Zoe Smith

Some of Grenada’s finest herbal tea blends are set to make their way into the hands of health-conscious consumers in the US and UK thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The initiative, the brainchild of St Patrick-based company Bud & Root, will see the launch of a subscription service which will deliver teas including passionflower and black sage directly to consumers overseas on a monthly basis.

“It seemed only a matter of time before we’d see these ingredients prettily packaged on the shelves of Whole Foods for somebody else’s gain, so we thought we should get there first and do it in a way that benefits the small guys,” said Zoe Smith, the company’s founder.

Their hero product, a loose-leaf blend dubbed “cacao tea” has been stocked at the Calabash Hotel and the House of Chocolate since last year, but now the company is keen to expand opportunities for small farmers in the north of the island by adding traditional herbal teas to their offering.

“What some may dismiss as bush teas here are the exact same products that wellness junkies, hip to the benefits of superfoods, adaptogens and phytonutrients, are clamouring to get their hands on overseas,” said Smith who holds both UK and Grenadian citizenship.

Bud & Root turned to crowdfunding to test demand for its new herbal tea offering but, in the process, went on to win financial backing from NatWest, one of the UK’s top high street banks, as part of an initiative to encourage more women into entrepreneurship.

The former journalist is no stranger to e-commerce. Smith began her career in 2004 working in Milan for the world’s leading online luxury fashion retailer, Yoox-Net-a-Porter, and strongly advocates for entrepreneurs with a Caribbean connection to make the most of technology.

“Access to the internet massively lowers the barrier to entry so there’s little excuse for those of us within the diaspora with access to networks of wealth and influence not to use our relative privilege to influence positive social and economic change back home.”

Smith, who is also a fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, said that she is confident that the growing global wellness market is one that can be exploited to the benefit of small-scale farmers. She already has her eye on other value-added goods that can be grown and processed on the island.

A limited number of Bud & Root’s herbal tea subscription packages are exclusively available at https://natwestbackherbusiness.co.uk/bud-and-root until 23.59 on 23 June 2019.

(Originally posted on nowgrenada.com)