Taylor Cowan • February 07, 2021

A Note on the New, Intuitive Size & Pricing Model

As of Monday, February 8th, 2021, we are shifting our prices and purchase quantities across the retail website. Here are some insights into the decision:

For The Whole Supply Chain

Since day one, we have been committed to the people responsible for tea: our producer partners at origin. The quantity change increases the minimum order of most teas and incentivizes larger-size purchases of our most venerated, handcrafted teas. Simply put, the change in quantity and price is part of our effort to make more purchases in support of our producer partners and provide broader, more equitable support to our smallholders across the globe. Transparency is paramount to us and continuing to pay equitable wages to small operations sustainably growing tea is our greatest cause. That said, true sustainability means not just relationships at origin, but our own team here at Spirit. We believe the amount of love (postcards, cranes, and all!) our teams puts into each package has to be fairly compensated and commensurate with their time and effort input to be long-term sustainable. We wish to honor every step of the supply chain, providing equitable opportunity  for each step and everyone involved. 

More Intuitive Sizes

Those that have been shopping Spirit since the beginning may remember that we originally sold in ounces. This was simply because we felt the ounce would be a more relatable measurement to our American audience than the metric gram. For a number of reasons, this was not the solution. After a while, we made the decision to switch over to grams—but did so quite literally by converting 1.5, 3, 6 & 9 ounces directly into grams. This led to quite silly denominations like 42g and 170g. For ease and geometrical satisfaction, we have streamlined our sizes to 50, 100 & 250g sizes. This came after a long internal analysis of what our customers are looking for from a web retail tea experience and, regardless of any price changes in the foreseeable future, will likely remain the model of quantity sizing.

A Reflection of Supply and Demand

Being a veritably seasonal company, sourcing herbs and teas directly from small farms responsible for their production (and not from wholesalers or middlemen)  means we are keenly aware of shifts in market price and ever-tumultuous shifts to the planet’s climate and production yields, accordingly. COVID-19 threw a wrench like we’ve never seen into market supply and demand, both here and at origin. Certain ingredients of our herbals (notably, turmeric), accompanying an upsurge in demand, rose sharply in price. Meanwhile, many of our tea producers saw a dearth of orders at origin. In China, for instance, it was not just that foreign demand fell—but more notably domestic demand, as the country battled the pandemic. This left great swaths of tea unpurchased, and left potential buyers backing out of commitments. In the best of times, it was a boon for us, allowing us to purchase teas and quantities of limited lots that might otherwise be unthinkable. Though many times we were offered a “way out” or a discount to incentivize a buy, we were able to honor purchases at original or boosted commitments and ever-equitable prices to support our producer partners.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

We remain, primarily, a wholesale importer and seller of tea. From our humble beginnings as a tea company, we did not, by design, set out to compete in the online retail marketplace. That said, the response from customers has been overwhelming.  2020 was the hardest year on record for our wholesale partners, with many forced to close temporarily or shutter. With your support through this website, we’ve been able to weather the storm, provide support for our ailing partners in wholesale, fundraise and contribute to community-facing efforts, all the while keeping our noses to the grindstone. We want to continue to share more of our incredible retinue of producer partners with you, with the same quality and continuing commitment to equity for all involved, including you, the one who makes our dream possible, and all the team here at Spirit manifesting it.
Thank you, from all of us, for your continuing support.
Steep slowly,
Taylor Cowan
Spirit Tea