Class project seeps into small business for young entrepreneur
Lindsey Liesenfelt’s faux business dripped down into reality after her upper-level marketing class project put the tea leaves into place.
“It started at Indiana University Northwest. We had to create a faux business that would thrive in the Northwest Indiana area,” Lindsey said. “The reason I picked tea was because it has always been a big part of my life, and something I shared with my family. Teavana was also going out of business during this time, and I found that it would be the perfect opportunity to use tea as my marketing plan.”
Lindsey went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Human Resources, work full time in HR and then transitioned into part time to run Truly Teas with her husband, Sean.
Now, four years after its launch you can find Truly Teas and the husband-and-wife duo at markets and special events around Northwest Indiana while the tea is brewed up at restaurants around the region, including Minority-Owned Business honoree J’s Breakfast Club.
Truly’s online shop includes all loose teas in seasonal flavors as well as standard offerings, such as Chai, Earl Grey, Green and fruit-based blends. Truly teamed with Hometown Happenings in Crown Point on a giveback tea flavor: Hometown Hero Mango Peach. Proceeds from this tea go to a chosen nonprofit each month.
“I wanted to create a business that goes beyond corporate standards. I wanted to carry and create a product that I would feel good about serving to my family and friends,” Lindsey said. “Creating a business that’s environmentally friendly, USDA Organic, and Fair Trade Certified. It needed to be a product that people feel good about purchasing and consuming.”
Lindsey learned about the challenges of the entrepreneurial world when a cease-and-desist order came down from Truly Hard Seltzer for Truly Teas old logo, which was in place first but not trademarked. Working with patent lawyers, she has learned about trademarking and running a business.
“Being an entrepreneur is challenging and rewarding at the same time. I’ve worked a handful of jobs and by far I’ve learned the most with Truly Teas,” she said. “By owning your own small business, you have the opportunity to have creative and lifestyle freedom as well as an independence that other occupations don’t provide.
“I truly enjoy the experience of learning and overcoming roadblocks. Being an entrepreneur has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I don’t just enjoy what I do, I love it.”