Matthew Youn, South Korean-born Australian businessman, launched the luxury tea brand from New York called Tavalon into the Australian market a little over 2 years ago. In a very short amount of time Tavalon has become the go-to tea brand for many hospitality venues across the country, from 5-star hotels to the finest restaurants and cafes.

Youn told us about Tavalon’s journey so far: “Australia is a tough market when it comes to luxury goods. Our focus has been to build relationships with people in the industry and offer superior customer service. We coupled this with the highest quality products at a reasonable price. This approach was contrary to the traditional one of aggressively targeting the mass market in search of immediate ROI.”

When asked about what makes the product unique, he said: “We source directly from small farmers around the world. The blends are then hand-crafted by our world-renowned tea sommelier Chris Cason. Chris runs each new blend through 200 focus groups, and only those scoring at least an 8 out of 10 are released into the market. This level of attention to detail takes a lot of effort, but it is also what has made Tavalon a global favorite when it comes to premium tea.”

Business growth has had its periods of ups and downs due to economic conditions but the company says it is not revenue focused at this stage. It has been investing heavily in building relationships and creating awareness across the industry, especially with those who appreciate premium offerings. Restaurateurs, celebrity chefs, and hotel managers with an eye for quality products have been endorsing the brand. The company believes that successful venues always go for the best that the market has to offer because they trust in constant value addition to stay ahead of the competition.

Jason Popelier, Tavalon’s Chief Financial Officer, explained why hospitality venues have been endorsing the brand: “Tea is a remarkable product to increase the bottom-line for any hospitality venue. It is probably the world’s most affordable luxury product. Even at Tavalon quality, the gross margin of a regular priced serving is north of 90%. Volume is the defining success factor and our partner venues see a significant increase in tea sales when they embrace the Tavalon experience. So without having to increase their price point, venues see greater profitability, and customers get more value.”

Back office manager Carol Bilynskyj commented: “We have a very effective ordering process with a focus on speed of delivery nationwide. We have worked extremely hard to build this capacity over the past 2 years to align our service quality with our product quality. We maintain a 24hr turnaround once an order is placed and it only takes up to 24hrs to deliver in Sydney/Brisbane metro or up to 48hrs to deliver in Melbourne metro area”.

Stephany Tagalog, the head of customer engagement, added, “My main responsibility is to deliver the highest customer service to all our customers/partners and ensure our support is always higher than what customers’ expect. I understand how busy each of our customers can get so I aim to make everything very simple for them.”

To protect the Tavalon brand, which is now served in 12,000 venues in 11 countries, the company is selective about who it works with. Krysthal Lladd, the head of research & training explained how she studies the market: “I spend a lot of time in research to understand the story of each venue and their needs. Once this is clarified, it’s much easier for us to form a long-lasting partnership as values are aligned. I share my findings and train everyone in the organization based on my research so we all are on the same page when we deal with our existing customers or potential customers”.

To find out more about Tavalon Tea Australia & New Zealand and its wholesale offering call 1800 241 103 or make an enquiry via email