In this episode, Mike Gardon chats with Patrick Tannous. Patrick is the co-founder and President of Tiesta Tea Company. Tiesta Tea is a tea company inspired by a passion for great-tasting loose leaf tea beverages. Tiesta Tea was started in 2010 while Patrick and Dan Klein (CEO & Co-Founder) were seniors in college. Since starting the business, Tiesta Tea has become the fastest-growing company in the specialty tea industry with over 8000+ points of distribution (according to Nielsen). In 2018, Patrick and Dan were featured by Inc. Magazine as 30 Under 30 Rising Stars. In 11 years at Tiesta Tea, Patrick has worked with or currently works with companies like Costco, Safeway, Target, Meijer, Amazon, Office Depot, Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods and many other Fortune 500 companies. Patrick has secured four rounds of equity financing totaling $5.2mm. Patrick is a people-focused business person and believes in doing business with high respect, morals, and values. He has a strong passion for entrepreneurship and loves helping other people chase their dreams. Patrick believes anyone can do anything if they truly care and put the effort into it.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:
- Patrick’s background
- How Tiesta Tea was started
- How Patrick went from being a bad student who had trouble focusing to a successful entrepreneur
- Patrick’s thoughts on the challenge of choosing career paths
- What Patrick looks at when hiring for Tiesta Tea
- The perfect resume isn’t the most important factor for Patrick and Tiesta Tea
- How they have transitioned to some remote roles
- How Tiesta Tea has pivoted during Covid
- What’s next for Tiesta Tea
- What’s next for Patrick
HELP US OUT!
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BOOKS AND RESOURCES:
- Visit www.tiestatea.com and use code "TeaTime20" to get 20% off until Nov 30th.
- Interested in working for Tiesta Tea? Check out their career opportunities.
- Resources available for entrepreneurs at universities
- How to find a mentor and invest in yourself
- Hybrid model of remote work
- Truff Hot Sauce - inspires Tiesta Tea
- “Always listen to your customers and outwork your competition” - a quote that Patrick mentions
- Connect with Tiesta Tea on their website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and LinkedIn.
- Connect with Patrick on LinkedIn and Instagram.
Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.
Michael Gardon (00:00):
Hi everyone. And welcome back to another episode of CareerCloud radio. I'm your host Michael Gardon. For those of you watching on YouTube today, I'm coming at you from a little different spot in my home. My office is currently closed because we've got a bunch of work going on in there. Anyway, the things you actually care about today's guest is entrepreneur and all around good guy, Patrick Tannous, of Tiesta Tea, a brand based in Chicago. I got to know Patrick over 10 years ago, when I myself was a struggling entrepreneur. Patrick was an admittedly bad student, yet he and his lifelong best friend started a company out of college with zero experience. Today Tiesta Tea has 27 employees and has sold over $50 million worth of tea and get this, Patrick never graduated college. I wanted to bring you Patrick's story because I think a lot of people, certainly me, have no effing clue what they want to do and have trouble deciding, especially in college, we often daydream about starting a project or business or doing something different, but we fail a jump off the diving board.
Michael Gardon (01:05):
As Patrick says, often we simply say, we don't have experience to do X, Y, or Z, but that's just a fallacy Patrick's perspective is important because he chose himself to be the center of his work life. And he probably learned more by being in the arena than he ever would have learned by working for someone else. This mindset can be applied to anything you don't have to start a business. You simply have to be more intentional about creating the work-life that you want over the longterm. Patrick and I talk about the early days of the company, how he found entrepreneurship as a way to bet on himself. But we also talk about what types of roles Tiesta Tea is hiring for today and what he thinks are important things to consider for today's job seeker. I hope you enjoy my wide ranging discussion with Patrick to noose Patrick, welcome to the show.
Patrick Tannous (01:56):
How are you, Mike? Thanks for having me, man. It's good to see you.
Michael Gardon (01:57):
Yeah, it's been too long. I'm excited to talk to you. You are one of my favorite people that I like to keep tabs on from a distance for our listeners, Patrick. And I go several years back to my Chicago days and he's an entrepreneur that I really love to follow from that time period had a couple of reschedules for this podcast, but we're going, we're set, we're locked and loaded on a Friday. So happy Friday, my man,
Patrick Tannous (02:25):
Absolutely man. It's a beautiful Friday. Excited to chat. Yes.
Michael Gardon (02:31):
Yeah. And I think one of the other things that kind of brought us together was our love of tea. So here company Tiesta Tea obviously we want, I want to get into your backstory, but I think one of the things that brought us together was I don't drink coffee at all. People think that's so weird, but I've always been a tea drinker. And so when I heard there's this guy and he's got a tea company in Chicago, I was like, all right, man, sweet, like do that for us. Non-Coffee drinkers. So I really appreciate that. Yeah. So I want to start off with your real unique story around Tiesta Tea. So I would love if you could just kind of start our listeners off with what were the origins of this company? When did this start? How did this all kind of come together?
Patrick Tannous (03:12):
Yeah, so, I mean, first off, if I, myself very fortunate to do what I do and a lot of, you know, luck kind of happened along the way, but I mentioned to you, I'm pretty passionate about this topic in a lot of it's because growing up, I just was, I was a really bad student. I just had a hard time paying attention in class. I had a hard time doing homework, even my entrepreneurship class. I was, you know, I think I got a C or a D as a senior in high school. And I'm probably the only entrepreneur out of that class. Didn't know what I wanted to do with my career. I mean, I didn't really have a major that I wanted to get into. And so I was just always kind of lost. Right. And I don't think the education system did a great job catering to someone like me who just, I wasn't into science.
Patrick Tannous (03:58):
I wasn't into math. Entrepreneurship was really what I was into. And I didn't learn that until a couple years into college when I started Tiesta Tea and I, I did end up dropping out of school. I was a senior at UIC. I've got 30 hours left, but I just, I just kind of said, screw it. I'm going to drop out and just start pounding the pavement. And I started yesterday. It was my preschool best friend, you and I had known each other since preschool and stayed friends during middle school and high school studied abroad together and that's not together, but he went to Italy, I went to Paris and we would just meet up in random countries. And that's where we kind of fell into tea if you will. I don't drink coffee either. Just, I don't need the caffeine that comes from it.
Patrick Tannous (04:46):
I'm just a tea guy. And so we came back to the U S and decided to, we saw tea all over Europe. And then you come back to the US there really wasn't much there. And so we decided to start a tea company and we were still in college. And I'll tell ya, having the university was massive to any listener that still has ties to the university. The universities can, can move mountains for you. We were fortunate. They got us in touch with Jimmy, John toad, founder of Jimmy John's gourmet may sub sandwiches. They gave us some cash. There was about $30,000 in grant money. And then they put us in touch with all sorts of mentors and advisors and investors. So we kind of just hit the ground running and started the company. And I got about 27 employees today. We'll do somewhere around. I don't know, we've sold well over $50 million of tea over the last several years. So it's a, it's pretty cool.
Michael Gardon (05:39):
So talk to me a little bit about maybe the conversations or there's a moment that stands out between you and your buddy when you're talking about starting this company, like, was there a light bulb moment or were there conversations building around starting this company? Like, give me a little bit of feel for what that was like in making that decision to actually start this company when frankly, you know, you're in college and you don't have any experience at all, starting a company.
Patrick Tannous (06:09):
Yeah. Well, we both had zero experience. It's funny. The actual moment happened via Facebook message. And he, Dan was the best man at my wedding and he happened to read this. He read the message during his best man speech. And it gave me all the fields and basically the message we had been just talking about it after study abroad. And he basically sent me this Facebook messages saying, Hey, listen, dude, I need to know if you're going to go all in with me or not because he was a graduate. So he could have gotten a job. I was still kind of had, I had some more school left. I was going to be a fifth year, but he just sent me a message. He's like, listen, I think we can do this. The market's growing. We have some connections who can spend the entire summer.
Patrick Tannous (06:53):
And we're going into our summer of finishing college as seniors. I didn't finish. He did. He's like we can spend our entire summer doing this. And if it works out great, if not, you know, then we can go get jobs. And he's like, but I need to know right now today, if you're in with me or not, he's like, you're, it's going to be a commitment. We're going to have to do 30, 40 hours a week. We're not going to be getting paid. And he's like, I would suggest we don't tell any of our friends that we're doing this. Let's just keep it between you. And I, you know, obviously our parents deserve to know, but otherwise let's keep this under wraps and spend the summer trying to build a two brand. And so we did that and we, you know, we did, farmer's markets started selling tea and markets and, and things of that sort.
Patrick Tannous (07:36):
But it was really one of those moments where you can't really waiver, right? It's like, you can talk about it, talk about it. And then you got to make the decision to consider yourself on the diving board. Right? You're jumping, you're talking about it, but are you going to die or are you going to go in? Cause you can't, you can't really, you can't start a business from the diving board, you got to jump into the pool. So that was really the decision we made to just go all in. And I quit my job. I was not great that I was working at Chili's. I was a five-year chili veteran. That's actually the only job I've ever had before. This was Chili's, which is, it's kind of crazy to me. I've never submitted a resume to anybody in my life, which is, I don't even think I have a resume. I I'd have to check. I don't, I don't know if I do, but that was kind of the moment. It was like, we're going to do it or not. And I said, you know what? You're going to believe in me. I'll take a chance and let's do it. And so that summer we did it.
Michael Gardon (08:32):
I mean, I, I just get chills when I hear stuff like that, especially your analogy around jumping into diamond. So I want to go to that moment for a second. And what was in your head? I mean, what were the pros and cons? What were you weighing in order to like, make that decision? Because I think a lot of people, especially right now, right, we have this great resignation thing that's going on right now. Right. People are leaving their jobs or people have had dreams of doing something else. Right. Maybe taking a little bit more control over their lives. And they get to this point where they have to commit and you have to make a decision to, you don't know what the outcome's going to be like. And I think that's where a lot of people sort of stop. Right? Like we do a lot of daydreaming, but when you get to that, it's like, how do you make that leap? And so I'm just curious as to what was going through your head, like at that seminal moment in your life,
Patrick Tannous (09:21):
You know, I think a lot of it, Mike came down to, I had no clue what I really wanted to do. Right. Like just going into school. Like I said, I don't think I submitted my, for my major. So like my senior year, I was just doing, going through the motions and I had no clue what I wanted to do. Like, and you start getting to this point where you're with a lot of people who are telling you, no, I'm going to go apply for a big four. I'm going to be in. And I'm, I'm all like what? I have no clue what I actually want. I loved working at Chili's, you know, but I got actually, couldn't stay there forever, but I loved the idea of being able to work with one of my best friends every day. He is someone I truly admire.
Patrick Tannous (09:58):
He's very smart way smarter than I am not knowing what I want to do. And then just trying to start my own thing, like that felt right. And it was, I knew from might sound crazy, but I knew from my day to Chili's that I was skilled. I started at Chili's as a host and I rose through the ranks and became the quality control manager. And it was really the only success I'd ever had in my life because I sucked at school. I never got good grades that kind of showed me that, you know, I started it and I had that job for five years and I started as a host and kind of rose to the top in the back of the kitchen.
Michael Gardon (10:33):
And that was all in college?
Patrick Tannous (10:35):
Yeah. So I had a, just a side job to help pay for some, some college. And that showed me that I could be successful. It wasn't the school that, the paper that I failed or the test that I couldn't pay attention for, it was when I went to Chili's, I actually made a difference there and that felt good. And so I knew I had skills and to be able to put them to use for myself every day, I liked that I did have some support from my parents, which was, which was really helpful. They believed in it. My dad and Dan's dad were good friends they're neighbors. So we would just go out to dinner with our parents. And, you know, my dad would ask, Dan said like, what the hell do you think these kids are doing? And they saw us working so hard. It kind of showed them like, man, these guys are serious. So, you know, it was really just not really understanding what I wanted to do, but understanding that I believe I can be successful no matter what I put my mind to and saying, I'm going to put my mind to a tea business. So I did. And that's kind of why we got started, why I jumped.
Michael Gardon (11:43):
Yeah. I think what, like, if I could summarize my experience, which is, you know, similar to yourself, I, you know, I re in college, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. Like the world's big, there's a lot of things you could do. Right. And to a skilled person to your point, right? Like you believe you have applicable skills or you can at least acquire them. There's almost too many options. So I think like one of the helpful things for people is to sit there and say, when there's that kind of option overload, like, why not sort of choose yourself? Like why not apply that to something that you're gonna control and do? And yeah, it might fail, but the thing where you go work for somebody else might fail too. There's a lot of like kind of risk reward calculus. I think some people get worked up in, but at the end of the day, I think like what I've realized in what I think I'm trying to help other people realize is that like over your working life, you know, you're going to put a lot of time and it's actually not as risky as you think.
Michael Gardon (12:46):
I mean, it might be risky like in the short-term like, oh, your idea doesn't work, but then you can, like, there's nothing, there's nothing that says, that's the end. Like there's another horse you can get up on. And I think like the more people that realize, I think more people are realizing this and then it gets into the, the great resignation. Like I'm going to choose myself in some way or another. I'm going to choose, like to control my circumstances and let the chips kind of fall where they may. And so for you as like a college student and a young person, like I really admire you for that. Cause I'm a little bit older than you. It's a little bit, it's taken me a lot longer to, to kind of figure that out. But that's like kind of a central theme of my message to like our audience or that I'm trying to convey is, is figure out a way to kind of like choose yourself and bet on yourself. I think that's kind of a cool part of your story.
Patrick Tannous (13:40):
I just think that, you know, you asked when you do that, you have to understand that things are going to get a little Rocky before they get stable. And that just has to be something you kind of also go all in on and commit to. I had to, cause I did quit my Chili's job, which was part of the agreement with me. And my partner was going all in, was we're literally going to do this every day from start to finish nine to five. Like that was our job. And I had to ask buddies for money because I couldn't pay rent. At one point I ended up asking two friends for a thousand dollars a piece. And then my cousin and also my uncle for different occasions. I asked them for a thousand bucks to help me pay rent. That was very difficult. But I think my friends and my family saw what I was doing. And they're like, you know what? I'll give you a thousand. You'll pay me back. Just don't worry about it, but keep working hard. Like it's cool to see you actually put your mind to something. And that was tough man. Cause my mom basically said, when I asked her for money, she said go back to Chili's and that's how you can get money. So you have to be okay with a little bit of uncertainty rockiness in the beginning.
Michael Gardon (14:52):
I want to ask another question kind of going back a little bit around what you said about not knowing what you want to do. I certainly felt that way. I feel like I still feel that way in a lot of ways, but especially so like in college, what do you feel like is the problem around guiding people into career paths or into things that they want to do? Is that at like the parent level, is that at the higher education level? I just feel like there's a lot of people. This is problem. And I don't really, I haven't really found a great solution to it.
Patrick Tannous (15:30):
I don't really know. I mean, my father is a PhD scientist, so he's like use as smart as you can be. The guys wizard really. And I'm like the total opposite. And he tried to get me to do these science classes growing up. You put me in like chemistry classes and all this she's got patents on chemistry and I hated it. I just hated it. Like he made me go on. I'll never forget. He made me take like weeknight chemistry classes where he'd bring me in. He works for Honeywell and he would bring me into the Honeywell HQ down in Desplaines and not the HQ with the office and making me take these chemistry classes. And I think he kind of pushed me away from science a little bit, but it may also be that he introduced me to science and I realized I didn't like it.
Patrick Tannous (16:16):
So I pushed myself away from it. I was introduced to science at a very young age because of my father. I just didn't like it. And that kind of pushed me away from really, you know, I just didn't like it. So I don't know. My parents never really taught entrepreneurship or they weren't entrepreneurs. I will say my mother maybe kind of an entrepreneurial life, but I don't know. And then your, your teachers never tell you, you should go out and start a business. They're going to tell you, you should go work for work for a company. So it's a, I don't know where you get it. You know, I guess for me it was my friends. That's the ones that pushed me to do it. That was my influence.
Michael Gardon (16:56):
Yeah. I feel like similar story. Like my dad's not a scientist, but he's really smart. He's a corporate lawyer and really, really smart. And he was hands off, which I, which I credit, like he was like giving me space. Right. My parents were like, do what you want. I think they were probably scared sometimes, but like gave me space. I think that's great. But I also think that there is like, I think there's massive room in this system. It's not at a, I'm not talking about parents necessarily, but like college mentorship, like real-world mentorship as a way to sort of like really fast, see a whole bunch of different jobs and opportunities and things like that. And very quickly roll through them or get some experience in doing those. Maybe it's a week, right. To figure that out. Yeah. I like this. I don't like that.
Michael Gardon (17:49):
Like a shotgun blast approach kind of thing. I feel like I didn't have that at all. And therefore looking at, at the end of the day, it's on me to figure that out, but it's kind of an overwhelming, it's kind of an overwhelming issue. So I just want to see if you had any thoughts on that, but I want to pivot a little bit to your role in what you do now, because you've gone through the grind, you went from zero to something and you've done that. And there are a lot of people. Maybe aren't going to necessarily do that, but today you're trying to grow and steward an organization forward and you need people for that. You need good people. And so I want to ask a little bit about what you think is important for people who work at your company, what you hire for what you look for. And especially like I'm interested in because you have this unique lens. Like you admittedly, weren't a good student, so maybe you're not necessarily looking at a what's your GPA out of college and those types of things. So I want to kind of get your perspective on like how you hire and what you look for in the people that you bring into your organization.
Patrick Tannous (18:57):
Man. I wish there was a blanket answer for how to hire the right way. I mean, I've been burned several times on, on certain hires and I've also succeeded on uncertain hires. I think one of the things that has rang true is they have to be someone I can just get along with like truly like someone that obviously you want someone with different skill sets, but can you sit down with them? And for me, watch a game or sit down with them and have like an actual conversation where you don't feel like you're forced to have that conversation. Because at the end of the day, man, you said it you're going to be with these people all day long. I talked to my employees more than I talked to my wife in certain weeks. I've certainly talked to all of them more than my mother and my father this year, without question.
Patrick Tannous (19:43):
And so it's like when I'm looking at, I need to make sure I can get along with them. Can we sit down at a lunch and just chill? Just relax, actually have a good time. If it's in the, then it might sound like a kind of a dumb answer. But if we can, then there's a good chance I'll want to hire. If it's forced. Like I tried to hire a couple of guys who had the resume, if you will, right. Checked out all the boxes had the experience, but they just weren't a good fit for the company. They, in a lot of it was because I didn't get along with that guy. I thought he was just, wasn't my type. But his resume was perfect. Resume exactly what you wanted, but it was a burden for me. So truly you got to get along with your employees, man. Like you gotta like them. Like, dude, you're going to spend what, eight hours, 40 hours a week with these people. So if you get along with them, you're probably going to enjoy what you do. If you don't work, probably
Michael Gardon (20:41):
What type of roles are you hiring for in the company? So maybe not necessarily like at this moment, but give our audience a sense of the types of work that gets done within your company.
Patrick Tannous (20:55):
Sure. So we've got about 27 employees I've most of my most recent hire was a social media, a social media manager. She came from the university of Illinois, fresh out of school. And we also are hiring, I've got an operations team of about, I don't know, 15 people. They are, some of them are producing product pack and tea labeling products. So I've got a full span of salespeople, marketing people and an operations people that we hire for the company
Michael Gardon (21:25):
Because you're multichannel. Right? I mean, I believe if, and please correct me if I'm wrong in the beginning, it was really kind of direct into grocery and store shelves. And over time you've pivoted, I assume more of your mix to online Amazon channel and the likes. So you probably, you cover a decent amount of ground there in terms of the skillsets that need to be had.
Patrick Tannous (21:51):
Yeah, we started exactly like that. We're now 60% online, 40% retail, which is exactly like you said. So we're hiring a lot more e-commerce towns as well. You know, people that don't understand Amazon and become one of my employees actually lives in Germany. Then he signs on during the business day with us, which is, I think it's in Germany. It's like from three to 11 o'clock, but now with the remote work, you can do things like that.
Michael Gardon (22:20):
Yeah. It's interesting because I run a fully remote operation. I've pretty much been a remote rogue entrepreneur consultant or business owner for pretty much my entire career. So I have a, an interesting take on what I think works and in that realm, but before we got on you were kind of talking about how you really love to be in the office and you encourage your employees to be in the office. And so talk a little bit about like the last, you know, 18 months and what COVID has done and maybe how TSA has, has managed through that whole work office ordeal.
Patrick Tannous (23:00):
Yeah. So we've got two, we've got kind of two offices, one with our distribution center where we're shipping the physical product and then one downtown, which is I'll call our sales and marketing office, the sales and marketing office. I mean, people are, we, we signed a five-year lease right before COVID pay a lot of money every month for the space it's about 5,000 square feet. And I think there's maybe one person there right now in the 5,000 square feet, I like to call it. It's like your little office mentioned when you go there because no one's occupying any space. So my employees go in twice a week at their discretion, usually Tuesdays and Thursdays and it does kind of suck. But then we, when you go to our other facility, we've got, because you have to be there, right? We've got physical product that we have to ship out and they have to go in every day and it's magical, man.
Patrick Tannous (23:52):
I'll tell you when I go in there, it feels so good to see everybody. And they're all smiling. And you know, I really care a lot about those guys. I probably should have mentioned this, but I think seven of the people that are of my 27 all went to my high school. So I mentioned you have to get along with them. I've called up a lot of buddies from high school who I liked and said, Hey, what are you doing? And brought them on. But yeah, I mean, having the place where they're always there because they have to be, is it feels really good to go there and see them. And you know, you feel kind of empty when you go to the sales and marketing office and it's just, and it's just ad owns in these buildings downtown. We've got all these high-rises you got known and kind of weird. It's an eerie feeling.
Michael Gardon (24:37):
So you're very pro be in the office guy. I'm getting the feel for how have your employees felt about that whole transition?
Patrick Tannous (24:48):
We made sure to make our policy with them in mind. You know, we asked them what they really wanted to do. Cause at the end of the day, your employees are just so important. And so, like I said, I get along with my employees. So they don't mind coming in two or three days a week. You know, I, I do see them, my sales and marketing guys, I see at least twice a week, which is great. And so they don't, they don't mind coming in. I think they do enjoy the, what I'll call convenience of working from home Fridays. They work from home on Mondays. They always work from home and I think they enjoy that. But I do think they also enjoy the opportunity to come in a couple of times a week. No, my sales guy, he loves it. He's in a couple of times a week with nobody there.
Patrick Tannous (25:30):
And he doesn't, you know, I don't tell him he has to be in there, but he'll just go and sit in his little office mansion by himself last his music and get his stuff done. So they don't mind it. I do think there, you have to be mindful that you can't do it every day. Not anymore. That's just, it is unreasonable. I will say like as much as I like it doing it every day is unreasonable today. I worked from home cause I got some guys coming in that are dropping something off and I have to be here. Right. And saved me 40 minutes. And I'll probably get to watching my game a little earlier this, this evening, cause I'm not going to have to sit in Chicago traffic. So it does make sense. I understand it. But I do think it's important to have a little bit of interaction with at least some of the key stakeholders. The guys I, I need to work with every day, my sales guys and my marketing.
Michael Gardon (26:21):
Yeah. I think that's the, what I'm hearing from a lot of, a lot of different companies. So your size on up to even thousand person and beyond companies is that kind of this hybrid model is seemingly sort of the long-term solution to everything because I think it's what COVID is definitely shown is that, you know, w working home, working remotely is a convenience for a lot of people, I would say, especially like working mothers, you know, major convenience and, and working fathers who maybe have a little bit more household responsibilities. It's just a major, major convenience. But at the same time, like it's really hard to replace kind of the spontaneity of the office. And just being able to physically talk to somebody and kind of yuck it up with them and have that build that culture and that comradery it's really hard to do over video. So that is definitely what I'm hearing. So do you feel like that is kind of like your long-term plan or you still feel like you're operating on like a, more of a short-term window?
Patrick Tannous (27:27):
So I think what's interesting about that model. Mike is it might not be super financially feasible for some people, right? Like we're kind of forced into this. We forced into the office because we're, we signed a five-year lease before COVID so we have no choice, but to think that we would pay the same amount of money. If the lease was expired to have two to three days a week, we'd probably have to rethink it. Probably, you know, you still want to see your employees, but maybe you have a very, very small space. So I think it'll be interesting to see if, how the financials work when all these people are off their leases. Like, are you really going to pay for a beautiful office? And it's only getting used two to three days a week. You know what I mean? I mean, you look at some of those campuses, Facebook, Google, it's like, why pay all that money for an office? That's getting half of the use, it's a perk for the employees, but I don't think it's financially feasible for the corporations.
Michael Gardon (28:27):
Right. It could be a third of the size, half the size. And you have more kind of rotating desk, shared desk type spaces where half the team is in on Tuesday, half is in, on Wednesday using the same resources. Yeah. I've talked to some corporate people and CEOs that have plans to downsize their office space by 50%, you know? And that's,
Patrick Tannous (28:50):
It makes sense. Our landlords won't let us off our lease. Right. I mean, it's brutal cause we're trying to get out of it because we're paying a pretty penny every month and we're trying to get out of it. Like, no, one's there and it's a ton of cash and they're not, they're not budging. They're making us stick. They're not reducing the cost. And it's kind of brutal. I'm not going to lie.
Michael Gardon (29:11):
Yeah. I think that's a big reckoning that's going to happen in your landlord. Probably sees that trend and is scared. So they're going to keep you in there as long as they can
Patrick Tannous (29:22):
To, to look into how we can get out of this lease because it just doesn't make sense for another five years, I'm going to be paying 15 K a month. I'm not just going to keep paying that every month for two to three people to go in and sit in this huge mansion. And for these landlords, literally not try and work out a deal with us. Like it sucks. I had to get a lawyer involved, but that's what it's coming to. Right.
Michael Gardon (29:48):
Yeah. It's a really interesting problem. It has ramifications for, you know, central business districts, unfortunately, as we talked about like Chicago Mt. You, before we started recording. So yeah. It's kind of unfortunate to be interesting to see how it plays out, but you're right. I think from a financial perspective, it doesn't make sense to have the same square foot office space and pull this hybrid model off. Like those two things are incompatible. So it's more, it's going to, we're going to kind of see what is the mix, how many people come all the way fully back to the office versus versus not, you know, I think that's the going to be kind of the calculus. So what's next, like, what's next for you guys? Where do you see growth and innovation for your company? Like what most excites you about the future of your company right now?
Patrick Tannous (30:36):
I think what excites me, the most of our company is somebody, some kind of crazy, but it's the opportunities you have with marketing. I mean, social media is just so it's changed the game of business so much right now. I mean, you can reach audiences that you never reached before in such a quick amount of time with if your marketing's right. So I'm excited really next year, I think marketing is going to fuel the growth. The more eyes you can get on your brand, the more customers that visit your website, the more that are going to convert. And with social media, Tik, TOK, Instagram, you can blow up your brand if you play those those cards. Right. And that's what I'm the most excited about next year is what can we do on marketing to fuel some more growth? I mean, once you get into the, the lot of the retail stores, like the targets and the Walmarts, it's like, well, where else is the growth going to come from? And I think it's just more consumers drinking our product more often. And I think marketing can really help with that.
Michael Gardon (31:39):
Are there any particular brands that you're kind of looking at as a, the kind of playbook to follow on that?
Patrick Tannous (31:46):
I wouldn't say playbook. There's definitely brands that I think have what I'll call cross the chasm with marketing that you want to follow. I think trust the hot sauce brand is one of them, you know, they blew up just via social media. If you've heard of them, it's truffle infused hot sauce, you kind of have to carve your own playbook. You got to kind of, you know, figure out who you want to be. It's like when you try to copy someone else or, you know, I've looked at trying to do this, trying to do that. It just comes off authentic. So I think you got to stick to doing one thing and just kind of blow it out with your marketing message and traf really does that well.
Michael Gardon (32:25):
Okay, cool. I'm not a marketing guy. And so I've been actually doing a couple of side projects and I'm trying to learn more about what flips that switch. Right. And so I'll definitely check them out as an example and a standout of, of what, you know, that kind of looks like. I want to pivot back a little bit to the people like college age. Okay. Think about yourself right before you started this journey to just to kind of bring their conversation back. What do you say to people that are in that spot and maybe don't know what they want to do, but maybe they think they need more experience before starting a company or before doing a project or before kind of going out on their own. What do you say to those people who want to kind of do it now?
Patrick Tannous (33:12):
It's tough question. I would say the first thing I say is, you know, Jimmy, John always left me with one quote that just continues to ring true to me. And to my mind, it's always listen to your customers and how it work your competition. If you do those two things, you'll always win. And for me, that was a very, I would guess outworking, my competition was natural. It's like, heck, you know, I can outwork anybody if I really wanted to do the other thing is like every day you're going to find a roadblock and take that roadblock, identify what it is and figure out how you can get around it. Right? Figure out what resources you need to beat that roadblock down. And don't let that roadblock stop you because you're going to have, how do I do this? Instead of saying, how do I do it? Go figure it out. Right? Go Google it, go ask somebody. But really just if you're I worked at competition and when you see your roadblock, figuring out what it is and how to overcome it, it sounds so cliche, but that's the gist of it. Like what's your problem. Go solve it, figure out how to solve it.
Michael Gardon (34:16):
Excellent advice. What's next for you personally? I just saw, I think a cat roll by behind you there a little bit like away from work, what's on the docket for you. What are you interested in excited about or prioritizing in the next you know, one to five years
Patrick Tannous (34:39):
I started a couple other businesses. I got a patent on a product, you know, I just, I love creating for myself. Like once you start a business, it's a drug that you want to do again and again and again, and maintaining a business. Is it nearly as fun? If I may say that I love what I do, don't get me wrong. But maintaining and managing is a lot harder for me than creating. So an ideal world, I think I'd love to sell this business in the next three to five years and start working on the, I have this patent that I created and I'd like to focus some time and energy on that, but I haven't really done anything with it. But you just, I guess when you're an entrepreneur, you don't do it for the money. It's not about the money. You do it for the, what's going to excite you when you wake up in the morning, right? Like what's the first thing you're going to check. Most people aren't going to check work, but if you can figure out a way to make that, you know, something where you're excited to check work and, and that's, for me, that's creating right. Creating things. And I'll show you my, the patent I have is I combined this. So basically this has a bottom dispensing mechanism. Have you ever seen this device? The fee brewer?
Michael Gardon (35:52):
Yeah, absolutely. I've got like three of them. Yes. So for the audience, this is a, essentially a loose leaf tea brewer. It's a contraption that you can put loose leaf tea in the top, brew it in water hot water and then set it on top of a cup and it drains out and drains all of the leaves out of the, the actual tea. So you don't get the leads in the, in the tea that you drink.
Patrick Tannous (36:18):
Yeah. And so I basically took that technology, combine it with this, which is a hot water boiler. And I've got a patent for the first ever self-contained electronic water boiling and straining system. So, you know, it's cool to have the patent and I want to do something with it. So for anyone who starts the business, that's listening, you're probably not just going to start one.
Michael Gardon (36:42):
Yeah, I do agree with that. It's hard to stop and that's, and it's all about just building momentum and seeing some success. So that's why I always say if you're at that precipice and you have an idea and you think it would be cool, but you think you don't have enough experience or you don't have X, Y, or Z credentials to do it. The optimal path is to just do it. Because even if that fails what you learn and the momentum you gain for the next one is priceless.
Patrick Tannous (37:09):
Yeah. I would, I would agree with that. And one of the rules I kind of stick to in my mind is if I can't stop thinking about something for longer than six months, I got to do it because a lot of times you'll think of something, but it will be a fad for like a month or two. But if you start thinking about something like consistently every month, you're thinking about it in six months and you're like, man, I'm still thinking about this. Then just do it at that point. You're never going to stop thinking about it unless you're just trying to do it. And it's like, I don't remember what this is. When I, when I started this thing, it was like 4:00 AM. And I couldn't stop thinking about this idea and I'm just like, it. So I got up at 4:00 AM. Once my office started emailing, some guys in China, started working on creating a prototype and that's it. And so I, and I got a pet. It was pretty cool, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. And that's, what's like, all right, then
Michael Gardon (37:56):
I love that. That's a great, great heuristic to use. Perfect Patrick, where else can people find out more about you? Tiesta Tea maybe the roles that you have available? Where can people generally find out more about you and what you're doing?
Patrick Tannous (38:12):
So, yes, the tea.com is our website. Follow us on socials, the T spelled like Fiesta, but with a T and yeah, there's a career page on our website. We're, we're always hiring, looking for great people and yeah, that's, that's where you can find us. And if you want to use the code, we can do a code TeaTime20, we'll get you 20% off your first order.
Michael Gardon (38:37):
Okay. We will put all of those links and the code and everything in the show notes, Patrick, man. Thanks so much for being here. I'm so excited to catch up with you. This was great talking and I really appreciate your time on the podcast.
Patrick Tannous (38:49):
It was man. Great to see you. And thanks for having me. It was, it was great to chat about the topic. So thank you and enjoy your Friday. My brother Friday. Enjoy it.
Michael Gardon (38:59):
All right. You too, man. Thanks so much.
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