#behindthebiz | Julie and Nicole from Eloments

November 04, 2019

#behindthebiz | Julie and Nicole from Eloments

The benefits of drinking tea are amazing!

It can be calming, it's full of antioxidants, it can aid digestion, it can help you rest better at night, the list goes on. So when we first heard of Eloments Vitamin Teasthe world’s first range of 100% natural vitamin and mineral teas, we just had to put the kettle on. 

We sat down with cofounders Julie Hirsche and Nicole Lamond to hear all about where the idea brewed from and how these two women are changing the industry.

Tell us a bit about the people behind your company?

Eloments Vitamin Tea is the world’s first 100% natural vitamin tea, created by two Melbourne-based female entrepreneurs - Julie Hirsch and Nicole Lamond. Nicole, one of the Founding Board Members of Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand, partnered with Julie, a former Deputy Director of an Australian Environmental NGO, to create an ethical innovation in the way we get our daily nutrients.

What inspired you to start your company and when did you start it?

We wanted to create an enjoyable way to get your daily vitamins without having to pop pills (which people often forget to do in the mornings anyway!). We spent two years creating the world’s first natural vitamin tea.

Unlike most other supplements, we wanted to keep Eloments 100% natural, so we sourced plant-based vitamins that come from organic fruits, herbs and botanicals and then blended them with Fairtrade teas.

Every cup of Eloments Vitamin Tea provides you with nine essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, C and Zinc. We launched in September last year, and have been so lucky that Woolworths supported our small ethical company and put us in their tea aisle!

What would an ‘average day in the life of’ look like for you?

Nicole: We have the privilege of working with Fairtrade cooperatives around the world, which means we’re usually working across lots of time zones.

As most entrepreneurs would know there’s very little routine in a start up - we can go from one day of organising sea freight for 2000kg of beautiful peppermint from Egypt to another day at our warehouse putting stickers on packs for a promotion!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Julie: The fact that only 5% of Australian adults eat enough fruit and veg (according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) is a huge motivator for us.

Supplement tablets are a way to fill this gap, but these tablets are often synthetic and people often forget to take them - but no one forgets to have their cup of tea!

What is your favourite way to enjoy your teas?

Nicole: All of our blends have the same natural multivitamin blend that gives you 9 essential vitamins and minerals in every cup, but each variety seems to suit a mood for me. I love starting my day with the Summer Orange. It’s a zesty citrus blend with
fennel for a bit of natural sweetness, and the green tea comes from 10 remote mountain communities.

If I’m feeling a bit under the weather I gravitate towards our Double Lemon, which is a bright combination of lemongrass, lemon verbena and ginger. If I’m craving something sweet, I go straight for our Bourbon Vanilla, which is a chai mixed with beautiful Madagascan vanilla.

What have been the biggest trials so far in starting and running your company?

Julie: Within 9 months of sales, Eloments was available in over 1000 stores worldwide. This rapid growth meant we needed to quickly open a funding round. Globally only 2 percent of venture capital funding went to female founders in 2018, and while this was a difficult hurdle for us as female founders to overcome, we also know that the statistics are even more challenging for women from marginalised backgrounds.

We were so fortunate to be able to find an investor that believed in our Fairtrade mission and commitment to natural ingredients, and we now want to be part of the movement of female-led businesses around the world changing these stats.

What experiences lead to the values you have instilled in your company?

Nicole: I became passionate about Fairtrade after a trip with World Vision to Africa where I realised that hard-working tea farmers needed aid because they weren’t being paid fairly. People who buy Eloments can have peace of mind that there is no slave labour or child labour in our supply chain. In fact, for our Ceylon Breakfast black tea, the majority of tea comes from small-scale, family-owned tea gardens.

What is your favourite way of winding down and taking time out?

Julie: With a cup of tea of course! I drink the Egyptian Mint almost every evening. It’s a caffeine-free tisane of peppermint and spearmint from the dry desert climate outside of Alexandria, and the Vitamin C and Zinc in our blend gives me peace of mind that I’m helping give my immune system what it needs for the next day.

Here at Retreat Yourself, we LOVE dreaming BIG - what is your vision for your company?

Nicole: Through Eloments, our dream is to help move the tea category towards transparent and ethical supply chains. Eloments is Fairtrade certified, which is the most rigorous trade certifications in the world. Fairtrade means that farmers are paid a living wage and that the tea for Eloments is grown using sustainable practices.

This has a huge impact on the regions where our tea is grown – for example, the majority of the tea for Eloments Ceylon Breakfast blend comes from
farms less than an acre in size. Many of these tea gardens are run by women, helping to provide more economic stability. Eloments pays a premium for our tea to ensure farmers are treated fairly, paying on average 260% more per
kilo to small-holder farmers in Sri Lanka.

For anyone out there wanting to start their own business, what would your biggest piece of advice be?

Julie: Never compromise on what you believe in. When we set out to make a 100% natural vitamin tea, no one had ever been able to create one before. We had to develop a totally new process for blending plant-based vitamins and minerals with Fairtrade teas in a way that wouldn’t harm the nutrients. After two years of research, we came up with an innovative manufacturing process that is now patent-pending. The response from retailers and tea lovers was overwhelming. In only 9 months we were in almost 1000 stores around the world and we were so lucky to partner with Woolworths - I truly believe we wouldn’t have seen this success if we had compromised on our core values to stay ethical, natural and delicious.

If you would like to learn more about Eloments and their range of teas, head to their website: https://eloments.com/

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