TeaBusiness as Hobby?


Trends and Tips on developing and operating a tea business.

TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby auhckw » Oct 25th, '10, 11:43

I was wondering whether I should start to do a tea business as a hobby. I can do this as a non/minimum profit kind of thing. As long I don't make lost it is fine with me :)

What I mean is I would like to share good tea (mainly puerh) which are easily available here in Malayisa. There are many sellers here who have good tea, but they just don't have e-commerce to introduce/sell their tea.

Here I can get branded puerh (Dayi, Xiaguan, etc). There also quite a number of local custom brand puerh too, which some are good. Not to mention availability of aged puerh which Malaysia is known for one of the good place to store. For young tea, price wise here is still ok, cheaper than some other english online store but may be more expensive than some chinese online seller at china which you may have to be careful about authenticity. But for aged tea, here is usually cheaper as some were exported from Malaysia back to China.

I can even hunt for you items that you like and purchase for you, eg Ru Ware, Tea Pots, Tray, etc.

As I am personally going around exploring tea and making friends, I would like to share my experience with you guy in a non/minimum profit manner and not being a tea seller. I will rate tea based on independent or with my friends opinion, giving rating of what kind of taste the puerh is, and let you decide. Basically it is going to be review + selling site.

I don't intend to keep stock. It will most likely be a back2back order. You want, I check availability, You pay, I buy then send. My friend who is doing an e-Commerce biz is willing to let me use his service at a discounted price. It has payment gateway via Credit Card / Online banking and also delivery tracking system. There is even a 14 days buyers guarantee too. He said I can only receive the money 14 days after you received the goods. I think I shouldn't have problem coming out with some capital to do buy some tea (so long you don't order in container) :lol:

Before I start doing this, as I have never done this before, my concerns:-
1) If I do send tea will there be problem at my local customs or your customs?
2) Is there any country that I cannot send tea into?
3) Is there tax that I have to pay upon sending?
4) What if the tea went missing or damaged while delivering?

I have to do some homework, cause as much as I hope to do this as a hobby, I don't want to get myself into trouble :)
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby Mrs. Chip » Oct 25th, '10, 12:14

Wow auhckw, for being new to tea since late May of this year, you surely have come a long way and have high aspirations!

Good Luck. 8)
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby tortoise » Oct 25th, '10, 15:01

It sounds like a noble endeavor that will rapidly increase your knowledge of tea and allow you to meet lots of people. I don't really know the answers to your questions, unfortunately.
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby nickE » Oct 25th, '10, 16:39

Sounds like a challenging endeavor. Best of luck!
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby Marco » Oct 26th, '10, 07:04

A nice idea and I wish you good luck with it.

To your questions, as far as I know:
auhckw wrote:Before I start doing this, as I have never done this before, my concerns:-
1) If I do send tea will there be problem at my local customs or your customs?
2) Is there any country that I cannot send tea into?
3) Is there tax that I have to pay upon sending?
4) What if the tea went missing or damaged while delivering?

1.) you will have to fill out a customs declaration for each package. Above a limit the receiver has to pay customs.
2.) There are limitations for importing tea in tea producing countries - I'd reccomend you to read the terms and conditions of some online teashops
3.)If you do it as a business, there will be taxation of your earnings (don't know your local laws). The receiver of the package has to pay VAT. There is a tax allowance depending on country of destination. And with some luck the package will not be checked.
4.) There are shipping methods with and without insurance. For them without you have to find a solution. I'd reccommend reading terms and conditions of online shops again.

my2cent :)
good luck
Marco
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby Herb_Master » Oct 26th, '10, 20:19

Go online, and buy yourself a small amount of tea from a couple of Chinese vendors. Say Yunnan Sourcing, Jing Tea Shop or Dragon Teahouse.

Notice what you as a customer have to do.
Notice what they have to do to the package that arrives for you.

Sites that do not offer Paypal are often shunned by customers.
Secure packaging, easily navigable web site, constant attention to orders!!!


Tea is regarded as a food stuff in the UK and there is no VAT, I believe this is common to most of Europe.

Teaware does attract VAT, but only above a small amount - some vendors mark their invice for teaware lower than the real value they charge the customer- if a customs inspector knew nothing about Yixing - he could well believe a tiny pot from a country where labour is cheap cost only $20.

Of course Malaysia is reputed to have better conditions for storing Pu than most of China, so find a warehouse fill it with 2010 Pu and sell for 20 times the price in 15 years time.

It is frustrating when you place an order and the site owner does not acknowledge for a week. When you are in China on a buying trip :lol: will your wife look after the online store? :roll:
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby auhckw » Oct 26th, '10, 21:16

Thanks for the input.

Over the next few weeks, I will do some homework about packaging, online payment, delivery, insurance, tax, getting content for the site, terms and conditions, etc. I have roughly identify few Pu to introduce as those I think is quite nice and not too pricey.

I don't intend to keep stock or make big money out of this, so No I won't store Pu in a warehouse. There is no guarantee what the Pu may turn out to be in the future, I would prefer to introduce those that has turned out good. Also, I know a few tea shops who goes to china, hunt and then import back their own custom made Pu. Those if good or interesting, I wish to introduce too. So basically, the key word is 'Selective', I am not a tea seller. My purpose is to share what goodies I am experiencing.
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby Marco » Oct 27th, '10, 13:03

Herb_Master wrote:Tea is regarded as a food stuff in the UK and there is no VAT, I believe this is common to most of Europe.


It is a common mistake to think that taxation laws in the EU are similar.
As far as I know, the UK is the only country that has no VAT on tea.
If you are interested:
http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/vat/consumers/vat_rates/index_en.htm
And tea is not always food stuff.
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby mosshorn » Nov 7th, '10, 16:04

I don't know any of the details, so I'm not helpful other than encouragement. You should totally do this auhckw, I know I would buy from you ^_^
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby Herb_Master » Nov 7th, '10, 16:17

:D :oops: :D

Looking at your latest pics from Tea-Li and LongRun I was jealous :mrgreen: and thinking of contemplating a meet up with you at one of those shops in Febrauary, your wife and my girlfriend permitting :lol:

Then I thought, what about your new hobby, I don't need to visit the shops, just place my orders with you, prior to arrival :idea:
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby auhckw » Nov 7th, '10, 21:20

Herb_Master wrote::D :oops: :D

Looking at your latest pics from Tea-Li and LongRun I was jealous :mrgreen: and thinking of contemplating a meet up with you at one of those shops in Febrauary, your wife and my girlfriend permitting :lol:

Then I thought, what about your new hobby, I don't need to visit the shops, just place my orders with you, prior to arrival :idea:


After I told my wife about my this new teabiz/hobby, I have got permit (surprisingly) from wife to go out on weekends for tea hunting/research. So if you are here on the weekends, I can bring you around :)

But I have to pre-warn you... Tea-Li, LongRun, JDX and Tacha are all a walk away from each other. I believed there are a few more tea shops in that area, will explore progressively. The 4 above are specialized in puerh ranging from young, aged, branded, own custom brand, cheap and premium grades. They do have oolong, teawares but not that many.

My concern about this hobby/teabiz is if I were to take my friend's e-commerce portal with all the ordering, payment gateway (credit card, online banking, paypal) and tracking system, it will cost me about USD66 per month. So I must make sure I have enough interest to cover the minimum USD66 per month. This method will look more professional.

The other less commitment/professional method is I setup a blog, order via email, and just use paypal. The next thing I have to do is to figure out how to get the money out of paypal account, as 2 years ago the only way is to open a bank account in singapore and get the money out. I heard from my friend that we can now debit the money into our credit card. I have to read more on this.
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby djlau » Oct 27th, '11, 11:59

I personally think that the easiest way to go is to set up a blog and either: set it up on wordpress where you can host free paypal enabled e-commerce solutions like Zen Cart (warning, this could be a headache), or just have a page where you list your teas and solicit business from there.

There is a great tea blog run by a Frenchman named Stephane, he lives in Taiwan and shares his tea in a side business/hobby manner and he simply does the second. I think it's the best way since you'd like to be spending your time hunting down and drinking tea, not fixing little website issues and customizing code.
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Re: TeaBusiness as Hobby?

Postby royaltea » Nov 9th, '11, 03:11

This is my tea party catering business/hobby, I thought I could share it with you, so you can get some ideas.

www the royal afternoon tea dot com

Thanks,
Nancy :)
Last edited by Chip on Nov 9th, '11, 04:06, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Mod edit: link broken but can still figure it out easily enough. Per forum rules for new members and links of a self promoting nature.
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