Rosa Li Wildwonder

For 2019 Tory Burch Fellow Rosa Li, it all started with tea. She wanted to bring the herbs and flavors of her grandmother’s kitchen to the world with her company Tea Crush–before realizing she could do so much more than tea. With savvy rebranding (and delicious, healthy drinks), her company Wildwonder has gained popularity along the west coast, as well as prime real estate in the office refrigerators at Google, Uber, Tesla and other major businesses. 

Li answered our community’s questions on branding, pivoting your business model and more in a recent Instagram ask me anything.

Q: Is there something you wish you knew before you rebranded?
A: I wish I knew more and thought more deeply about naming before I launched my beverage business, so I didn’t have to rebrand! Our former name, Tea Crush, was limiting us to a specific ingredient, so it didn’t work for product expansion. I definitely recommend using a name that’s more flexible and doing diligence around trademarks.

Q: How did you get your existing community to support your new brand?
A: We have ongoing communication with our partners and customers, so we emailed and updated everyone in advance of and after our rebrand. There are definitely a lot of additional logistics we had to deal with and some glitches along the way but having strong relationships helped.

Q: What advice do you have for re-introducing a well-established store to a community?
A: I know local PR works well for the local audience. I would reach out to your local media and let them know about the new “opening” (especially if your brand name has changed). It’s better if you have a special event or campaign going that they can write about rather than just “so and so launched”

Q: What’s your number one piece of advice for a new business starting out?
A: When it comes to naming and branding, definitely think about the longer term and bigger potential. Make sure your business name won’t limit you.

Branding and packaging are super important for food and beverage products. We invested in the brand–hence the rebrand! And I wish I could say there’s a hack, but it’s more like a long-term investment that doesn’t necessarily return the money right away but gives products staying power.

Q: What do you think is the most important method for getting your brand in front of the right audience?
A: I don’t think there’s one channel that fits all. We try everything to test, to be honest, but we pick one or two channels that perform best based on how much budget we have and where our audience is. We do email and social and we don’t pay for PR.

Q: I started a business with my daughters as a hobby. How can we make it work? And how can I turn this into a job?
A: The best way to decide is to test it out and see how many customers you get. The goal is to get feedback early and iterate as fast as you can to turn your products into a business! Good luck! That’s awesome you are working with your daughters on this.

Q: I’m in the beverage business too and shipping is very high. How do you keep your shipping costs low?
A: Shipping is definitely expensive for beverages. This is why we’ve always been geographically focused, selling to stores in our home region first and saturating that market before expanding to another geographic region. We actually launched our e-comm platform this year in response to the pandemic, so we do offer national shipping for online customers. Having said that, we try to focus our marketing around the west coast.

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