Expanding: stores in Canada, France and Netherlands joins PLŪKT stockists in 2021

PLŪKT Premium Nordic teas are now available in thirteen countries around the world. Main export market is USA, and recent members of the stockists are retailers from Canada, France and Netherlands. We share with you our export story of which we are very proud of!

Asia. The beginning

We began to export Nordic teas even before we had a brand, product design and packaging. It was in 2017 when we approached tea masters in Asia and offered our loose teas to restaurants and tea-shops in this traditional tea market. That was the first time when World was introduced to our alternative of traditional black tea – Nordic Black tea. It is certified-organic, caffeine un chemicals free fermented Fireweed hand-picked from wild meadows and forests of Northern Europe. After introducing PLŪKT to Asia, we chose three products to export and started eight-month long proactive search of retailers, distributors, restaurants and hotels in Western Europe, Asia and USA. Today we export more than 50% of our teas.

How did you choose export markets?

We started with Singapore and Australia. We used the most important resources that we had to find the right partners there – our own contacts. Owner of PLŪKT Māra Lieplapa has been studying in Sweden, Austria and she took part in training in China, which provided a vast list of good personal contacts for starting the business. Five tea-shops in Singapore and Australia chose PLŪKT teas, so it was a promising start for our tea brand idea and also trust mark for other retailers around the world to cooperate with us.

Was it difficult to enter export markets?

Finding partners in certain export markets was easier than launching our product in our home country Latvia. It is because clients in export markets were more open to exclusive, new, unusual teas which invited to experiment. That is exactly what PLŪKT offered! The most difficult part in entering export markets was to adjust oneself to different consumer needs – we invested very much of our time in proper research and communication. The good thing is that when your product is being noticed in the particular market the Snowball effect begins. New and new retailers and distributors reach out to you and brand new collaborations begin. Then the key to success is quick response, flexibility, preparation of custom made offers and genuine interest about the customer needs in the particular market.

Which are your export markets at the moment? Germany, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Lithuania, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France, USA, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Estonia. Due to pandemic our exports to Singapore has been paused for a while, but until then we cooperated tightly with Singaporean tea masters.

Why you have chosen exactly these export markets? Customers there appreciate products with high added value. They value sustainability, people and environment-friendly products with sophisticated design. They welcome quality and our brand story with open arms, because they know people standing and working behind PLŪKT and our standards.

From 2020 your teas are available in Republic of South Africa, how is it going there?

Premium tea distributor from South Africa proactively approached us. Our partnership is just starting to bloom, but we see that there is a great interest about herbal teas from Northern Europe. We know for sure that here much of a work has to be done in communication – educating consumers about Northern herbs and teas, since they are something very new to them. We hope that we will succeed in gaining consumer trust and willingness to experiment with new products.

What’s next?

We work hard to get into Scandinavia. It is not easy as they have their own very strong tea brands, but not unrealistic. South Korea is also really appealing market, as their tea industry is very much open to non-traditional tea brands.

In your opinion, which are the best export markets for Latvian companies?

It depends on the industry, obviously, but for us the most attractive market at the moment is USA. Our clients there are really open to innovation, green innovation, healthy and organic products.