Discover the Story Behind Trinidad’s Herbal Tea Company: Caribbean Cure
by Karen Rollins May 20, 2019
Trinidadian entrepreneur Sophia Stone founded her business, Caribbean Cure, in 2015. The herbal tea company was created out of her desire to use nature to promote health and wellness.
She explains: “I wanted to honour our long history in the Caribbean of using herbs and bush teas. And backed by science, my goal was to make these healing remedies more efficacious, convenient and attractive to today’s consumer.”
Sophia quit her full-time job to focus on the pursuit of her dream. She was bursting with ideas and wondered how she could turn some of them into a profitable entrepreneurial venture.
But her initial line of eight herbal supplements were not the success she’d hoped for. After depleting her savings, Sophia was faced with two very clear choices, give up and quit “dreaming”, or find another way to make the dream work. She chose the latter.
Sophia’s new plan was to curate tea blends using the ingredients from her supplement line. Virtually all her family and friends rubbished the idea and told her to go back to her nine to five job – all but one!
Stacy Seeterram, a friend and confidant, believed in Sophia’s idea, so she asked Stacy to partner with her in creating this new venture.
Caribbean Cure takes off
With five tea blends currently on the market, and the approval of family and friends who enjoy their curative, feel-good concoctions, Stacy says the pair are motivated by making their business relevant.
She says: “We try not to worry about being successful. What we do, is work toward being significant.”
In addition to keeping them excited about turning up for work each day, this approach won them recognition as producers of world-class teas.
An opportunity to honour family traditions also keeps the duo on track. There is history and ancestry brewed into each cup of Caribbean Cure tea.
Island Breeze, a delicate blend that includes cardamom pods and white tea, is a tribute to Sophia’s Afghan/Canadian heritage, and borrows from one of her family’s recipes.
Another flavour, Carnival Oasis, with its inclusion of cinnamon, clove and mauby bark, draws on Stacy’s Trinidadian roots woven throughout the West Indies and conjures up memories of her grandmother’s “magical” blends.
Caribbean Cure’s future
Caribbean Cure’s short-term intention is to increase production capacity and efficiencies to enable greater access to Caribbean markets. Through the Women Empowered through Export (WE-Xport) programme, they have forged key partnerships with a strong CARIFORUM trade agenda.
In July 2018, Caribbean Cure, unveiled new packaging; beautiful tea tins, adorned with designs created by a local artist.
The team are now entering the next phase of tea export negotiations with partners in Europe, Canada and Japan, and are poised for upward momentum in the company’s development.
Sophia and Stacy share that one of the most valuable lessons they’ve learned on their entrepreneurial journey so far, is the importance of releasing emotional attachment in order to grow.
Sophia advises: “Do not fear mistakes. Regrets are far more difficult to deal with than mistakes. You walk away from a mistake having learned something, but a regret is a missed opportunity.”
She adds: “Even if it seems beyond your reach, try. You will amaze yourself with what you are capable of.”