For die-hard coffee drinkers Matt and Lisa Hammonds, running on
caffeine had lost its appeal. They switched to drinking herbal teas,
sharing their passion for "tea and conversation" with family and
friends. That gave this husband-and-wife team an idea. "We thought
e-commerce and tea would be a good combination," Matt says. Neither
had e-commerce experience, but that didn’t stop them. “We used Google
to do our research and figure out how to build our company from
scratch." They cofounded Full Leaf Tea Company in 2014, selling
herbal and organic loose-leaf teas, wellness blends, Japanese matcha,
and accessories from their virtual storefront. They blend, package,
and distribute all of their products from their Southern Oregon
Marketing high-quality teas from around the world, along with "the tea experience," proved to be a winning blend. Google business tools helped the company more than triple their sales in 2016. They use AdWords, Google's advertising program, to attract tea lovers and former coffee fanatics. "AdWords accounts for 40 percent of our traffic and 70 percent of sales," Matt says. Google Analytics lets them see their customer activity in real time and measure the performance of their website, blog, social media, web ads, and email marketing campaigns. And Google Webmaster Tools help them deliver a positive customer experience.
Full Leaf Tea Company has launched a wholesale division and is expanding into retail locations. "We started with $100 to our name, a $2,500 credit card, and no capital to grow," Matt says. "We've grown the company by investing our sales back into digital advertising." They give back to their local community by working with a vocational rehabilitation agency to provide job opportunities for people with special circumstances or disabilities. With 10,000 customers and a growing fan base of tea lovers, the company is poised for greater success. "We have aggressive growth plans," Matt says. "Google products have shaped our company from a small mom-and-pop operation into something that could be really huge."
Full Leaf Tea Company Eagle Point, Oregon
Full Leaf Tea Company
Eagle Point, Oregon
“Without the web, we wouldn't be here. It allowed us to create a business and build something with literally no capital.”Matt Hammonds, Co-founderFull Leaf Tea Company has 14 employees.link www.fullleafteacompany.com
For die-hard coffee drinkers Matt and Lisa Hammonds, running on caffeine had lost its appeal. They switched to drinking herbal teas, sharing their passion for "tea and conversation" with family and friends. That gave this husband-and-wife team an idea. "We thought e-commerce and tea would be a good combination," Matt says. Neither had e-commerce experience, but that didn’t stop them. “We used Google to do our research and figure out how to build our company from scratch." They cofounded Full Leaf Tea Company in 2014, selling herbal and organic loose-leaf teas, wellness blends, Japanese matcha, and accessories from their virtual storefront. They blend, package, and distribute all of their products from their Southern Oregon facility.Full Leaf Tea Company has 14 employees.link www.fullleafteacompany.com
Rogue Creamery Central Point, Oregon
Central Point, Oregon
“Google connects our products to people who care about where their food comes from.”Tom Van Voorhees, CheesemongerRogue Creamery has 45 employees.link www.roguecreamery.com
David Gremmels and Cary Bryant originally planned to open a wine-and-cheese bar, but in 2002 they visited the Rogue Creamery to sniff out its renowned blue cheese. When they learned the nearly 70-year-old creamery was for sale, they changed their plans and bought the business. Since then, they've taken pride in handcrafting artisan cheeses the old-fashioned way and promoting sustainable business practices—such as farming organically, using solar energy, buying and selling locally, recycling, and community philanthropy. They sell their products at a brick-and-mortar store and through distribution to other supermarkets and specialty cheese shops. Now the Internet is helping these cheesemakers spread the word about their products to an even broader audience.
AdWords, Google's advertising program, helps them reach customers. A targeted AdWords campaign over the 2015 holiday season helped them see a 20% increase in online sales. Google Analytics gives them insights into how users are interacting with their site and where their products are gaining popularity. "I've got Google Analytics up every morning to spot trends and variations," says Retail Manager Tom Van Voorhees. "For example, we saw we were shipping a lot of orders to Arizona, so now we can target more ads there." Their Google My Business listing helps some 40,000 visitors a year visit the cheese store, with directions, reviews, and photos. "We ask people how they found us, and so many say, 'I found you on Google.'"
The business wants to increase its reach among a growing audience of socially and environmentally conscious consumers. To do so, they plan to increasingly leverage social media to share the Rogue Creamery story, including on Google+ and YouTube. And they've recently opened up their dairy farm so visitors can meet the cows behind the cheese. "We’re planning to do a Google My Business listing for the farm," Tom says. "Our website has the most potential for growth. With Google tools, you don't have to spend a lot to get results—it's money well spent."Rogue Creamery has 45 employees.link www.roguecreamery.com
Portland Meat Collective Portland, Oregon
Portland Meat Collective
“I absolutely think this business couldn’t exist without the Internet.”Camas Davis, Owner4,000+ students since classes beganlink www.pdxmeat.com
When her job as a magazine food editor vanished in 2009, Camas Davis decided to start over and learn to be a butcher. She went to southwestern France for an internship in butchery and charcuterie (prepared pork products). Returning home, she then founded her own meat education program, with local chefs and butchers as instructors. Today, Portland Meat Collective is not only a school, but also a network of local people looking for a cost-effective way to buy meat directly from the area’s small ranchers and farmers. “Portland was the perfect place to start because it’s a real food-conscious town,” Camas says. She credits much of her success to like-minded people finding her business through the Internet.
“I was very fortunate to have a brother who builds websites for a living,” Camas says. “My website has always been, and still is, our storefront. That’s how people find us. We’re a word-of-mouth business, and a lot of that word of mouth happens online.” Google My Business and other digital tools “opened everything up for me,” she adds. Camas now uses Google Analytics to monitor visits to her website and to keep the content relevant. The company also relies on Google Apps for Work, especially Google Docs, to collaborate with employees and interns from anywhere.
The business now offers six to eight classes a month, and has drawn national attention from the likes of Martha Stewart and The New York Times. Camas has also launched a nonprofit organization to help other areas start meat collectives. Portland Meat Collective itself has a strong economic impact in the Northwest, thanks in part to their strong digital presence. “Our students become a new consumer base for all of the small farmers, who really don’t have time to market or go out and meet new people,” Camas says. “I would love to see a meat collective in every state in America.”4,000+ students since classes beganlink www.pdxmeat.com