Adam Torres and Jeff McClelland and Joe Garza discuss Humanitea.
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Humanitea has launched a campaign on StartEngine. In this episode, Adam Torres interviewed Jeff McClelland, CEO of Humanitea and Joe Garza, Chief Sales Officer of Humanitea. Explore the inspiration behind Humanitea, how it all started and what motivated Jeff and his team to create a brand centered around a mindful tea experience.
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Experience a world of unique iced tea flavors that transcend the ordinary. Their commitment to quality, sustainability, and community impact sets us apart. Every sip is a testament to their dedication to excellence and positive change.
The HUMANITEA Co. is a socially conscious company that is dedicated to doing the right thing. They believe that humanity’s greatest attribute is its power of unity and compassion which is why HUMANITEA® Co. is committed to supporting both nonprofit and community events that help to uplift and bring humanity together.
About Jeff Mclelland
Jeff is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of building brands in the beverage industry from national/international store brands and brands we own. Skilled in Negotiation, Business Planning, Consumer Products, Manufacturing, Sales, Distribution, Innovation, and Team Building. Strong business development and managing professional graduated from University of Oregon.
About Joe Garza
Joe is an accomplished beverage brand builder with proven success with start-up and established companies. His strengths are building relationships, selling new distribution, and building and leading teams. Strong Influencing skills, strategic thinking with ability to prioritize.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres, and if you’d like to apply to be a guest in the show, just head on over to missionmatters. com and click on the apply button. All right. So today is going to be a fun episode. I’m telling you, I have this drink in my hand for our listeners at home.
Humanity, I’m holding up the, the bottle, the big shout out to the team that sent me a, that, that dropped off a couple of cases so I could start my, Taste testing extravaganza. So first off we have Jeff on the line, Jeff McClellan, who is the CEO over at humanity and Joe Garza, who is the chief sales officer of humanity.
And by the way, the logo is all capital letters. I think I, I see a little bit of error here on the, we got some lower case there, but it’s all capital letters, humanity. So, Hey guys, first off, just want to say welcome to the show.
for having. So we got, we got a lot to cover here. First off what we’re going to start this episode, the way that we start them all with what we like to call our mission matters minute. So what we do here at mission matters is we amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and brands. We want to make sure that their mission gets out to, and their, their message gets out to the masses.
That’s what we do. What’s the mission of humanity. What do you do? That’s a great one. Humanity. We are a premium tea company. That’s committed ingredient quality ingredients and giving back from partnerships with our two nonprofits to community events. We are all about great tea with a great cause.
Yeah. To add to that is Joe and I, in our, our team we decided to put together a brand and, and called humanity. We’ve been in the industry, the beverage industry in all different parts of it. And we put together this team to. Build a brand that we could create some delicious, innovative beverages at a premium, healthy level.
The same time is give back or kind of like pay it forward to our world that is needed it was with, you know, mission matters, similar to what your show, we want to, we want to create good profits. enjoyable beverages, but the same time is, is really help the people that really need help and really pay it forward.
That’s what humanity is all about. That’s great. Love bringing mission based individuals and brands on the line to share what they do. So, Hey Jeff, so this one’s for you. You’ve been in this space for a long time, right? Food and beverage in general. Like, tell us a little bit more about like what, what, how this concept came about and maybe some of your background in food and beverage.
Oh, it was break it up a little bit there. Yeah been in the The beverage industry for 30 years now. This. 2024 marks 30 years. And the background been doing a lot of different innovative you know, beverages from bottled water when it first came out, became a product in the early nineties to energy drinks.
I have extensive background of operations and, and running manufacturing. plans and, and then private label and, and you know, so we have touched a lot of different parts of the beverage industry. But you know, I’ve always personally wanted to put together a brand where we.
You know, go and sell and build a brand, but same time is, is given back. And I have three children that been watching me be an entrepreneur for the last two, two, three decades. And I wanted personally to show them that building business, businesses in, in the beverage industry, it’s not all about.
just profit. It is paying it forward. And my kids, I’m trying to show them example that you know, an entrepreneur can build something good for for the beverage industry and the customers. But same time is to touch other lives. And and I think this humanity has been a great vehicle so far for my personal goals in, in being a family man.
So Jeff, tell me, tell me how the original idea or the concept for tea, cause as you mentioned, you’ve been in different spaces. Like what drew you to the tea to the tea sector? The tea is, well it’s, it is the number one beverage consumption in the world is team extra water, of course. And, and
one thing we do in the research before we decided to create humanity is that we found out that today’s. U. S. Millennials. It’s 87 percent of U. S. Millennials drink tea. And that, you know, tea bags ready to drink and stuff. So the category is so wide open. Secondly, Being in the industry for, you know, three decades, we could see that the category of tea was starting to get stagnant.
Wasn’t getting that innovative that you would see in, in other categories, energy drinks and stuff. So when we put together a team, Joe, Lance and I, we decided that tea was the place that had a lot of room for growth and innovation. And and then put on top of it is you have the millennials, 87 percent consuming them.
And then the Gen Z’s are right behind that drinking the bobas, kibuchas, the teas. So it’s, and then on top of it, the product tea is in general. you know, premium tea is good for you. So we want a healthy product, which is very trendy. And, you know, today it health conscious beverages. So we want to you know, build a, a great quality product that’s good for you and that has a lot of growth potential.
So that’s why we chose tea. Hmm. Hey, Joe. So I want to get you involved over here. So I’m right now I’ve been drinking and I got a couple of cases here and I’ve been working my way through wild berry and lime hibiscus tea which is amazing. So Joe, you’re, as you know, on the sales side of things, you’re obviously working on distribution, your team, and otherwise, like tell us a little bit more about, about the flavors and really just the market response to this, to this product.
Sure. Sure. So we have seven amazing flavors. The wild berry lime hibiscus is, you know, my favorite, Jess favorite. That happens to be our number two seller. You know, when we started off, when we launched humanity, we wanted to ensure that we had quality. Ingredients. Of course, right. We’re all about premium, but we wanted to have a, a, a flavor profile that wasn’t like any other brand out there within the tea category.
So I’m a coffee drinker. You know, I go into Starbucks more than I probably should. And what I noticed is that, you know, a lot of consumers were instead of buying hot coffee or cold coffee, they were buying premium teas. So So I would sit back being the beverage nerd that I am, and I would just watch what people were ordering.
And I started to do this more and more, and realized that people were paying 5, 6, 7 dollars for a tea. But they were ordering the passion fruits, and the mongols, and the hibiscus, and the wild berries. So I went back to the office and told Jeff, Let’s look at the data. Let’s create flavors that go with black tea and green tea that people are ordering when they go out to a tea shop.
So we put together seven amazing flavors. Wildberry lime hibiscus, passion fruit kiwi green tea. We have a mongo melon black tea. Oh my gosh. We have a Roy Bose, you know, peach, vanilla. Come on, man. You’re making me thirsty. I haven’t opened up the other, I haven’t opened up the other ones yet. I’m over here.
Hold on, buddy. You’re going to love them all. And then of course we have an unsweetened black tea that, you know, that everybody enjoys. And then we have one non tea, I call it a vacation in a bottle. I tease people that when they crack it open, they’ll know why I call it vacation in a bottle coconut lemonade, and it reminds me of, you know, being on a beach in Hawaii or Costa Rica and it’s just amazing.
So, so what we do is unique to the category, but it’s just unique, unique in that it’s, it’s gives that, that, that feeling that you’ve. something premium and you’re going to want to come back for more. So quality product. Joe, talk to me, Joe, talk to me a little bit about, about Oh, so you want to say something there, Jeff?
Oh, I just wanted to add that. What Joe is saying is the flavor. It is very important to us. So the flavor profile for, you know, the, in the past years before humanity, we have innovated different kinds of products and it just didn’t have that taste and to get that loyal customer taste is very important to us.
So our flavors that we picked, it’s gotta be experienced. When our customers drink it, they have to want to come back. Really enjoy that taste. So that is first and foremost. And then the premium ingredients behind it. Talk, talk to me a bit about either or Jeff or Joe talk to me about the, about the distribution side of things and like where people can find, can find humanity.
Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, as a small company, you know, we’re very strategic as a sales guy. I want to be everywhere. Yesterday, right? But you know, we’re, we’re very strategic in regards to how we approach the marketplace. So you can buy humanity online, go to our website. We offer shipping, you can order any one of our flavors.
That’s number one. And number two, based on where you live, you know, you can find us in the seven 11, an extra mile, a convenience store. If you’re in the Midwest Meyer. You can find us in about 130 colleges across the country and then and also in you know, some natural and organic grocery chains.
All in all, we’re in about 35 to 4, 000 locations which is. pretty nice for, for, you know, being as young as we are, but we’re hoping to grow our distribution and from a distribution, you know, standpoint, we have some of the best distribution partners in the industry. We have K he who’s a national distributor.
We have UNFI. Cormark, McLean, and then some really amazing DSD distributors that are, you know, regional. So you know, we’re well on our way to securing the best distribution network possible. So Jeff speaking of distribution, Jeff I’m curious under how you like your plans for the company for the future.
Like as you scale this, as you mentioned, the T T market huge other than water, right? That’s what people drink. In terms of the marketplace, like what is the investment side of things look like this? Or like, tell us about a little bit about the plans to scale. Yeah. The plan scale is, well, we always want to be on top of innovation.
So, you know, coming up with new flavors and when we’re looking at possibly new packaging as well and maybe add in some carbonated drinks. So there’s a lot of different ways we’re looking to innovate and, and to build. You know, the first five years, we can’t be everything for everybody, but we do want a portfolio that does have a wide base from, from low sugar to mid sugar to, to full body and, and to Unsweetened.
And then like just, just a couple of months ago, we just launched our two new products that Robios tea is from South America is I mean, South Africa, excuse me. And it’s a red tea and it’s really good for anti Flammatory and antibiotics and stuff that is good for the tea, as well as we have chamomile that’s from Egypt and they’re low calorie and the, the flares we use is just phenomenal.
So, it’s just scaling is a lot of innovation and packaging. And then of course, what Joe was talking about, our distribution is really important, who we partner with, how we get it out there and reach and to the. To the busy regions that we want to serve. And you’re also working with StartEngine now.
Tell us a little bit more about that and what’s taking place there. Yeah, right now we are on the second month of raising funds at StartEngine. It’s just so we can scale to the next level and, and build up our team. And you can go to startengine. com forward slash humanity. H U M A N I T E A. And you can participate and be a family member of Humanity.
And we’re, we’re offering some shares for, for investment and as we grow. And there’s a lot of perks in there for you to participate and, and be part of our team. Again, we’re helping to two big fundraisers right now are humanitarian nonprofits. One is for its foster love and that is helping kids in the foster system.
Foster care system. Foster love is a nonprofit organization that helps kids from infant age all the way up through college. And then our second partner, they’re both national, it’s American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and they are help. Suicide prevention, which is a huge epidemic and both of them are very passionate to, to us at humanity is really why we, we started this company because we want to help you know, people in need and we pick these two topics.
They are, you know, sometimes difficult to talk about, but they’re real. They’re so real to us and to, to everybody out there. So we want to be part of this. Helping and assisting. So every, every sip that people that we still out there helps grow money to those great admissions. Yeah, I think I think it’s a great story, and that’s one of the reasons why I was happy to bring you both on the show to talk about humanity and the mission behind it.
That being said if by the way, for everybody listening, we’ll put the links to the start engine page and all that good stuff down below. So if you’re watching this live, I know that says, according to what I’ve seen before we started this 20 days left, and we’re going to put this on the podcast in a couple of days.
So you still have some time there to participate. Great. Bye. But that being said Jeff, Joe, we’re in we’re in 2024, now we’re in January. Last question, both of you, whoever wants to go first, completely up to you, how would you characterize you know, a successful 2024 for humanity? Like, what would a good year look like?
Yeah, that’s a big one. My gosh. Well, I let me answer this one. A successful year would be, you know, getting into 10, 000 accounts having 10 to 12 flavors being able to, support, you know, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Foster Love with more money, the more money, the more resources, the more help they can provide doubling our sales force would be a success.
And quite honestly, I think just expanding the overall brand awareness of humanity. There’s a lot of upside to humanity and like Jeff had mentioned, we’ve got some great ideas, things that we want to do. We just need the capital to do it, but coming to a store near you, watch out for humanity, pick up two, three, or four and enjoy, enjoy the tea.
All right. Thanks, Joe. Jeff, what would it look like to you? Successful 2024. Well Joe mentioned every topic I wanted to say, so I would say just add to it is that definitely we want more and more people to know about humanity. And for all you listeners out there, if I haven’t met one person yet, and we’ve been at this for two and a half years and trade shows and everything I haven’t met.
Met one person yet to that taste our product and said they didn’t like the taste. So I put you to the challenge, go to our website, www. drinkhumanity. com and order a case and, and have it delivered. Taste it and tell us what you think. Cause I, I guarantee, and I know Joe will guarantee you will enjoy it.
It will be the best tasting tea out there. And then when you wrap it in together, that we’re helping people at the end of the day. that really need our help. And then we’re going to branch out in 2024. We’re going to look also at regional missions too. So we’ve been helping some homeless organizations in LA.
So we’re, we’re looking to branch out. We have two major ones, companies, partners we’re working with, but we want to get regional too. So humanity follows a lot of different missions in a humanitarian way. And We really want to make a difference, but we want you to enjoy the beverage at same time. So join our family, taste our product, get involved.
We guarantee you will enjoy it. Fantastic. And I think that’s a great way to, a great way to call it. So definitely we’ll put go check out that website, order a case, order two. I got cases lined up over here. I’m drinking it over here. Come on, order some more. And and if you haven’t, by the way, if you’re watching this for the first time and you haven’t hit that subscribe button, don’t forget to do that.
All right. That subscribe button’s not going to bite, get it done. We got more people coming up on the line and we don’t want you to miss a thing. Jeff, Joe. Hey, thanks guys again for making some time. And and we’re, we’re big fans of humanity over here. Thank you. Thank you, Adam.