[caption id="attachment_40107" align="alignright" width="315" caption="Robert L. Stokes III, founder of Mood Bender Tea"][/caption]
NAPA -- Mood Bender Tea, Inc., a startup with a vision to create a market for a new line of unique hybrid tea beverages freshly brewed in the Bay Area, is moving from an office at 201 Spear Street in San Francisco to a new location in Napa that will become the firm’s headquarters and bottling plant.
The new facility, at 901 Enterprise Way, Suite C, in Napa, has 2,300 square feet of space, enough to house bottling equipment purchased in Southern California and being shipped to this site.
The four-employee company was founded a year ago as an "S" Corporation and has been selling products for only a few months.
"Until now, our tea has been bottled ... in Watsonville, but now we will own and operate our own manufacturing line," said Robert L. Stokes III, president and founder of Mood Bender Tea, Inc. "A construction crew is remodeling the space now, and we should be up and running in the next 45 days. Meanwhile, we will continue to sell our products still in inventory."
The company has already acquired a group of retailers to beta test its products, including Andy’s Market, Bianchini Deli and Club One in Petaluma, Farmers Market Bistro in Oakland and Juju’s Mediterranean Kitchen in Napa, along with a strong and growing following among yoga communities in the North Bay. Mood Bender Teas can also be found in the Golden Bear and Parkview Markets in San Francisco.
"We will be outsourcing our marketing and sales functions in order to approach major distributors, allowing us to focus on our core production and internal operations. Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, after water, and is the dominant drink in India, China and Japan. Our goal is to make Napa known for another beverage in addition to wine."
According to Mr. Stokes, tea has the ability to change moods. As a result, he named the first tea beverage "Alert and Awake," a drink that accomplishes this without caffeine. The product line also includes teas with names like "Peace and Calm" along with "Male" and "Female" formulas designed to stimulate testosterone production to enhance sports performance. The company’s list of hybrid tea blends uses natural, 100 percent organic ingredients ethically harvested and sweetened with agave nectar.
To order online and to see a list of herbal supplements in each tea, go to www.moodbendertea.com and click on "active ingredients."
"Our goal is to follow the growth pattern established by the vitamin water market in rolling out our products," Mr. Stokes said.
He claims to be the architect of a concept called symbiotic commerce.
"We want our firm to be 30 percent community owned," he said. "Each time a customer buys a six-pack online they get a share of the business. If they buy a 12-pack, they get three shares. We also want to avoid the trend of other firms that typically spend 40 percent to 50 percent percent of revenue for marketing. We won’t do that. Our customers are already our ambassadors doing viral sales for us, and distributors will do the rest."
Looking to the future, Mood Blender Tea has already applied to the Oakland Airport for permission to place hot and cold tea kiosks in the terminal for passengers who wish to alleviate preflight anxiety or just enjoy a relaxing beverage before takeoff.