If we haven’t had a chance to speak let me introduce myself. My name is Andrew Flocks and I, along with my brother Nicholas, started Simple Loose Leaf in 2014. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some things going on at Simple Loose Leaf these days.
The most important thing that’s happened at Simple Loose Leaf recently is that we have grown our “tea family” in a big way. Back in August of 2016 we started a partnership with a local company named Bost.
Bost’s Mission: “People empowering people with disabilities, and their families, to achieve greater independence by providing lifelong choices, support and learning opportunities.”
Among many other things,
Bost is what’s called a sheltered workplace. They provide employment opportunities to members of our community that have developmental disabilities.
In August of 2016 Bost started handling the “kitting” and shipping for Simple Loose Leaf’s monthly tea subscription box. Meaning they would take the boxes we order from a local company, fold them into their proper shape and fill them with the teas we send our awesome customers every month. From when we first started working with Bost to today, we have grown over 400%.
With this work, we help to provide work for 15 people that might otherwise not have work. And I’m not being metaphorical or dramatic, Bost has historically worked with local manufactures to assemble kits of small items. These kits might have ranged from counting out a certain number of screws or artificial fishing worms to attaching a few springs to a brake assembly and boxing it up to be shipped to a major car manufacturer. But as more and more big companies either bring that work in house with automation or outsource it overseas, Bost has had fewer opportunities to offer people work in their vocational program.
Then, as we geared up for the Christmas Season we knew we’d need help keeping up with all our new customers. We decided to reach back out to Bost to see if they had the skills and facilities to handle our tea packaging. We all sat down and put together a plan that would handle our packaging needs and put an additional 4-6 people to work on our project.
Fast forward to the February Tea Box, the first box with the tea packaged, box kitted, and shipped completely by Bost. We could not be happier with how the first month turned out. There are other options out there for other companies to handle the kind of work Bost does but, honestly, none of them can offer us what Bost does. With today’s business climate it is so often forgotten that entrepreneurship is about delivering value to your community. We count the “community” we can provide value to as not just our awesome customers but also the families in the Western Arkansas area.
At the end of the day, remember that behind every box of tea from Simple Loose Leaf you’ll find 2 brothers, 20 extended family members at Bost, and a community of thousands of tea lovers and their families.
Together we are mighty and we are improving the world around us.
We at Simple Loose Leaf hope your start to 2017 was amazing and that the rest of the year brings us all everything we need most.
Andrew and Nicholas Flocks