Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Dear Tea Friends,

We have reached the last day of 2008. What a year it has been!

Right now, I am very happy to have my family back safe and sound after their 30 hour journey from India. Suruchi and Shivam are a bit tired, but happy to be back at home. I must admit, I was missing them dearly as they have been away since November 17th.

Currently, we are resting, relaxing, and looking forward to a busy 2009. January is a special month because our son turns 4 plus Suruchi and I celebrate 10 years of marriage. Interestingly, 2009 also marks 10 years of tea importing. Amazing, time sure flies when you are having fun.

Like most business owners we have faced challenges, but it has been worth every moment because we are living our lives according to our terms. Looking back, would I have done anything different? Absolutely! Like all entrepreneurs I have made some mistakes, but I regret nothing. Decisions were made and we have moved forward. I, however, have learned so much the past 10 years that I think the next 10 will be that much better. The key is to keep on learning, never look back, and just keep on persisting!

Wishing you all the best in 2009 and beyond. I encourage you to leave your comfort zone and live your life with passion!

I left my comfort zone and started my first business in 1994--14 years ago. At the time, I was a caretaker. I haven't look back and encourage you to do the same. Don't get me wrong, owning a business takes time, work, and effort; but I think the key is that you are the one who is making the decisions. Owning a business, in short, empowers you to shape your destiny and control your future.

To mark 10 years in the tea business, we have planned a special promotion that will begin on Tuesday, January 6th. Details will be released via e-mail and on this blog on Monday, January 5th, so keep an eye on your e-mail plus bookmark and visit this blog often.

Be Happy! Be Grateful!

Drink Tea and Prosper!


Best Regards,

Sanjay Gupta

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Dear Tea Friends:

2008 is quickly coming to an end. My hope is you are enjoying the holiday season and looking forward to the new year.

Looking back on 2008, I think it is fair to say that it has been a turbulent year.

We have witnessed oil rise and fall nearly $100 per barrel. The US toxic mortgage crisis precipitated a financial crisis throughout the world. Commodities prices have fallen, the stock market lost half its value, and finally to cap off the year, the Madoff Scandal projects 50 billion dollars in lost savings of many charities, banks, and wealthy investors. Indeed, it is a troubling time; with economic strife usually comes political strife.

Along with this economic down-turn we must not forget the social impact: lost jobs, lost homes, lost savings, hopelessness, and sadness. However, I think the governments of today are stepping forward and trying their best to deal with the current situation. I also think that we must all keep things in perspective. Regardless of how bad it may seem, keep in mind it could always be worse. During this season, we must never forget that there are countries in this world where the lives of their citizens are much worse off. Take Zimbabwe, for example: the Mugabe government, who seized power undemocratically are facing a cholera epidemic that may spread to other neighboring countries. Mugabe is refusing to cooperate with foreign aid and health workers and even denies that the epidemic exists. It is crazy that someone would allow their citizens, particularly innocent women and children, to suffer so much.

When I feel down, I just watch the news and realize that my life could be much worse and am thankful that I have shelter, access to health care, food, and the ability to live and work freely. We must never forget how lucky we are, particularly at this time of year when we are consuming chocolates, turkey, stuffing, and other foods.

I guess the point I am trying to make is "Be Happy" and "Be Grateful" because you only have one life to live and I encourage you to make the most of it. Consider yourself fortunate to know that you have choices and the ability to make your life better should you choose to. If you learn anything from my story, you will realize that I have always tried to design my life, I think in part because I am a dreamer by nature and understand that if I focus on my goals then ultimately they will be achieved.

Looking ahead to 2009, I am actually very excited for several reasons:

First, during economic downturns, sales of creature comforts actually rise instead of fall. For instance, cosmetics purchases increase, movie attendance rises, and let's not forget, tea. In fact, if history repeats itself, the tea industry is projected to grow from 7.4 billion to more than 15 billion in the next five years. Tea, in fact, is mirroring the rise of the coffee industry during our last recession in the 80s...recall the rise of Starbucks! To learn more, read the excerpts of the news release I posted.

Second, historically, during economic downturns, many new businesses start up particularly in niche industries. In fact, 18 of the 30 current Dow Jones industrial index companies were launched during economic downturns. Since my main focus is to help entrepreneurs start businesses, this is very encouraging because our product line focuses on specialty tea which is projected to have the fastest growth. If you want to learn more about our programs, please click here.

Finally, tea is a consumable that contributes to long life. Regardless of the economic situation, tea will always be consumed because it is a part of our lives. Interestingly, I recently read an article that the tea trade between India and Pakistan is actually projected to increase, despite the political tensions. Another interesting tidbit of trivia is the fact that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world next to water. Regardless of the political or economic situation, the trade in tea will continue and this is great news for anyone who wants to start a tea business, particularly in North America which is playing catch up with the rest of the world.

For the remaining part of this year my goals are as follows: sleep lots...I need to catch up; reflect on 2008 and plan for 2009; greet Suruchi and Shivam at the airport on the 28th as I miss them dearly because they have been away since November 17th; finalize our inventory because I have a shipment in India and may want to add to it; and finally, start working on my year end documents for my book keeper and accountant. Of course, I am also working on some promotions for the New Year, so keep your eye on your e-mail as well.

From the bottom of my heart, may your holiday season be joyful, happy, and full of gratitude. I wish you a prosperous and happy new year.

Be Happy! Be Grateful!

Drink Tea and Prosper!


Best Regards,

Sanjay Gupta

Monday, December 22, 2008


Early in the month of December the World Tea Expo released a news release. Highlights of the release include the following:

Despite the economic downturn, the 2009 World Tea Expo is projecting record attendance - not despite the current economy, but, at least partially, because of it. Historically, economic downturns have inspired entrepreneurs to launch businesses in niche industries. With specialty tea offering a highly profitable and fast-growing opportunity in the United States, the World Tea Expo and the industry are preparing for a banner year.

Plan to attend, May 2nd to 4th, 2009 at Mandalay Bay. Stop by Tea Connexions' booth, we would love to see you.

Sales of specialty and premium tea in the U.S. are skyrocketing. Earlier this year, market research firm Packaged Facts forecasted that U.S. tea sales would double in five years, from $7.4 billion in 2007 to $15 billion by 2012. The firm further projected that, over the same period, the specialty tea segment of the market would grow to comprise more than half of these total sales, up from its current share of 36 percent. This translates into nearly $5 billion in new specialty tea sales each year for five years - more than double the growth of commercial grade tea.

Specialty tea just happens to be Tea Connexions focus. Our product line is based exclusively on the fact that this market segment will grow the fastest.


"In the past few years, we have already seen startups by former CEOs of major national companies, acquisitions by leading conglomerates and investments in top brands by private-equity firms," commented George Jage, President and Founder of the World Tea Expo. "We are expecting an avalanche of entrepreneurs starting their own tea businesses, much like what happened with specialty coffee almost two decades ago."

Karen Foley, Publisher of Imbibe Magazine, recalled, "It was amazing to see so many people leaving 20-year careers at Fortune 500 companies to open independent coffee shops, but it brought an enormous amount of diversity and experience into the coffee community." From 1993 to 1998, the Specialty Coffee Association of America's membership grew from 300 to nearly 2,000, according to industry consultant and former SCAA executive Mike Ferguson.

With U.S. unemployment figures reaching record levels, financial experts are advising those who've considered starting their own business to do it now. In fact, 18 of the 30 current Dow Jones industrial index companies were launched during economic downturns, according to venture capital firm Reference Capital Management.


The tea industry is experiencing a boom period and now is the time to get started.

Tea Connexions can help. In fact, we have been helping entrepreneurs start tea businesses since 2001.

To learn more about the five market advantages we offer to aspiring teapreneurs, click here.


1. Introduction

In 1984, a small Seattle-based coffee company took a chance on the idea that people would pay a premium for a high quality cup of coffee and opened a small coffee bar in downtown Seattle. The idea took off. By 1990 the company had more than eighty-four locations throughout North America. Entrepreneurs who took advantage of that early opportunity became rich. And they gained more than just money; they also gained control of their lives and their future.

We're looking for an elite group of energetic and independent entrepreneurs who understand that working hard and smart can bring great rewards, entrepreneurs who realize that customer loyalty will derive from exceptional value and service.

High quality teas are virtually non-existent in the North American market--what most consumers know as tea consists primarily of low grade tea "dust" or "fannings".

Tea Connexions imports Darjeeling, the "Champagne of Teas," directly from the world's finest tea plantations. As an independent distributor, you'll offer the consumer the very highest quality product in the marketplace.

Distributors for the "Champagne of Teas" have five distinct market advantages:

2. Market Advantage #1: Huge Profit Potential

Since our product is of the highest quality, you're able to command a premium price. Market our products at the suggested wholesale or retail prices and earn large profits. Whether you sell to traditional or gourmet markets, the profits can be incredible.

3. Market Advantage #2: Unique And Eye-Catching Packaging

Packaging causes the consumer to stop and consider your product. Our packaging has been called "consumer art." Each of our containers is a piece of hand-crafted art, making it a perfect gift item. Pre-packaged with the very finest teas, these items expand your markets to include gift and specialty stores.

4. Market Advantage #3: A Healthy Product

Tea contains one third of the caffeine of coffee or colas as well as natural antioxidants and flavanoids that have been shown to help prevent heart disease and cancer. According to recent Harvard University research, people who consume one or more cups of black tea daily REDUCED THEIR RISK OF HAVING A HEART ATTACK BY MORE THAN 40%!

According to the fourth edition "U.S. Tea is 'Hot' Report," released by Sage Group International LLC the greatest contributing factor to the tea industry's growth in the past two years has been news coverage of tea's health benefits. Unlike the coffee and cigar trends, distributing tea will not only make you wealthy, but it will positively impact your customers through better health and increased vitality.

Bill Waddington, owner of Tea Source in St. Paul, MN believes the wave towards tea "will have a longer-lasting impact (than coffee or cigars) because it is the only one that is good for you-IT IS THE ONLY TRULY LUXURY GOURMET FOOD IN THE WORLD THAT HAS LASTING EFFECTS ON THE HEALTH OF THE CONSUMER and that is also of remarkable value."

5. Market Advantage #4: The Power Of Creating A Personal Brand

The most exciting marketing trend of the Twenty-First Century lies in the ability to create a personal private brand for products. As a Tea Connexions distributor, you'll have the ability to create for your clients their very own private label. This market is virtually untapped and the profit potential is amazing. Imagine offering a local business the chance to offer a consumable product that features their logo and corporate name on distinctive packaging. Use your ability to private label your product for fund raisers or to develop your own brand name.

Imagine, as a Tea Connexions distributor you can create your own branded line of teas adored by your customers. Loyal customers results in long term sales and profits.

6. Market Advantage #5: Growing Market...Seize The Opportunity

"Specialty tea will represent the fastest growing segment of the tea industry over the next decade and has the capability of doubling its volume over the next five years and might grow at an even faster pace."
-Joseph P. Simrany, President of the Tea Association of the USA, Inc-

"Millions of American households will shift to tea as their preferred daily beverage choice during the next three years."
-Sage Group International, "U.S. Tea is 'Hot' Report," (4th Edition)-

"Sales of specialty and premium tea in the U.S. are skyrocketing. Earlier this year, market research firm Packaged Facts forecasted that U.S. tea sales would double in five years, from $7.4 billion in 2007 to $15 billion by 2012. The firm further projected that, over the same period, the specialty tea segment of the market would grow to comprise more than half of these total sales, up from its current share of 36 percent. This translates into nearly $5 billion in new specialty tea sales each year for five years - more than double the growth of commercial grade tea."
-Source: LAS VEGAS (Dec. 8, 2008)-The 2009 World Tea Expo News Release-

"Tea is Hot. Entrepreneur Magazine's 'The Hot List' named tea as one of the hottest trends and best business ideas."

"World Tea Expo is projecting record attendance - not despite the current economy, but, at least partially, because of it. Historically, economic downturns have inspired entrepreneurs to launch businesses in niche industries. With specialty tea offering a highly profitable and fast-growing opportunity in the United States, the World Tea Expo and the industry are preparing for a banner year."
-Source: LAS VEGAS (Dec. 8, 2008)-The 2009 World Tea Expo News Release-

The specialty tea market is growing, and will have a lasting financial impact on entrepreneurs that get involved. Timing is essential. With any upward trend, the first to get involved profit the most.

7. Tea Business Solutions

Tea Connexions empowers you to profit from this trend by providing you with TURN KEY TEA BUSINESS SOLUTIONS.

We started our tea journey in 1998 and have in-depth knowledge on what it takes to start a tea business and most importantly, know what it takes to succeed.

Using our 5 STEP Training system and 30 day plan of action, you will be able to start earning profits from the sale of teas immediately.

The timing is right--demand for specialty tea is growing.

To meet your investment needs, we have developed eight distinct wholesale packages. Click here to download our two page summary.

Our sincere hope is that one of these programs will meet your tea distribution needs.

If you have any questions, please call our office, toll free, 1.877.leaftea (532-3832) ext. 111.

I shall look forward to welcoming you to the Tea Connexions family.

Drink Tea and Prosper!

Best Regards,

Sanjay Gupta

P.S. If you want to learn more about my motivations and inspiration for wanting to help entrepreneurs start tea businesses, read My Story

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


(For years, we have been training entrepreneurs on how to start tea businesses. The excerpt below, My Story, was originally written for our online training that is only available to our members. Currently, I am working on a book called, Tea Business 101, which is designed to offer aspiring entrepreneurs insights into starting a tea business and how they can become successful. The book is based directly on my entrepreneurial experience and the current training we offer our members. The First Chapter: My Story, is below. I look forward to your feedback and comments.)

"Success is the result of having dreams, the courage to aggressively pursue them, and the inner strength to never quit until they come true."
-Sanjay Gupta-


Nearly 20 years ago I was a caretaker, looking after someone else’s apartment buildings. While not a bad job because it covered my rent while I was at graduate school, it entailed much labor-related work: plumbing, carpentry, and general maintenance. It also entailed collecting rent, renting out apartments, and maintaining tenant relations. I was one of the best: my buildings were always full and I took good care of them. However, after two years as a caretaker I realized I wanted something more. I wanted financial security and the freedom to pursue interests and hobbies.

Like many future entrepreneurs, I realized that life had more to offer than cleaning someone else’s jam-encrusted carpet--no matter how much pride I took in the quality of my de-encrusting. But what did I want to do instead? I found I couldn’t answer that question, so I sought answers elsewhere. Eventually, I stumbled across Anthony Robbins personal development tapes. Personal development. It all seemed pretty hokey, after all, wasn’t I already a developed person? But I’d paid the money so I listened anyway. I found that Robbins had something to say, and soon found myself applying his teachings. Knowledge is power, after all, but only if you use it.

Here’s the knowledge the tapes gave me:

1. Anything in life is possible if you put your mind to it.

2. Before dreams and goals can come true, you must believe in yourself.

3. Success is the result of constant programming through positive, self-empowering questions.

4. To get what you want, you must first determine what you really want.

5. The only way to accomplish anything is through persistent and committed focus.

6. Focus requires written goals.

7. The only way to achieve success is to take action. Written goals are effective only if you commit to achieving them through consistent daily effort.

8. There is nothing wrong with failure, so long as you learn something from it. Failure learned from is called experience.

9. Fear prevents success. Success only occurs when you overcome the fear to leave your comfort zone.

10. Success is the result of positive self-belief, action, and constant evaluation of the results.

Equipped with this knowledge, I dreamed big, set goals, and tried to figure out how I could achieve my newfound goals. Encouraged by my success with the self-help tapes, I immersed myself in business reading then began exploring business opportunities.


Consequently, at the age of 23, I set up my first business: I invested in Don Lapre’s psychic lines. Back then, I dreamt of making millions, becoming the Psychic Line Guru, appearing on infomercials espousing the virtues of 1-900 lines. I never became that Guru. The investment was too large, the return too small. After financing the program with two credit cards, I realized that it was going to take a lot more time and money to yield the results I wanted. Besides, the 1-900 market became flooded so that my lines were no longer competitive. Rather than pour in more money, I cut my losses and went looking for something else.

The something else I found turned out to be a variety of ventures, ranging from network marketing to commodity brokering to e-commerce. Some ventures were lucrative; others a money pit. Still I was not afraid to try something new, to put my heart into it and see it through. Knowing I gain from my failures as well as my successes, I chalked it up to experience.

Some of my failed businesses included get-rich-quick schemes. You know the kind I mean: the chain letter types that say if only you’ll sponsor a few people, you will get rich beyond your wildest dreams.

I did spend several years building up a network of distributors at one point. And I became very successful--until the company closed their doors and I lost everything. Again I learned from experience: if a business opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The only people who make millions on get-rich-quick schemes are their initiators.


This huge loss shook me to the core. I thought I would have to declare bankruptcy. Instead, I put my nose back to that old grindstone. It was then that I met a very special individual, Raj Manek. This great man encouraged me to pursue international trade, something that had always interested me. Taking his advice, I became an export consultant, helping companies distribute and market products internationally. So began Connexions Trading International in November 1994.

I had a lot to learn, but I was not afraid to leave my comfort zone. At first, I worked from my kitchen table, my only equipment a telephone and fax machine. I bought books on international trade and read voraciously. When I told Raj that my friends in Japan and the United Kingdom wanted to purchase Canadian products, he encouraged me to speak with a very successful entrepreneur who was currently pursuing export markets for his product.

When this manufacturer told me dentists were using his product to guard against infection, I recognized a great opportunity. I convinced him to give me world rights for his product, and fate intervened soon afterward. Still reading business magazines, I happened to pick up a trade show issue. The first page I turned to advertised the International Dental Show in Koln, Germany. Three months later in March 1995, I was off to Germany. Ours was one of only nine Canadian companies. Despite having very little knowledge about international trade or dentistry, I would be solely in charge of our booth. Again I left my comfort zone, traveling to Germany to meet prospective buyers. It was fascinating and overwhelming, meeting with the brass of multi-million dollar companies.

The manufacturer was so impressed with my willingness to take action, desire to succeed, and performance that he soon assigned another daunting task. I would coordinate the marketing and sales of his product in the United States. Equipped with very little knowledge of sales and marketing, I took action. I learned as much as I could, worked 18 hours a day, and focused on doing the best possible. Anything in life is possible if you put your mind to it.

Within three months, a major US retailer was stocking the product. The first order: $250,000! I was jazzed and very excited. This was a big deal, especially for someone who had started a company with little knowledge of international trade. Because of my tenacity and self-belief, in six months, I had literally transformed my life. I left behind my caretaking responsibilities and moved into a house.

I thought my life was set; I would be a millionaire before 30 and retire in Tahiti to sip margaritas amid white sand and adoring women.

I was wrong.

Despite my efforts and successes, the manufacturer terminated my contract--one of the many dangers commissioned agents face.


Brushing off the dirt, I picked myself up and went on to other businesses, selling or representing someone else’s product. One day when I stared down at a computer software game I was trying to market, I woke up. I realized the only way I could truly achieve my dreams and get real control over my life would be to create my own product line.

Thus began my research journey to India in 1997. I was not sure what product I wanted, but it would have to be unique. I examined mushrooms (not the magic kind), candles, incense, clothing, textiles, even explosives (YIKES). Nothing seemed quite right. Then I found some impressive gift boxes—-unique, multi-use containers. They would be an excellent start. Now I needed a unique, high quality consumable to package in these gift boxes. After many trips between India and Canada, I discovered Gourmet Teas. I immediately recognized the ideal product: Gourmet Teas Beautifully Packaged.

I then undertook four years of concentrated research, planning and development to ensure my plan would be the best. When I finished, I was satisfied that I had developed what would become one of the most sought after business opportunities of this millennium. In 2001, I officially launched the Tea Connexions Membership program and it was designed to fulfill the needs of entrepreneurs, needs which my experience had proven other opportunities did not fulfill.

1. Members of the buying group would have the freedom to personalize marketing and distribution strategies. True freedom. There would be no minimum monthly purchase or any of the other usual nonsense.

2. This opportunity would not be a get-rich-quick scheme. It would be a sustainable, successful business because it would not depend on the recruitment and sponsorship of distributors. It would depend on the member who would decide how to market the product and build their business.

3. Members would benefit from economies of scale, with substantial discounts on products and marketing materials based on the buying power of the entire group.

4. The opportunity would be product-oriented--a great product with high profit potential because member costs would be below wholesale.

5. Members would promote their own businesses, not the company itself. Members use their own brands. They would not suffer my fate, where I promoted someone else’s brand and lost everything when that company went under. Members would create their own local market loyal to them. I hope they remain a member of our buying group, but regardless of which tea supplier they use, once they build their customer bases, all members would have to do is provide customers with an excellent product and service. And since tea is a consumable, members can count on yearly residual income.

6. Members would benefit from my experience in the school of hard knocks. I know what it is like to start a business from my kitchen table with limited resources. That is why I designed this opportunity to give real value. I want members to achieve all the dreams and goals they set as part of the Tea Connexions family.

Since 2001, we have helped many entrepreneurs start their very own tea businesses.

Our business has grown considerably since then. Initially, we started in a 200 square foot office. In 2001, I made the move to a 1000 square feet. At the time, we did not even have one tea distributor, but I had faith. Two years later, in 2003, we moved to a new location that was 3000 square feet. After several years being based out of Saskatoon, SK, we realized that our business fate rested on our ability to warehouse our own product in the United States.

In 2006, we began intensive research on how to accomplish this objective. Our move to the US was important for three key reasons:

1. Increasing regulations caused by 9/11 were making it more difficult to ship cost effectively into the United States from Canada.

2. We needed a warehouse to better serve our growing base of US customers.

3. Finally, we wanted to lower shipping rates and also wanted to capitalize on more tea distribution opportunities.

In June, 2007, we finally moved our whole operation from Saskatoon, SK to Kingston, ON. This new location enabled us to maintain our Canadian business status and at the same time gave us easy access to our US warehouse that is based in Upstate, NY, which is less than 60 minutes away.

Like any business, we have faced challenges; challenges, however, that we constantly sought solutions for. My heartfelt advice to you is to never give up on your dreams and goals; constantly pursue them regardless of the challenges you face. Be prepared to ask yourself empowering questions and your problems will solve themselves. Bottom line, if you constantly focus on your dreams and goals, you will achieve them.

If you believe in your ability to succeed, set goals, plan and take action, I am confident your success is inevitable because your success will result directly from your efforts. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. As my own story demonstrates, you can quickly transform your life once you dare to leave the comfort zone.

As a final note, the Tony Robbins’s tapes always ended with the words live with passion. My hope is that you will live with passion, to lead your life instead of allowing life to lead you.

I keep the following message above my desk. It inspired me many times during my turbulent years in business. I hope it will inspire you too.




Click here to learn more about the inspiration behind Tea Connexions

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Dear Tea Friends:

I just want to extend my best wishes to my American friends who are taking a deserved day off to get together with family and friends.

I know that it is tough to feel positive about the future right now. But, I think we all must take a good hard look at our current situation with some perspective. Right now there are people all around the world who are much worse off: children starving; wars being waged on its own citizens; economic and political strife.

Just recently, I watched a documentary on Somalia. The government is waging war on its own people. They showed some elderly women scrounging for food in a pile of rubble because their village was destroyed by the government. Broke my heart. We live in cruel times and it hurts me deeply to see innocent women and children suffering.

Currently, over 100 people have perished in an apparent terrorist attack in Mumbai India. I am thanking god that my wife and child are not in Mumbai right now. They are in India to celebrate my brother-in-laws wedding. I just spoke with Suruchi and she is fine; though, I am still worried and look forward to their return on December 28th.

We should consider ourselves lucky to live in democracies where governments are actually working to try to create solutions to the current period of economic instability. Throughout history there have been periods of economic stress. As always, we overcome. My hope is the governments of today will learn lessons from the past to create solutions for the future.

Do I believe in world peace? Yes, this is something I wish would happen. However, I think the reality is that as long as humanity continues to settle disputes with violence and financial gain is created from the trafficking and sale of arms, then we will always have war. History has shown this. I do not recall a period in history where the world has ever been at peace and there has not been war. My only hope is the governments of today will try to deal with the inequities of the world and implement policies that will lead to greater stability and peace.

The only thing I can do is continue to try to do my part to make the world a better place. A lover of history, I once wanted to be a professor and must admit, sometimes I really miss the atmosphere of the university. I think, at heart, I am intellectual in nature and hope one day to retire, go back to school, research and write books.

In the meantime, I will continue to carry on with Tea Connexions. Have to admit, I am passionate about tea and the fact that by being a business owner, I provide economic benefits to many people: my employees; my re-sellers and marketing partners; my suppliers in India and China and their employees; the governments that benefit from the tax revenue we generate; the couriers and freight companies that ship our products; the bankers that I pay interest and fees to; the accountants and lawyers that I consult with; our printers, server providers, designers, etc. As you can see, small to medium sized businesses enhance the livelihoods of many.

All this is possible because of the patronage of our customers and for that I am truly thankful. Your patronage not only enables me to stay in business, it also helps other business owners and families to retain their livelihoods as well. As you can see, in many respects, we are all some how connected.

Have a great day and please be grateful. I shall look forward to shipping out many more orders of tea. Our sale ends tomorrow.

Be Happy! Be grateful! Live with Passion!

Drink Tea and Prosper!

Best Regards,

Sanjay Gupta
Suruchi Gupta (Sanjay's Spouse)
Shivam Gupta (Our adoring 3.5 year old son)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Tea Connexions is a value - added supplier that provides you with a turn-key tea business solution. Below are some of the privileges and benefits we provide to our customers.

A. Economies of Scale
• Below wholesale prices on gourmet teas beautifully packaged ranging between 5.00% and 36.25% depending on the wholesale package you choose.
• Professionally designed marketing tools at significant cost savings due to group buying power.
• Professionally designed logos, web design products and services at discounted rates.
• Private labeling/branding service offered to all members on minimum orders as small as $2000. Most tea companies demand much larger orders for private labeling privileges.

B. Rebates and Credits
• Each wholesale package comes with Instant Inventory Credits that can be used for your shipments of teas only. The amount of the credit is determined by the package chosen.
• Tea Connexions also offers Volume Rebate Incentives for top performing members. If you reach purchasing targets, you will receive an inventory rebate check on the anniversary date of your first wholesale package purchase.

C. No Minimum Orders, No Inventory Requirements & Drop Shipping
• You are not obligated to purchase or stock inventory. You need only buy what you can sell. However, we do provide incentives to our top producing customers with Volume Rebate Incentives.
• All of our Members can take orders from their customers and have Tea Connexions drop ship the order directly to them.

D. High Quality Products
• High quality teas to encourage customer loyalty.
• Beautiful packaging to capture customer attention.
• Ongoing commitment to quality.
• Money back guarantee to ensure complete customer satisfaction.

E. Training, Education, Support, Research and Development
• In-depth online business training and tea education to help your business grow and succeed.
• Tea Connexions is committed to update training on an ongoing basis; we research, you benefit.
• Periodic conference calls.
• Toll free support during regular business hours.
• Unlimited e-mail support.
• Periodic training conferences.
• Corporate commitment to research and develop new product lines and marketing tools such as marketing plans, content for newsletters, and more.

F. Freedom and Flexibility
• Freedom and flexibility to design your own marketing plan and create your own brand identity.

Questions, give us a call Toll Free, 1-877-532-3832.

Drink Tea and Prosper! Live with Passion!

Best Regards,

Sanjay Gupta


Starting any new business is tough. To succeed in the tea business, take the following action:

1. Source the Product
2. Negotiate Price
3. Develop Marketing Tools
4. Faciliate E-Commerce
5. Promote and Market
6. Educate

1. Source the Product

To establish a tea business, you will need to source product, either through established importers and wholesalers or by purchasing direct from tea estates. Sourcing product takes time, much effort, and money.

As a member of Tea Connexions you don’t have to worry about these challenges. We spent two years and tens of thousands of dollars researching suppliers. After meeting with dozens of prospects, we settled on a select few. Our product line grew from 15 items in 2001 to more than 200 today and we are continually on the lookout for more high quality products from reputable suppliers. Our product line is unique because it focuses on the tea markets that are projected to grow by double digits: specialty tea, specialty flavored, organic, oolong, and green tea. Tea Connexions carries the finest of each.

2. Negotiate Price

To make your tea business profitable, you will need to negotiate favorable pricing. This is the tricky part because most tea companies offer volume discounted pricing: the more you purchase, the lower your price. The question is how much are you willing and able to invest before you have an established customer base.

Fortunately, we also did that work for you so you don’t have to negotiate price. As a member of the Tea Connexions Buying Group you benefit from volume discounted pricing without committing to purchasing large amounts of inventory. We traveled and met with suppliers to negotiate volume direct pricing, which we pass on to you.

For your convenience, we also drop ship small orders for you – a service not offered by many other tea companies.

3. Develop Marketing Tools

To market your teas effectively, you will need catalogs, brochures, business cards, and preferably a website. When Tea Connexions got its first catalog designed, it took 45 days and cost more than a thousand dollars to design. We then had to invest in printing after negotiating rates with dozens of printers.

As a member of Tea Connexions, once again you reap the benefit of our hard work. You don’t have to order thousands of catalogs to get a good price. Tea Connexions orders pallet loads of 50,000 or more marketing tools at a time. We do this so that we can offer you competitive rates on orders as small as 100 catalogs. Our goal is to offer you high quality print tools at cost effective rates.

4. Facilitate E-Commerce

To succeed in today’s business climate, you need a website. For that website, you need images, text, a shopping cart, a designer, and more. As part of our turn-key e-commerce package, your website is set up and ready to take orders. With our knowledge and expertise, we can get a website up and running in one tenth of the time it could take if it was built from scratch.

5. Promote and Market

Marketing takes time, money, and persistence. Consider this: to generate revenue, you will need to promote your business.

At Tea Connexions, we help promote all of Distributors through our online presence. Websites like, and send consumers to our Distributors. Tea Connexions also invests heavily in advertising to promote our website These visitors often end up on our other sites – providing valuable traffic to our Distributors’ websites.

6. Educate

To effectively own and operate a tea business, you must educate yourself about the business and marketing concepts.

As a member of Tea Connexions, you gain access to online training which offers tea education as well as business and marketing guidance. In fact, our online training includes an ever-increasing 400 html pages. We do the research; all you have to do is visit the training weekly or monthly to stay up to date. Our goal is to give you all the information you need to succeed.

Tea Connexions’ Goal Re-Visited

The Tea Connexions goal is simple:

To give you the knowledge, tools, and products that enable you to profit from the growing opportunities offered by tea.

We accomplish this goal by offering you high quality teas, marketing solutions, and training. The success of Tea Connexions and the buying group is directly dependent on the success of our members. For that reason, we strive to offer top quality products, training and tools to help you succeed. As a member of Tea Connexions, you receive a turn-key tea business that includes access to training, marketing tools, guidance on business and marketing. You also receive marketing support through our websites, e-commerce, and live support from our staff. All you have to do is market the product. That’s it.

We even offer you downloadable marketing tools that you can use to create a strategy to attract new customers. For instance, posted in the training area is a downloadable wholesale kit in MS Word format that you can customize and give to prospective gift shops, tea shops, and others that may want to purchase from you for resale. One of our Distributors used this kit to set up 10 wholesale clients in just 30 days.

Now that you understand how we help you start a tea business and succeed, click here to learn more about the Privileges and Benefits we offer.

Drink Tea and Prosper!

Live with Passion!

Best Regards,

Sanjay Gupta


Here are the top five reasons to start a tea business.

1. Marketability

The most important consideration in business is the marketability of your product or service. Tea’s demand as a daily beverage, a popular gift, and a health food staple provides a readymade market with limitless opportunities. This is the right time to consider a tea business because of the increased awareness of tea’s health benefits. Publicity is creating a trend toward increased tea consumption. Since tea is a consumable, you will enjoy profits from the original sale and from ongoing refill orders.

2. Profitability
Profitability is another primary consideration you should review before investing in a business. Will you make money? If you invest and work your tea business, the answer is YES, absolutely. Numbers don’t lie. When you purchase a product below wholesale prices, you will definitely make a profit.

3. Flexibility
You may even create your own brand. You truly are the CEO of your business.

4. Uniqueness of our Concept
What makes us unique is not only the kinds of tea we offer, but our distinctive packaging fashioned from hand-carved, limited edition tropical hardwood containers, brass/metal, and papier maché. Since our products are suitable for the gift, food, and health industries, they can be marketed in many ways. You have the flexibility to tailor your own marketing strategy. You can establish a niche as a supplier of high quality consumables sold through gift, health, and tea channels.

5. Turn Key Solutions
When you join Tea Connexions, you gain access to more than 200 tea products, print and electronic marketing tools, and e-commerce. Extensive online training provides you with business and marketing guidance, tea education, and conference call training sessions.

Take action! Join TEAm Connexions for the financial freedom, flexibility, and control you desire. If you make an ongoing commitment to building your business you will realize your goals.

Work part time or full time, but always remember: results have a direct correlation to efforts. If you have passion and belief in your business, success will come easily. Passion is paramount. “The common denominator among successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Henry Ford and Richard Branson is passion,” says BizPlanDirect’s Greg Parker. Passion is the fuel that will fire your business’ success.

Getting started with Tea Connexions is easy and straightforward. Download our two page summary for pricing details of our eight wholesale programs.

Questions? Call us toll free, 1-877-532-3832.

Drink Tea and Prosper! Live with Passion!


Best Regards,

Sanjay Gupta
Founder, President, and CEO

P.S. Now that you understand why you should start a tea business click here to learn how Tea Connexions can help you get started with ease, less stress, and the greatest chances of success.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Dear friends:

Just a quick note to advise that Tea Connexions is part of the following social groups: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. To learn more, please visit our respective Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles. Let's connect. :-)

Sanjay's Facebook profile

Sanjay's LinkedIn profile

Sanjay's Twitter profile

These are just three more ways for us to connect and for you to learn more about Tea Connexions and how we can help you succeed in your own tea business.




Tuesday, April 1, 2008


After much exhaustive research, we chose Kingston, ON for three key reasons. First, we loved the location and the city and thought this would be a good place to live. Second, we are only 30 minutes from our warehouse, meaning we can have a hands on approach. Finally, most of our customers are on the East Coast, facilitating our ability to hold conferences and training.

The move finally came in June, 2007. Logistics issues solved, we have now turned our focus back to growing our customer base. One of our long term objectives is to recruit and train Exclusive Area Distributors (EADs). The EAD program will enable us to achieve our Macro Marketing goal to create international distribution, focusing our initial efforts on Canada and the United States.

The heart of our business model, localized distribution, is sound as it is based upon the premise of serving micro tea brands whose success is based upon a local, loyal customer base. Our core philosophy is based upon the idea that each Distributor wants the freedom to break free of their 9 to 5 job and earn a significant income through their tea business. For some Distributors this has become a reality. However, for others, and through no fault of their own, it has not been as easy. The key factor lacking in our business model is personal training.

To date, it has been difficult to offer personal one-on-one training to our Members. Successful TEAms require coaching. If you think about it, everyone needs a coach, someone to train and motivate. To date, Tea Connexions has attempted to do this over the phone, through conference calls, and has held some conferences.

EADs are considered an extension of Tea Connexions Head Quarters. Committed EADs receive personal training at their home base and then duplicate our training efforts with their TEAm of Sub-Distributors by offering personal training. The EAD is considered a critical member of our TEAm and responsible for managing their territory and ensuring that our market penetration goals are met using our Targeted Marketing action plan.

Over the next five to ten years, I envision a Tea Connexions wave spreading throughout the world. As the EAD program grows, so to will our tea distribution and market penetration. The cumulative activities of the Sub-Distributors and EADs will eventually result in Tea Connexions becoming the next Starbucks of Tea.


In 2005 and 2006, we scaled back promotion and Distributor recruitment efforts to focus on training efforts. We launched conference calls and held a training conference in Saskatoon. The impact was good, but still we realized that many of our Distributors needed more hands on training. At the same time, growing Homeland Security issues were making it harder to fill orders effectively. The lack of personal training had some negative impacts and we saw this in order traffic, which, in turn was having a negative impact on our Master Distributors. This was, increasingly, becoming an issue.

I went through a lot of inner turmoil during this period because I knew the company had to move and set up our own Distribution facilities in the United States and set up a US training program to ensure ongoing success. The issue holding me back was family obligations. I am the only son and felt a responsibility to stay in Saskatoon and be closer to my parents. As an investor in the company, my father realized the problems and I think sensed my reasons for not moving. In March, 2006, my parents advised me that they wanted me to move the business. I got their blessing and thus began our 15 month plan to move the business.

Click Here to read MOVING AHEAD 2007 & BEYOND

Thursday, March 27, 2008


In 2002, I had two contract sales people working with me and boy did we push to bring on more Distributors. The same year, we expanded our product line from 15 to 45 and brought in our first sea shipment from India. I have vivid memories of this year as we were all crammed in a 1000 square foot office having to weave through pallets of inventory to get to the back. This also marked the first year where we transacted large, private label sales with Distributors. In less than 5 days we sold about $25 thousand worth of stock that needed to be private labeled. By this time, Suruchi was done her course and traveled to India to oversee the private labeling process. We brought the shipments in just in time for Christmas. 2002 was a whirlwind of a year, many highs, some lows, too much stress.

Heading into 2003, I realized that we made some errors in judgement and were in a cash crunch. My father stepped in and provided interim financing so that we could continue pushing forward. This same year, we added more products, 26, bringing the line up to 71. At the same time, we began discussions with Mike Prince, the Founder of Shangers, Ltd. and formed a strategic alliance which is still in place. 2003 marked further growth as we moved out of our 1000 square feet location one full year ahead of schedule to a 3000 square foot facility that enabled us to warehouse three 20 foot containers at a time. To ramp up customer service, we hired more staff and kept pushing forward. A highlight of 2003 is the Master Distributor conference which resulted in the closure of our first Master Distributor. The role of the Master Distributor during this period was pivotal because it enabled us to continue servicing our growing number of Distributors in the United States as we faced continued challenges with new Homeland Security Measures.

In 2004, we added two more Master Distributors, many more Distributors, and continued to push forward. Our product line expanded tremendously as we added 138 more products. Indeed, this was a very exciting period as we realized that we now could compete with other large importers and wholesalers in the United States.

Volumes continued to grow, but we did realize that there were some critical problems in our model. The lack of personal training. It was growing increasingly more difficult to train our Distributors. Personal training, we realized is becoming an issue and became the focus of the company for the next two years.

Click Here to read REFLECTION & TURMOIL (2005-2006)


Beginning in 1999, I decided that instead of trying to market the product into every possible channel that I needed to focus. After being involved in so many business opportunities, I began formulating plans for my own business opportunity. I wanted to know if other entrepreneurs saw similar opportunities in tea, so in 2000 I decided to run an ad to see if there were other entrepreneurs interested in tea. I was inundated with so many requests that I did not know how to respond. I put the ad in only as a test. I had no idea I would get so many requests. But this test told me that there was truly an opportunity here, and I must pursue it. So I began formulating the “Opportunity is Brewing” program. But, I was tapped financially. I needed capital.

I made presentations to venture capitalists in April, 2000. No one wanted to give me money. So I tried the bank. The lending gods heeded my request. With a loan from the bank, I set out to create my tea empire. From my small 200 square foot office in 2001, I began developing the first marketing materials to send out to information requests. My theory at this time was that people did not need to know I was in a 200 square foot office. I wanted viewers of the ad to believe I was this huge all-encompassing tea company, so I decided that the key was the creation of a very comprehensive professionally created information kit to recruit Distributors, backed up with a solid web foundation and 24/7 answering service so that we appeared as if lots of people worked at our firm. In fact, Tea Connexions at the time had one full time employee, me, because my wife, Suruchi was attending University. I worked with a contract web designer, graphic designer, and copy editor. These individuals not only became intrigued with the project, but my most vocal supporters.

2001 was perhaps the hardest year because no money was coming in, but all money was going out. June, 2001, I gambled and moved into 1000 square feet, in anticipation of growing the business. I was using my AMEX Airmiles to pay off the MBNA Platinum which was paying off the Capital One, which in turn was paying off the AMEX Corporate. I had negotiated payment terms with everyone I could, and basically put my last penny into this. On a wing and a prayer, July, 2001, we sent out 150 information kits to people that had requested information as far back as 1999. My comment to Suruchi, “I will be happy if we get one sale, then it is a success. If it doesn’t work, I guess I will have to get a job.”

Well, it worked. The first Distribution partners began to join in July, 2001. I was elated, excited, and actually totally stressed out because I had not really thought the program through beyond the recruitment. In July, I should have been working on the online training, but as I was not sure if it was going to work, decided to take a bit of a holiday. August 2nd to 10th, I worked on four hours of sleep per night, working from 11am to 7am the next day because I had to get the online training done. During the day, I did sales, marketing, answered phones, and did other admin work, then once 7pm hit, brewed up a pot of coffee, pretty much drank it all and wrote at a frenzied pace. Then at 7am the next day, forwarded my writing to the copy editor, who would then forward it on to the web designer. I needed to get the training done, so I could process the applications. Talk about motivation. I had over $10,000 worth of business to transact, but could not until the online training was complete.

Click Here to read DOUBLE DIGIT GROWTH (2002-2004)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


But I have always had a vision of building an empire. My dream of building a business empire actually began in my 600 square foot apartment. At that time, I decided that I wanted to have a company that was involved in international trade, shipping, real estate, and investments. I have always dreamed big, just did not know how I was going to achieve these dreams.

Tea Connexions, I feel, is my vehicle to attain my dreams.

The more I learned about tea, the more I realized that I had discovered a very unique tea: specialty tea. I really had no idea, at the time, that there would be such huge market demand for such teas, but I also realized that when you used to go into a 7-11 and order coffee, all you got was coffee. In 1999, anywhere you went for coffee, there were so many choices. Tea, on the other hand, really did not have any unique blends, or at least anything that I could find. I immediately believed that there must be opportunity here. The more I learned about tea and the specialty teas I was importing from India, the more I realized that this could one day be huge. Timing, of course, is everything.

Click Here to read BIRTH OF OPPORTUNITY: 1999-2001


After being married in 1999, Suruchi and I met with the supplier. Suruchi picked out a line of products, about 15 items that appeared in the first catalog: “Gourmet teas beautifully packaged”. I thought there would be a market for this product, so I immediately placed a small order. In 1999 I brought in two shipments of tea and began marketing it. I was marketing it through wholesale, retail, tv ads, you name it, I tried everything. In fact, I had identified so many markets for the products that it was difficult to choose the channel to pursue: gift, health, or tea. Everyone I knew got samples. From my small 200 square foot office and my first warehouse of 100 square feet, I began marketing gourmet teas beautifully packaged. I was not only the sales person, inventory manager, etc. but also the graphic designer creating my own marketing tools. I threw myself into researching the teas and learned as much as I could. I, essentially, became obsessed with tea it became my passion, my life.

1999 was both an exciting time for Tea Connexions, but also a hard time. It was a period of great excitement, but filled with fears. I sometimes used to ask myself if this was going to work? What if I don’t sell all this inventory? Am I doing the right thing?

But, I pushed on and even in the dark periods, when everything was going wrong or seemed to be going wrong, I would look up at the wall in front of my computer and read the quotation about not quitting:


When Things Go Wrong As They Sometimes Will;
When The Road You’re Trudging Seems All Uphill;
When The Funds Are Low, And The Debts Are High;
And You Want To Smile, But Have To Sigh;
When Care Is Pressing You Down A Bit- Rest If You Must, But Don’t You Quit.

Success Is Failure Turned Inside Out;
The Silver Tint Of The Clouds Of Doubt;
And You Can Never Tell How Close You Are;
It May Be Near When It Seems Afar.
So, Stick To The Fight When You’re Hardest Hit-
It’s When Things Go Wrong That You Mustn’t Quit.

So, as you can see, Tea Connexions has had very humble beginnings. Like many other huge companies like Hewlett Packard that started in a garage, Dell that started in a college dorm, and dare I say, Starbucks that started with just one store, Tea Connexions has similarly had very humble beginnings.

Click Here to read DREAM BIG.


1998 was a pivotal year for Tea Connexions, for this was the year that I met Suruchi while I was researching my own product line. After being a broker for several years I decided that I did not want to market any product that I did not physically own. So I travelled to India. It was during this trip that I looked into many product lines. Mushrooms, not the magic kind, explosives (yikes), herbal products, spices, pharmaceuticals, wall hangings, etc. I attended trade shows, met with relatives, basically did as much networking as I could. But nothing really caught my eye, with the exception of Suruchi. On a visit to my parents birth place, I met Suruchi. Well, my mind was no longer thinking about business, but how I could meet Suruchi. She looked so cute. It truly, was love at first sight. I just knew that she was my soul mate and prayed that we would be together. Well, the “someone up there” heard my prayers.

Soon after my engagement, I had to travel back to Canada. My only priority at this time, was to go back to India to see Suruchi. It was in September, 1998 that I travelled back to India. During this trip, I just happened to stop into a tea shop, and saw the most amazing packaging for teas and immediately found what I was looking for. So, as you can see, Suruchi is the reason I got into the tea business.

Click Here to read HUMBLE BEGINNINGS.


The idea of Tea Connexions began in 1998, after 4 years of being an import/export manager for other companies. From November, 1994 to December 31, 1997, Connexions Trading International Incorporated was essentially a broker. I started my company at a kitchen table in a 600 square foot apartment. At the time I paid for expenses as a caretaker, but also began selling other peoples products. I also spent much time participating in other business ventures, such as network marketing and became quite successful. However, I always longed to create something of my own.

Many people look at my father and I and think that we are very different. My father is a world renowned Pharmacologist, with worldwide patents on viral drugs. My father and mother came to North America with very few financial resources and have built a life for me and my sisters. They have worked very hard to ensure that I could pursue my dreams. Like my father who pursued the creation of drugs to help humanity, I have sought to create a company with the mission of empowering humanity. My father focused on health and well being. Similarly, my goal when I set up Tea Connexions was to aid and empower aspiring entrepreneurs to improve their financial well being through the distribution of a product that increases life and well being.

My father and I may have different educational backgrounds, my father studied science. I, however, pursued humanities and excelled. At one time I very much wanted to be a professor teaching in a history department. I wanted to create knowledge. I, however, have always felt a greater calling, a calling to create something that would live on forever. My father’s patents are perpetual, Tea Connexions, I hope, will outlast me and become a worldwide entity that will live on in perpetuity. This is my calling in life. This is what I dreamed of, the creation of an international corporation that would aid society through the sale of high quality, life giving consumables. This is my passion.

From my father and mother I have learned the values of hard work, honesty, and the value of money. My parents have been tremendous providers for me and I am eternally grateful for their sacrifice.

Like my father, I am very much looking forward to designing my life so that I can provide for my family. My dear wife, Suruchi and I often joke that we gave birth to Tea Connexions, and this is our first child. Tea Connexions is maturing, as is our second child, Shivam.

Click Here to read TEA AND LOVE.