Passion, customer service & the Oscars in subscription eCommerce Pat Callwood, True Serenity Tea (episode 211)

Pat Callwood is the owner of True Serenity Teas a subscription box dedicated to the tea lovers of the world. They have just been named top 10 tea subscription box for the 3rd year in a row on top 10 The business launched in 2016 and now has over 200 monthly subscribers.

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About the Business

true serenity tea podcast
  • Located in New York City, NY
  • Exclusively sells to subscribers
  • New teas every month with themed boxes
  • Platform: Cratejoy
  • Loves using live streaming as a way to build community

About Pat

Pat loves all things tea. From drinking it to deep diving into the health benefits, she wanted to share that passion with people from all around the world. Before the tea business, Pat made handmade soaps and sold them on an eCommerce website. Her soap business helped prepare her for the subscription business and honed her customer service, marketing and communication skills. Even though she no longer has the soap business, she still sometimes makes tea infused soap to include as a gift in her subscription boxes.  

About the Business

Serenity Tea is located in NYC and operates out of a small office and warehouse space. Subscribers get a themed box every month with new teas that are never repeated. The team ships internationally and uses Cratejoy as their platform. Pat says that Cratejoy has been user friendly with great customer service and generally works really well for subscription businesses.

The Team

Pat has one additional team mate who helps her with packing and shipping and everything else is kept in house. While she is considering retail in the future, Pat says that the subscription model allows her to get boxes out of the door.

Connecting With Your Audience

Pat says the most crucial component of a subscription business is connecting with your subscribers as much as possible. Building an audience first is crucial and Pat says she connected with her base through Instagram, Facebook, live streaming and more. Being passionate about your product is an essential part of running a subscription business and Pat’s enthusiastic love for tea is a huge part of what propels her business.

Listen to learn how live streaming is a great for connecting with audiences.

Retaining Subscribers

Retaining subscribers can be one of the most important—and most difficult parts of having a subscription box business. Pat says email marketing that includes benefits like rewards, incentives and referral perks has worked wonders for her business. She also says that her customers love free little gifts. Pat always adds in a little surprise gift to her box, from gourmet snacks to tea infused bath salts in order to keep her customers happy.

Listen to learn how little gifts go a long way in making customers happy.

Subscription Challenges

The biggest hurdle for Serenity Tea has been getting a handle on shipping. Pat says that volume makes shipping much more difficult. While growing a subscription business is crucial, it also makes shipping more challenging. Balancing this challenge is essential to maintaining the integrity of the business and keeping customers happy.

Looking Forward

Pat is passionate about sharing tea with her customer base. She revels in providing her customers with a huge range of varieties of tea and has fun crafting unique boxes. Coming up, Pat hopes to add an eCommerce shop filled with the greatest hits from their subscription box. Over the next six months, she plans on growing her subscriber base even more which will mean hiring some additional help and adjusting the business as needed.  

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Live Streaming – Pat’s favorite is Periscope which allows users to show their audience what’s going on with the business and have conversations. From tutorials to education, Pat says live streaming is the way to go.

Tool Top Tip

  • Collaboration – Collaborating with other businesses, especially bloggers and influencers, is a crucial component to growing the business.

Growth Top Tip

  • Great Customer Service

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