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10 Steps to Business Success from Zhena Muzyka of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea

February 21, 2010

Yesterday I attended a daylong seminar by WEV aka Women’s Economic Ventures facilitated by local social media maven Tea Silvestre of Social Good (and of the Social Good blog and Planet Good radio). The Santa Barbara event featured sessions on finances, marketing, and a keynote by Zhena Muzyka founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea.

I took notes on all three sessions and with any luck will post on all three. Here’s my blog post on the first session,  “Start Your Business Venture on the Right Foot” or “Credit & Its Importance to You & Your Business” by Nina Erickson of Sure Path Financial Solutions.

Read on to learn how Zhena Muzyka got her Gypsy Tea business off the ground along with ideas on how to get YOURS going and growing. Then, with any luck, I’ll get a post up based on Maggie Dennison’s session on marketing.

Zhena Muzyka is an amazing storyteller plus she has a powerful story to tell! After graduating from high school in Lompoc, just north of Santa Barbara, she did some globe trotting in pursuit of her interests in botanicals including aromatherapy and healing herbs. She studied in Peru and wherever she was given the opportunity, plus she learned more about her gypsy heritage and her culture’s use of traditional medicinal herbs.

About nine years ago, she gave birth to her son Sage, who needed a very expensive operation. A single mom with few resources, she racked her brains, meditated and walked, looking for inspiration, looking for a path that would allow her to take care of her son.

After a walk in the mountains around her Ojai home, she realized she could put her interests together in the form of a tea house. But the costs were formidable so instead she bought an espresso cart and began to make tea lattes using her own blends.

Nine years later, her teas can be found in grocery stores, restaurants and natural food stores. She just raised 3.2 million from new investors. As her company grew, she stayed committed to her vision of providing a healthful drink which is sustainable for the planet and for the people who work the tea fields:

A commitment to social responsibility and the well-being of others has grown Zhena’s Gypsy Tea from a small humble band of loyal Gypsy Tea consumers to a growing successful brand and we are grateful. Our mission is to enrich the lives of people everywhere through our offerings of only the healthiest and freshest teas, herbs and botanicals available.

A community minded, pro-active company and one of the pioneer supporters of the Fair Trade Model, we work directly with small growers and out of the way tea gardens to affect change by providing these workers with healthcare, guaranteed maternity leave, childcare, literacy, better working conditions, and autonomy.

Fair Trade certification is a market-based model of international trade that benefits over one million farmers and farm workers in 58 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Fair Trade certification enables consumers to vote for a better world with their dollars, simply by looking for the Fair Trade Certified label on the products they buy.

Zhena’s Gypsy Tea stands in solidarity with the tea workers and empowers them by paying a pro-active premium which provides and supports fair wages and added benefits such as better housing, healthcare, education and a sustainable environment.

After sharing her personal path to success, Zhena passed on to us “Ten Steps to Business Success”

  1. ONE: visualize

–a new vision; envision a new life
–day to day life vs new life vision
–figure out how to shift your world
–use a vision board

  1. TWO: write

–write write very sensual: use all the senses, detail

–make that the basis of your business plan

–keep it to yourself, secret, precious

  1. THREE: form

–let it start taking form

–who do you want involved

–who will let it come to fruition

  1. FOUR: finance

–work with what you’ve got

–small is better to start with; lose a little gain a lot

–look at options

  1. FIVE: flow

–go with the flow, the path of least resistance

–try not to have expectations

–visualize but anticipate, prepare for something else

–money flows toward strength & away from weakness

  1. SIX: surround

–yourself with people further along the path

–find people you admire

–she found her mentor through SCORE

  1. SEVEN: start

–no matter what just start

–just do it

–worst thing that happens is you don’t just start it

  1. EIGHT: dedicate

–every  minute of every day to your vision

–to make manifest

–just  like making a baby

  1. NINE: reward

–reward yourself when you accomplish your goals

–small and great rewards

–have to be ready and able to receive success

TEN: ask

–what do you think, get feedback

–be willing to accept in order to to continuously improve your product

–do this when you’re established, not too early

Addtional advice she gave during the Q & A included:

Barter, trade, persuade people to help you
Be clear about what you stand for and stick with it: mission driven
Always start with generousity—give away your product, share your product
You can make money and still do good; lead by giving; build it into the business model

Zhena warns: beware of distractions!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2010 9:23 pm

    A perfect plan. Like we discussed all those years ago, AP, a business which is a work of art, a work of art which is a business.

  2. Kate Dunbar permalink
    February 22, 2010 6:16 am

    I was at that class with you. She was just what I needed to hear. I left there with a whole new business idea- my business idea. Not my friends, or my family MINE! She is such an inspiration. Thank you for posting this.

  3. February 22, 2010 7:26 am

    Kate, that’s great! I look forward to learning more about your business as you’re ready to share it with the world! I hope to meet you at the April meeting if not before.

    Paul, you’re right…as usual…

  4. February 27, 2010 11:32 pm

    Thanks for taking such great notes, Gwendolyn! I’m so happy you’re finding the program valuable!

  5. April 19, 2010 2:00 pm

    Thanku for notes.

  6. April 20, 2010 9:28 am

    It’s amazing list. Thank you.


  1. Tuesday Tip: 10 Steps to Business Success from Zhena Muzyka of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea « The Write Alley

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