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How I Started A Multi Million Dollar Company That Manufactures Teas and Vitamins With $350

Rachel Steinford
Rachel Steinford

Samah Bensalem is the founder of Secrets Of Tea. She started Secrets Of Tea in 2010 with $350 and never took a loan or used a credit card. Today her company is worth Millions of dollars. From their initial offering of Babies' Magic Teas, Secrets of Tea continues to expand its product line to “maternity-based” teas and continued to grow with other teas blended for mind, body and spirit.

Was it a lightbulb moment or gradual process of Secrets Of Tea?

Secrets of Tea began with “Babies  Magic Tea,” a blend of herbs that helps relieve painful gas and colic in infants. I’ve been searching for a remedy for my first child’s colic, that's when I discovered an old family remedy - a special tea blend that had been used by my family for generations, which my grandmother who was a natural healer told me  about.

Samah Bensalem - Founder

After giving it to my daughter and seeing firsthand the almost “magical” results, I decided I couldn’t simply keep this remedy to myself.

How did you get your first three customers?

I was giving Babies Magic Tea for free to my friends with newborns and their friends and everyone else that needed help for over 2 years, until one day, my husband told me that he can not afford me and my tea anymore :) so I told him I will list it on Amazon, the first day, I got a sale, then I started having sales every day and that is when I knew there is a demand for a 100% natural baby colic relief since all other colic remedies have chemicals, alcohol, sugar and much more

How did you validate the idea?

I knew I had a winner product when I started having sales on Amazon.com with no marketing

Did you have any experience/expertise in the area?

No, my expertise was in social communication, I have a maters degree in that field but at the time I knew nothing about tea, starting a business or marketing a product

Have you raised any money? How much?

0 Dollars, I started the business with only $350 that I browed from my husband, he told me to take more and I said absolutely not, if this business is going to be successful, it has to support itself, what ever money I will be spending on this business, it has to come from the sales of this product, and that was the case for over 10 years, I never took a loan or even used my credit card, all the marketing, employees and production (machines, herbs, teas and all material) is paid for in cash, we never raised any money also, I don’t even know how is that done :)

What regulatory approvals did you have to go through?

We have USDA Organic certifications/ FDA certification/ Tea board approval and license/ IOS...

Who is your target demographic?

Secrets Of Tea customers are families in all their stages of life, from trying to conceive to pregnancy, top taking care of babies, then kids...

Where did you meet your cofounder/founding team?

I was the only founder for over 2 years with no team, just working alone from my New York 2 bedroom apartment, then when the business started growing, I started hiring more people

Any tips for finding first employees?

To Be honest, my first employee was from India, there is a website called Upwork that allows you to find freelancers at a very affordable price and since the money was tight, I had no choice, nowadays, we have a great team that work in house.

Did you run any companies prior?

No, I was finishing my masters degree on social communication, no experience in running companies or marketing or product development

What motivated you to start your own business?

I’m originally from Tunisia, I came to the US at the age of 18 by myself, I worked as a waitress at night to be able to pay my school in the morning, I never had a break or stopped working because I was studying as an international student and used to pay 3 to 4 times more what others are paying.

Bensalem Family

When I got married to my husband Fatah Bensalem, he told me to stay home, take a break and he also told me that he wants to treat me as the princess I am, not only that but he also took me from his bank and got me copies of all his bank cards and he told me: You are better with money, why don’t you manage it? So I started giving him $40 a week as his pocket money:) That really affected me, I would always be grateful to what he did and how much he trusted me, that day I promised myself that one day with God’s willing, I will make this man a fortune and make him very proud of me

What were your family and friends first thoughts on your company?

They made fun of me/ Did not take me seriously and they thought that I wasted all those long years I spent studying

What motivates you when things go wrong? What is the end goal?

My husband is my greatest support, he always motivates when things go wrong, he is my strength and my support

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?

Yes, believe in yourself, if you love what you are doing, then success is yours, never react, you will face difficulties and obstacles, never give up, when there is a will, there is always a way, you will get there and achieve the success you deserve

What has driven the most sales?

In our case it’s customers who try our products, they would be so amazed by the result and tell their family members, friends… We also saw great results from Facebook ads for actual customer testimonials that we received from our customers about the Fertility tea, babies Magic Tea and much more

What is stopping you being 3x the size you are now?

Nothing is stopping me, it is a process and we learn on a daily basis and I have no doubt in my mind that my company one day will be huge

How do you protect yourself from competition?

I can’t, my teas are being copied as we speak, a company that has big investors is copying my teas A to Z but I do not worry about them,

Secrets of Tea products

I know that the quality of my products is a million times better, they focus on profit but I focus on my customers and giving them the best product, that is why I am very confident that I will always win.

Do you have any trademarks/IP/patents?

No patents but I do have many trademarks in the US and internationally

What are the top 3-5 apps your business could not run without?

I can not survive without Click Up, which is an App that allows all my team to communicate and share tasks, so definitely makes life easier/ Of course Facebook Page and Instagram App, which allow us to communicate with our customers and answer all their inquiries

What are your favourite books?

My Favorite 2 books are the Secret and Think and grow rich, I read many books about the law of attraction, I am obsessed by that, and I practice that law daily, it works for me every time.

What are the next products you’re working on?

We are about to launch our fertility supplement, which we are very excited about, it took us 4 years to get it ready because we wanted to give our customers the best fertility supplement in the market. We are also working on other supplements

Where do you see the company in 5 years?

I see the company growing to a multi-million dollar company in less than 5 years

What is current revenue? If you don’t mind sharing:

Our revenue is between 1,5 to 2 million dollars a year

Would you ever sell?

Never, this is my fourth child and no one will take care of it like I do.

Company Name: Secrets Of Tea
Founder: Samah Bensalem
Interview

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