldn't be more grateful. She is a jack of all trades!
I, co-founder and CEO, am in charge of operations, sales, growth, and marketing. We work well together, my mother and I - you could say that she is the yin and I am the yang.
Travelling to Haiti for an extended period of time has long been on my heart and mind... and next month (June), I'm doing just that!
I am travelling to Haiti to take thousands of pictures and videos of our tree planting process, study the culture, and develop relationships with the Haiti Friends tree-planting staff. By my doing so, we'll be able to create the holistic, transparent, and authentic content for our social medias, website, and in-store promotions. Additionally, we'll be able to populate our TREE OF THE DAY page! :)
Directly after Haiti, I'm hitting the pavement - and I'm hitting it HARD!
What I mean is that I am setting out to sell 10,000 bottles of tea this summer alone. By accomplishing this, we will double the amount of trees we have planted to date with Te Amo sales (our previous brand name). I am a believer that with our new packaging, a well-thought-out marketing campaign, a whole lot of prayer, hard work, and your purchase - we can accomplish this goal!
And, if things go as planned, Treecup will be in outlets like Whole Foods, Giant Eagle, and Sheetz by fall. This will accomplish my personal goal of "Whole Foods by Senior Year".
Indeed, I'll be entering my senior year at Grove City College studying Entrepreneurship with a minor in Marketing. It will be, perhaps, my toughest school year yet as I take three humanities courses in the fall and the hardest business courses the school has to offer in the spring.
By the time I graduate, however - I would like to move into Treecup full time instead of having to find a job!
Going into college for a major such as "Entrepreneurship", I had always thought that if I ended up having to get a job then I would be a failure. And indeed, I still hold this belief - why study to be an "entrepreneur" if you're going to go out and get the first sales or communication job you can get? It still doesn't make sense to me.
I did the math - and in order to be able to live off of my Treecup salary when I graduate, I'll have to sell 50,000 units in 2020. That's a lot of tea! That's also a LOT of trees planted - and I'm excited to go towards this goal with positivity, faith, and persistence.
I love what me and my mother have created with Treecup - the business model, I mean. The fact we can impact 1,000's of Haitians through putting a philanthropic purchasing decision in the hands of the American market is my ideal vision of a meaningful business. We are producing value for every party involved - the tea drinker, the several suppliers of tea, Haitian families, and ourselves.
I know with certainty Treecup is something that exists in the future - because we'll never stop trying. Even if we sell one tea a week, that is one tree EACH WEEK that we are helping to plant in an at-need country. And if that's not worth working for, I don't know what is!
Mark Sotomayor, Tea-EO at Treecup