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At age 19, Adi joined the Israel Defense Force to serve as a combat trainer, but when she returned home, she faced a different kind of battle; a battle against health issues that were affecting her mind and body. Always the fighter, Adi wouldn’t accept these issues as a part of her, so she set out to solve them. That’s how Teami Blends was born.
In this interview, Steph and Adi talk about the ups and downs of starting a business, what it’s like to work with influencers, and how she turned it around when her sales started to decline.
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[4:20] Teami’s Founding Story
- Most of Adi’s childhood was spent studying and working to support herself and mother. She had her first job at 9 years old and from that point forward, she learned a hustle to survive mentality.
- At age 19, Adi found herself working at a postcard company. She had no plans to go to college but didn’t feel like her job was fulfilling enough. So she found a program that helped Jewish Americans join the army in Israel and volunteered.
- It was from her experiences in the army that she developed her interest in health and wellness.
“It’s not that they are trying to feed you bad food, its just that they are making food for the masses.” – Adi
- The food they made for the army reacted poorly with Adi’s body, and toward the end of her service, she started having really bad digestive issues.
- She tried all kinds of diets, but nothing worked. So she started reading books on gut and colon health.
- She learned that your body can store toxins for 5-20 years and if you don’t detox, they will just continue to accumulate. The books she read hinted to tea as a way to get rid of those toxins.
- Adi bought every tea that said ‘detox’ or ‘cleanse’ but none of the products worked. Instead, she ordered ingredients and began mixing her own blends.
- Finally, the breakthrough she had been dreaming of came and she found the perfect formulation that worked for her. She realized she had something she could sell and that set her on the path to building Teami.
[13:30] So, What Was That First Blend?
- Her 21-day detox program consists of a morning and nighttime tea. The morning tea acts as a coffee substitute and provides sustainable energy with no crash. The nighttime one targets toxins in the colon and starts to get rid of them.
[14:15] Starting Teami
- Adi founded Teami with a partner who had prior experience with coffee and tea. He handled manufacturing while she handled logistics and internal strategy.
“All the marketing of our products and the shipping and the customer service was all in my bedroom…” – Adi
- Adi worked out of her mother’s bedroom. They made hundreds of units of tea and she had to store them all in big tubs in her room.
[16:00] Building Teami’s Social Presence
- When Teami started 5 and a half years ago, they had no marketing dollars, so they turned to Instagram.
“Because the internet exists and because Instagram exists, I can speak directly with my consumer.”
- Adi’s tips for building an Instagram presence:
- Post consistently. They post four times per day, but she recommends starting out with just one post per day.
- The captions have to communicate something. They need to evoke emotion, tell a story, or give value.
- Use hashtags. Remember: hashtags are not keywords. They need to be used to identify certain groups, not objects.
- When identifying which hashtags to use, look for hashtags with a range of 30,000 and 100,000 posts.
[23:30] Struggles In The Early Days
- In 2017 and 3 years into the business, Adi started to get really bad panic attacks. Their numbers were falling down and income wasn’t growing.
- She got together with her social media manager and said “we need to fix this,” so they made a plan for 2018. Their plan worked, and in 2018, they grew 44% and for the first time since the founding of the company, there was no dip in sales over the summer.
- To dig herself out of the hole, the first thing she had to do was get her mindset right. Then, they were able to move forward with an action plan.
- When you are a growing business, you need employees who are committed to your vision. She learned early on how to value and push employees to their full capacity so that they weren’t just robotically doing their job.
“I had to have a lot of kick-in-the-booty meetings with my team. I would be like, ‘Listen. We’re a startup. We’re not some corporate company that has 300 employees where you don’t matter. You matter. Everything that you do is going to make or break our company, and I can’t do it by myself.’ Then the people that were really in it to win it stayed, and the people that were just wanting to not be part of the team or be lazy, they ended up going.” – Adi
[32:20] Adi’s Influencer Strategy
- Over the years of using influencer marketing, Adi has come up with a formula for finding the best influencers for their business.
- To get influencers, they’d just reach out by DMing or cold emailing.
- To measure ROI of an influencer, they’d give every influencer a unique discount code.
- After experimenting, they found that there’s a difference between an influencer being truly influential and one who just has a lot of followers.
“The people that were making sales were the ones that had a true connection with their followers.” – Adi
- Characteristics of successful influencers:
- They upload personal selfies – not just beach front, bikini, or gym photos.
- They share experiences that followers can relate to.
- The comments are filled with questions, not just admiration.
- Mentioned: Fyre Festival Documentary
- Celebrities can be very particular, so you have to be patient and flexible when you are working with them.
[42:00] Final Thoughts
“If you’re going to start a business, you just have to know, going in, that there’s going to be ups and downs and you need to surround yourself either with a partner or with people that are going to pick you back up.” – Adi
“If it’s something that you’re really passionate about, it’s not okay to give up… Even if you’re only two months into your business, you’re doing something more courageous than 99.9% of the population will do.” – Adi
To connect with Adi, follow her on Instagram.