Derrick Lin


Designed by Sandstrom Partners, United States.

After reinventing tea in the 90’s with Tazo, Steve Smith wanted a second act, so he came back to Sandstrom Partners with a little problem: he wanted to launch a new tea brand, but conventional wisdom said that there was no room for another one. More importantly (and dauntingly), buyers in the retail grocery channels said, “We’re not adding brands, we’re eliminating brands.” After a pretty thorough analysis of the category, we discovered one major hole in the category: while every brand was chasing after Tazo with functionality and flavors, there seemed to be a clear opportunity for, well, tea. Together, we set out to create the “best little tea brand” in America. The Lexicon of tea is full of exotic-sounding names: “Oolong.” “Pu-erh.” “Matcha.” “Mao Feng.” To these we decided to simply and humbly add, “Smith.” Tea, personally crafted by Steven Smith, teamaker, in small batches at the Smith atelier. Buyers soon made room on the shelves for Smith Tea, displacing some of the ‘functionality and flavor’ brands for a higher quality tea brand.

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