There are two amazing women standing behind PLŪKT company – Mother Daughter team Līga (right) and Māra (left).
Līga: It definitely gives us a strong base, common goals, mix of necessary knowledge and experience and daily dose of inspiration.
Māra: To me it means that I have amazing mentors by my side who are sharing their knowledge and expertise with me. It brings more meaning to what I do because I know it is related to my family, my roots and it will last. At the same time, it is not just about our family. There are a lot of people supporting and working with PLŪKT every day and we are very grateful to have others joining us.
Is it only rainbows and butterflies?
Līga: Such cooperation has wonderful benefits in terms of trust and reliance. Going towards a common goal, there must be openness, and compromises are a big part of our day to day work.
Māra: At first it was challenging, but everything fell into the right places as soon as we talked through the responsibilities, visions and competencies. It is important to agree on where the family relationships distinct from the business – they should not be mixed. It is important to trust, and that is simple when you work with the people you know the best.
You grew up with nature in mind…
Māra: Yes, I have always felt very connected with Nature. Being an introvert, early on I realized that Nature is what I associate with freedom where there were no assumptions, expectations or opinions. I firmly believe that I’m my best self when outdoors.
My parents have always been related with Nature conservation, environmental sciences and sustainability projects. As kids we were taught to think of Nature as one of the greatest values, from there comes the mind-set of sustainable and caring actions towards the environment. Professionally it was important for me to build something sustainable and related with natural values, PLŪKT is matching perfectly!
What is PLŪKT?
Līga: PLŪKT is lifestyle, quality and sustainability.
Māra: PLŪKT is a premium specialty Nordic tea brand. We share the vision that tea can become one’s favourite ritual of the day to experience authentic moments. Our teas are hand-plucked, and the brand name PLŪKT is a word in Latvian which means Plucked in English. It is phonetically and by meaning similar to the same word in Dutch, Swedish and Danish. Also, when you take a tea bag and place it in a cup full of hot water, it makes little splash and a sound of “PLŪKT!”.
What is your story?
Māra: it began during our visit in China where we first encountered the Asian tea culture. Since Līga has science-based knowledge of herbs and up to 20 years of experience in the field, and I, on the other hand, was looking for a business venture, we thought there is no such thing as Nordic tea culture. We could be the pioneers and bring high added value to the tea industry by introducing the world with herbal teas from the meadows and forests of Northern Europe. We came back and started to develop the idea of PLŪKT teas.
Tea is a popular drink?
Līga: It is in human nature to discover new things, take care of our own well-being and stream towards joy. One can experience all of that in one cup of tea!
Māra: it is statistically proved that tea is the 2nd most popular beverage after water. Here in Northern Europe we see that demand for tea has been growing rapidly due to consumers looking for healthier, organic and natural products. When we raise awareness of the major benefits that having a regular tea time can have, people do drink tea more.
PLŪKT brings so much innovation to a traditional tea industry. How is it possible?
Māra: Out of curiosity. We create sustainable, innovative and science-based products. We want our customers to have the best solutions that could enrich their teatime experience. It makes it all so much more interesting. We don’t think there is anything to do with how traditional the industry is, it is more about what we want our brand to represent. We have invented unique alternative green and black caffeine-free teas, and we are Nr. 1 company in Northern Europe to offer biodegradable tea bags.
How did you go from local to global?
Māra: We began with the most valuable asset that a young entrepreneur has at the start – contacts and support from peers. I reached out to my course mates from universities in Sweden, Austria and China to share PLŪKT idea with them. They connected me with local business centres, cafes, independent retail stores in their areas. At the same time, we were actively taking part in trade missions, conferences, corporate events where we could introduce international audience with the idea of PLŪKT. When the products were ready, we already had a fine list of prospects.
You give a tea masterclass; what people can learn there?
Līga: During the masterclass, an actual tea ceremony takes place. We show how to brew a perfect cup of tea, have tea tasting, and feel the power of tea colours, flavours and taste.
Māra: By launching tea masterclasses this June, we aim to encourage customers to explore Northern European herbal tea at their best and embrace this tea culture.
You call yourselves Nordic tea pioneers…
Besides being premium herbal tea producers, we also aim to be the ones who raise awareness of Nordic herbal tea industry. We aspire to create Nordic tea culture, because we truly believe there is a real beauty, value and benefit in each and every herb found in our wild fields.
PLŪKT teas are produced in the same area where they are plucked...
Līga: Our region is rich in diverse natural resources, protected natural areas and high quality living environments. Our people are smart, creative and hardworking. Today you can reach any place in the world from anywhere. All of this gives us wonderful business opportunities.
Māra: For our factory purposes, we chose to renovate a destroyed building which used to be a culture house in the town of Prauliena. We were also very emotionally connected with this place because my grandfather Rūdolfs Baltaisvilks was a director and used to present plays on the stage of this former culture house. And my grandmother – writer Ilze Indrāne – used to write plays for these events. Today, we welcome tea enthusiasts to join our Nordic masterclasses on the same stage.
What are PLŪKT tea benefits?
Līga: PLŪKT teas are hand-picked in 100% natural, certified-organic, meadows and forests. Our tea is dried with sun and wind energy, we have preserved the natural size of each herb, as well it is fully GMO-free and caffeine-free tea. We provide sustainable manufacturing from A to Z and all of our packaging can be reused and recycled. Every herb had its power and positive impact on one’s well-being. We do everything to preserve the diversity of plants in our environment.
Māra: One can benefit also from our authentic packaging design. We handpick wild herbs from our meadows and forests and implement a real life herbarium in our product packaging design. It gives an opportunity to get to know various Nordic herbs and to create a collection of herbs at home. Customers are usually surprised by the beauty and nuances of each and every herb. PLŪKT packaging also allows to discover the exact place of origin of the tea, as Each PLŪKT tea reflects the real Latvian landscapes.
One of PLŪKT core values is sustainability, care for nature and society.
We didn’t want to make “another product” in the world, there are plenty of them already. It was important that what we do is meaningful and doesn’t do any harm to nature and health. With PLŪKT teas one celebrates the biodiversity of nature and ability to finally have a natural tea in a natural and sustainable way (like the way it should be with all foods and beverages). Also, we wanted to leave a positive impact in society. One way we fulfil this is by involving local farmers and owners of certified-organic fields into our supply chain. It allows it to be part of something international as well as gives additional income to the farmers.
There are loads of women out there willing to start their own business, what you could suggest to them?
Līga: Evaluate your idea carefully, create a business plan to make sure that the idea is viable, and take action. It is important to make the decision and act to that. The world belongs to the brave!
Māra: I would suggest to have faith in yourself and by all means dream big! Some days it’s just really helpful to act like no one is telling you “No”. Most importantly, it is amazing to be part of a community of female entrepreneurs – to lift each other up and shine together.
Working on PLŪKT is joyful, enthusiastic and fulfilling. We feel happy, and most importantly our products bring beautiful experiences to our customers. That is the real measure on whether we have succeeded in that.
Our goal is to become the Nr. 1 Northern Tea brand in the World, and soon to enter the South Korea and Scandinavian market. This summer we will launch Sparkling edition of PLŪKT tea – stay tuned!