s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe

Marci Furutani

AGE:34

Minister of Brand Engagement (marketing director)

The Republic of Tea

5 Hamilton Landing # 100, Novato, 94949

415.382.3400

www.republicoftea.com

Marci Furutani of Novato’s The Republic of Tea wins an 11th annual Forty Under 40 award from North Bay Business Journal.

Responsibilities with your company: Six years ago, I started at The Republic of Tea right after obtaining my MBA managing our direct to consumer business. Our team transformed this channel from one primarily based on direct mail to a comprehensive web business that encompassed all digital channels. Growing and developing the DTC channel allowed The Republic of Tea to connect with its citizens in new and innovative ways. Our team contributed year over year double digit growth for the four years I led this channel.

Two years ago, I was promoted to serve as the Minister of Brand Engagement (marketing director). I lead the team that conducts market research, data analysis and then executes on our new tea launches. This 360 degree approach has led to very successful innovations that have over achieved our launch projections. Most importantly, our team continues to find meaningful ways to engage with our citizens (customers) whether through social media, direct mail or content driven marketing explaining the health benefits of our teas. We strive to help citizens live a sip by sip rather than gulp by gulp lifestyle and enrich their lives through premium tea, education and innovation.

In 25 words or less, how do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty under 40 professional?

“I am a leader, authentic and empathetic. I motivate and provide purpose. I listen, ask questions, collaborate and mentor. I am passionate, enthusiastic and driven.”

Years with company: 6

Length of time in current position: 2 years

Number of employees who report to you: 5

Greatest professional accomplishment: Taking over leadership of a well-established 25-year-old premium specialty food brand at 33 and delivering on our mission to enrich our citizens lives through premium tea, education and innovation. Enriching our citizens’ lives is central to all marketing we do at The Republic of Tea. Our SuperGreen Tea collection launched in May 2015 did just that! We took Matcha which is becoming ubiquitous in the marketplace and took it to the next level. We artfully blended it with green tea leaves and functional herbs to create four flavorful premium teas that contributes to a healthy lifestyle by boosting the immune system, improving cognitive function, and aiding in relaxation and weight loss. This collection represented the first new tea collection launch I saw through to completion under my leadership as Minister of Brand Engagement. It represents all of my marketing and leadership talents and over delivered by more than doubling our initial launch projections. In addition, this week we launched our new SuperHerbs for Women collection, taking ancient herbs like Sage (for hot flashes), Fenugreek (for nursing moms) and Red Raspberry Leaf (for women’s health) that women have relied on for centuries, particularly through major life cycles, and blended them with fruits and spices in delicious blends. These teas are designed to meet the real needs our citizens are facing and aid them in natural way. In essence, the new innovations I spearheaded like our SuperGreen and SuperHerb for Women collections, enrich the lives of our citizens nationwide and in our backyard, the north bay. “

Greatest professional challenge: My greatest challenge as a marketer is one that is universal and is at the foundation of what I do every day. It is truly understanding our citizen/customer and what her needs and wants are. The advent of ever changing technologies and the world adds a complexity to this challenge, but the dynamic nature of marketing is what I love. My strategy to overcoming this challenge, ask the right questions!

Marci Furutani

AGE:34

Minister of Brand Engagement (marketing director)

The Republic of Tea

5 Hamilton Landing # 100, Novato, 94949

415.382.3400

www.republicoftea.com

Best advice received: The important things are always simple. The simple things are always hard. And the easy path is always mined.

Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: The successful launch of our SuperGreen tea collection which has more than doubled our initial launch projections.

What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?

“Whether it be a good or bad economy, sustaining your organization and morale is about people. As a member of The Republic of Tea’s strategic planning committee this is something we do day in and day out. Our motto, enriching people’s lives through premium tea, education and innovation not only applies to our citizens/customers but also our ministers/employees. We truly seek to listen to our Ministers and understand them. Additionally, work life balance is a company value and we offer Ministers a Healthy Minister program, where we have nutritionists and fitness experts give talks and go on healthy minister walks as an office. Lastly, we offer Ministers two Make a Difference or volunteer days annually. I take mine volunteering with Big Brothers, Big Sisters where I spend time with my Little Sister, Ari who I have been matched with for the last four and a half years

Next professional goal: Keep The Republic of Tea the leading purveyor of premium tea by enriching new citizens/customers lives and introducing them to The Republic of Tea and helping guide the modern tea revolution while also finding new and innovative ways for a larger brand presence.

Education: MBA, Washington University in St. Louis bachelor of arts economics and international Studies, University of Washington

Hometown: “Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii”

Mentor/admired businessperson: Ron Rubin for his entrepreneurial spirit and his contributions in revolutionizing the tea industry. Todd Rubin for his leadership in making a multi-generational family run company succession a success.

Typical day at the office: Is there a typical day? My days are dynamic and anything from strategizing on the future brand direction of The Republic of Tea, to collaborating with cross functional teams in finance, operations, creative and human resources, to coaching and developing our Ministers/employees. The one constant is a cuppa tea.

Best place to work outside of your office: A company tea trip to one of our tea growing origins. My last trip was to our matcha plantations in Uji, Japan.

Hobbies: Training for marathons, snowboarding in Tahoe, cooking for the family

What you wanted to be when you grew up: I wanted to be the United States ambassador to China. Although I am ethnically Japanese, I spent six years and thousands of hours learning how to understand, speak and write Mandarin.

#1 thing you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40: I will have liked to have successfully mentored the other females at The Republic of Tea in not only growing their skills and responsibilities, but also have been a good role model and someone they can look up to as an empowered working mom.

First job: Shelving books at the local community library throughout high school. It was very tedious and quite laborious, but taught me dedication and good work ethic.

Favorite book: “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein

Favorite movie: Shawshank Redemption. I even followed Andy and Red to Zihuatenejo, Mexico for my babymoon.

Favorite after-work drink: A glass of sauvignon blanc from Napa or Sonoma counties

Last vacation: Lihue, Kauai, my hometown, to visit friends and family.

What does your mom or dad brag most about you?

“My parents talk a lot about my mental fortitude and how if I put my mind to something, I will succeed.”