There’s a new subscription service that will send unique loose leaf teas to your door every month, and it happens to be based right here in Fayetteville.
Simple Loose Leaf is a project by brothers Andrew and Nicholas Flocks, who started the company last year simply because they wanted it to exist.
Andrew, who had the original idea for the company, is a lifelong lover of black tea, and Nicholas is a fan of lightly scented green tees. The brothers recently became interested in learning about and sampling different varieties of teas, and like craft beer drinkers or connoisseurs of fine wines, the more they tried, the thirstier they got for more.
And since we live in the days of Birchbox, Blue Apron, and Dollar Shave Club, they immediately began looking for a subscription service to help them indulge in their tea habit. When they didn’t find what they were looking for, they decided to start Simple Loose Leaf.
Simple Loose Leaf is a subscription service that consumers can sign up for to receive a monthly delivery of loose leaf teas. Their subscription boxes currently include four different teas that range from traditional green teas and black teas, to seasonal teas, and others. Andrew said that they plan to send around 40 different teas to their subscribers, with only a few staples like black teas and Earl Grays that will repeat.
The first box includes a silicone and stainless steel tea strainer for brewing tea in single cups up to small tea pots. After that, unbleached linen filter pouches are included in the boxes to be used as tea filters. Each of the teas comes in a resealable pouch and includes 10 grams of tea (enough to brew a few cups of tea).
Subscriptions are $9 per month, or a little less if you commit to a year of deliveries, and they also offer gift subscriptions.
The company has been sending their subscription boxes since May 2016, but has picked up steam rapidly. Last month, they were featured in a Buzzfeed post titled “19 Subscription Boxes For People Who Need Help Adulting” and they also got a recent mention in an Entrepreneur.com article.
“Our subscriptions have grown incredibly well recently,” Andrew told us. “We had around 200 subscribers in May, and we just shipped over 1,600 boxes last week.”
Recently, Simple Loose Leaf began working with Bost, a Fort Smith-based company that helps to employ people with disabilities, to package and ship their subscription boxes.
“They started handling our boxing and shipping in July or August of last year,” Andrew said. “We were having a hard time keeping up with the shipping element, and had been looking for a fulfillment hosue that could handle it. Bost was a great fit because they allowed us to work with a local company and they provided a service that we had been needing.”
Andrew said he feels that despite the company’s quick success so far, he still feels the best is yet to come for Simple Loose Leaf.
Tea is becoming more and more popular, and so are subscription boxes.
“There was a study recently that said tea drinkers are growing year over year by about 11 percent in the US,” Andrew said. “Plus, coffee prices are expected to go up quite a bit in the next five years. Until now, coffee has always looked like a cheaper option than tea. As that levels out, we think we’ll see a lot more people start to drink tea.”
Andrew, who’s 30 years old, said Fayetteville is the perfect centrally-located place for this type of company.
“We grew up in Van Buren, both went to the UA, graduated, and decided to stay in the area,” he said. “I just like the feel of Fayetteville. It’s nice to have mildish weather in NWA. Plus, there are more people my age here, and I like that about it.”