Talk to everyone about your idea. Don’t be afraid of people stealing it from you. Connections and sparks come from the most unlikely places but only if you share what you are up to.

 

Linda Appel Lipsius is the Co-Founder & CEO of Teatulia Organic Teas. Since 2006, she’s been working with her partners in Bangladesh to bring premium-quality, 100% Organic, direct-sourced teas from a previously-unknown growing region in northern Bangladesh to the United States. As a female business owner, she works to create a family-friendly workplace for her employees and has built Teatulia from the ground up as a brand known for doing things better – from the regenerative garden itself, to the beautiful and sustainable packaging, to the long list of awards Teatulia has received for quality.

Named one of Food & Wine/Fortune’s 20 Most Innovative Women in Food & Wine, Lipsius is a leading voice in topics including entrepreneurship, women in business, sustainable business practices and clean food. Linda is also the founder of the mama ‘hood – a resource for new & expecting moms and their families – and the Teatulia Tea Bar in Denver.

Previously, Linda served as Vice President of Orange Glo International – the makers of OxiClean, Kaboom, Orange Glo and Orange Clean – and an Account Manager for Young & Rubicam. As Denver Native, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in New York City and her MBA in finance from New York University before moving to London, Los Angeles, then back to Denver.

She now lives in Lower Downtown Denver with her filmmaker husband, Adam, and her 11 and 9-year-old children, Dorothy and Eli. In her spare time, Linda hangs with her kids, escapes to the mountains, devours movies and books, runs and practices yoga.

Where did the idea for Teatulia come from?

I am passionate about building innovative businesses that create buzz and do things better. Entrepreneurship is in my blood thanks to my father, Max Appel, who founded Orange Glo International.

When my friend Kazi Anis Ahmed shared that he was growing teas in his family’s tea garden in Bangladesh, I knew this would be VERY different from the typical tea company on every front. My business partners in Bangladesh and I saw that the tea garden could be used as a means of lifting the Tetulia region in northern Bangladesh out of severe poverty. I was inspired to share the story of the garden and bring these amazing teas to the United States using and promoting sustainable business practices.

The amazing 3,000-acre regenerative garden now supports an innovative cattle lending program that provides organic compost for the farm while putting a productive asset in the hands of the women in the community.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I get up very early to have a few hours of quiet computer work to myself. Then I work out, take the kids to school and head into the office. My days are a mix of internal meetings, customer meetings, desk work and travel. Evenings are reserved for my family.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I keep an open mind in terms of how I look at our business and view our category. I keep the blinders off. I gain inspiration from other categories and industries. I listen to everyone who has an idea about what we do (even my kids). Then I let the idea sit for a while. I’ve learned (mostly) to not jump as soon as something comes to mind – I let it form, let it morph, see how it feels once I’ve lived with it. Then I bring it to my amazing team to bring to life.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Consumer empowerment around food. Yes, we are still a long way from everyone eating a healthy diet, but we have come a long way in terms of people looking at labels, thinking about what they are putting into their bodies and taking back the power from food manufacturers who have in too many cases been hoodwinking the American consumer by selling them empty and, in some cases, dangerous food and beverages.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Exercise. It keeps my mind clear.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Think bigger/bolder sooner.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Hugh Grant is a talented actor who should have been James Bond (but I am very happy with Daniel Craig).

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Talk to everyone about your idea. Don’t be afraid of people stealing it from you. Connections and sparks come from the most unlikely places but only if you share what you are up to.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Hire tremendous, passionate people. This is harder than you’d think. Distill what is critical for your company (different for every company) and don’t waver on hiring to those values/talents.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Not always hiring tremendous, passionate people. It took a while to understand what made our company tick and to avoid focusing too hard on someone’s resume.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A super secure Uber for kids. I think it’s already out there, but I’m not using it yet…

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A little wire bicycle sculpture at an art museum that sits atop my fireplace. While I don’t cycle as much as I’d like, bikes make me happy on so many fronts. Freedom, exercise, travel, and having the wind in my hair!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

It may sound silly, but Expensify. I have never been good about submitting expenses on time and with Expensify, you do it on the spot, which keeps the company’s and my own personal finances in check.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Simon Sinek’s “Start with WHY.” You’ll understand once you read it!

What is your favorite quote?

“It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.” -Mom

Key Learnings:

• If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, talk to anyone and everyone about your idea. Don’t be afraid of people stealing it from you.
• Resumes aren’t everything, but tremendous and passionate people are.
• Keep an open mind and leave the blinders off. Listen to anyone who has an idea for you – even children!
• Let your big ideas sit for a while. Don’t jump as soon as something comes to mind – let it form, let it morph, and see how it feels once you’ve lived with it.

Connect:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/linda-appel-lipsius-60758713/
https://www.teatulia.com
https://www.instagram.com/teatuliateas/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/teatulia/
https://www.facebook.com/Teatulia/
https://twitter.com/Teatulia