Arbor Teas is a family business, and it has many of the stereotypical traits of one. It started by a husband-and-wife teams, was built from scratch, and has grown to a staff of seven today. But it also has its distinctive features.
First off, it got its initial start because said wife of the team, Aubrey Lopatin, realized she didn’t want to be an architect anymore.
"One day she woke up and said, 'Why am I going to architecture school when this is not what I want to do?'" says Jeremy Lopatin, co-founder of Arbor Teas
. He adds they got the first website for their business shortly after that through a trade. They agreed to paint the living room of a friend in exchange for him building that website.
"While we were priming and painting he was working on his computer, building our website," Jeremy Lopatin says.
That was 10 years ago. Today the Ann Arbor-based business specializes is selling a broad variety of organic-certified teas from around the world. It recently added teas from Kenya, Korea, and Hawaii.
"We are responding to an incredibly growing demand for home-grown (made in the U.S.) tea," Jeremy Lopatin says.
Arbor Teas has also made sure it limits it packaging and that its packaging is compostable. It went so far to create packaging for the tea that is backyard compostable so it minimizes its carbon footprint. Most other packaging for teas is only compostable in commercial operations.
"You can dig a hole in your backyard, put our package in it, and a month or two later it will be gone," Jeremy Lopatin says.
Source: Jeremy Lopatin, co-founder of Arbor Teas
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.