As you can probably tell by now, we don’t exactly “spam” you with e-mails or marketing. We are lucky if we send one every quarter. And when we do write, it is often to tell of our success—the graduation of a student, the launch of a new product, the achievements of the women who craft the labels. Our marketing isn’t the sleekest, our words aren’t meticulously crafted. But we do try to be sincere and thoughtful.
Behind every success we have shared—every “A” earned in math, or electricity put in the home of one of the artisans—there is hardship. Our students struggle. They struggle with unstable home lives. They struggle in school. And their struggles are familiar, like the desire to “fit in.” So when an Ajiri scholar, who previously was scoring Ds in physics, comes home with a C+, we celebrate her success! And when a young student who refused to engage, is now writing wondrous stories and wanting to come by the office and talk, we are motivated by his happiness.
The women who craft the labels also face hardships. Many of them are widows, and are the single provider and the single caregiver for their families. So when one of the women who works with Ajiri Tea buys land, we share in her pride. When one of the women pays for her daughter to go to university, we share in her hope.
And yes, we struggle as a five-person company. As a small company, we are up against big challenges (the corporatization of the food industry, the rise of Amazon). This makes every sale to an independent food market and to an individual all that more meaningful.
So this Thanksgiving we are so grateful for our collective success, because we know so deeply of our shared challenges. We are grateful our students are happy and thriving, because we know just how much time and love it took to get there. We are grateful for the women’s financial independence because we know the road was anything but smooth and straight. And we are just so grateful to all of you—who have continued to believe in our company and in our community. How did we get so lucky?
With many thanks and many more tea boxes to sell, Happy Thanksgiving,
Kate, Sara, Ann, Regina, and Dorothy
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