Nepali Tea Traders is the vision of Maggie Le Beau and a small team of passionate and dedicated Colorado entrepreneurs. Harnessing many years of combined business experience, they are building a new enterprise to help a country that produces the world’s finest tea to market their product in the US. A trekking trip in the early ‘90s was the original impetus for Maggie’s commitment to Nepal. “I met so many gracious people who had virtually no resources, yet they were consistently so generous with the little that they did have,” she said. “From that time on, I have felt compelled to find a way to help the Nepalese people.”
With Maggie’s immediate focus on a corporate career and growing family, her parents – Jim and Amy Hecht – took up the cause. The couple forged relationships in Nepal to improve the country's economic status and health care. They both were on the Board of a new U.S. charity that Jim chaired (Friends of Patan Hospital) and Amy helped introduce hospice care in Nepal. Over the course of six trips, they identified a significant opportunity to increase the incomes of rural farmers by improving farming and marketing techniques, and then raised the funds for a demonstration project that helped 10,000 people, and will help many more in the future. It was through this work that they discovered that although Nepal’s teas are some of the world’s finest, very little has been exported to the U.S. They asked Maggie to take a look at how more Nepali tea could be sold in the U.S., and Maggie asked, why not establish an American company that could help the Nepalese market and sell their premium tea to a growing U.S. market of specialty tea drinkers?
By 2012, with a successful corporate career behind her, Maggie was ready to turn opportunity to reality with several like-minded colleagues. After many spirited discussions, and hundreds of cups of tea, Nepali Tea Traders was born. The team’s objective: To create an enterprise with sustainable trade practices, opportunities for tea farmers and fair wages for workers. Also central to their vision is the donation of all net profits to the children of Nepal through a respected philanthropic partner, the Nepal Youth Foundation. The team engaged an ideal Nepalese tea partner, a successful tea entrepreneur, who shares Nepali Tea Traders’ vision -- tea has the power to transform Nepal.
- We believe that the teas from Nepal are among the best in the world.
- We believe in fresh, pure tea that is healthy and great tasting.
- We believe in exceptional, exciting products; in delighting our consumers.
- We believe that building the tea industry in Nepal will help the people of Nepal by creating jobs, infrastructure and sustainable business expertise.
- We believe in both environmental sustainability and social welfare. We support the high standards of Nepal’s Code of Conduct on orthodox tea cultivation. http://www.nepalnaturaltea.com/coc-detail.php
- We believe in pursuing profitable growth and re-investing all profits to help the people and country of Nepal.
Maggie Le Beau, Founder and CEO
I am thrilled to be leading a small company with a big vision – that tea can transform Nepal. I look forward to applying my business experience to help Nepal export a rare and exquisite product for tea drinkers in the U.S. to enjoy. Now I plan to put my business education and experience to work to become social entrepreneurs, working to build a sustainable business and share the profits of the company with The Nepal Youth Foundation. When not working on Nepali Tea Traders, I love to spend time with my family, and enjoy doing anything outdoors, yoga, and of course, drinking tea, especially flavorful Masala teas, made with authentic spices from Nepal. LinkedIn Profile
Ellen Thompson, Sales and Marketing
After traveling and working in Asia and Latin America early in my career, it’s wonderful to come full circle: again working with companies in developing countries. It’s very satisfying to be part of a start-up whose mission and inspiration is to help the local tea farmers and tea entrepreneurs in Nepal – and to support The Nepal Youth Foundation in their important work. An avid yogi, I have recently fallen in love with our remarkable oolongs, which combine the best of black and green teas, creating a smooth and balanced cup.
Bob Bush, Customer Service, Finance and Legal
I just returned from a fascinating, productive trip to Nepal with Rob to visit the tea gardens, spend time with our tea experts and partners, and inspect our first shipment of tea. We also had the opportunity to meet with the Nepal Youth Foundation in Kathmandu, and were both so favorably impressed with their good work and high standards. It’s so fulfilling to apply the skills I’ve honed in the corporate world to bring the world’s finest tea to the U.S., build a self-sustaining tea industry and to help the Nepalese children. As an avid cook, I appreciate the delicious nuances of all of our teas.
Pat Nichols, Communications and Marketing
After many fulfilling years in the corporate world, I’m delighted to be part of a small company with big plans and an inspirational and worthy cause. Colorado has been home to our family for many years – we love the healthy lifestyle and are enthusiastic cyclists, hikers and skiers. I’ve traveled to many areas in North and South America, Europe and Asia and look forward to traveling to Nepal soon. A lifelong black tea and coffee drinker, I’ve come to appreciate the health benefits and subtleties of our delicious white tea, which can be enjoyed all day long.
Rob Burnett, International Operations
I first traveled to Nepal in 2007 before I started college and instantly fell in love with the people, culture and landscape. During my second trip to study development and international aid, my understanding deepened. I recently graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a BA in International studies and now couldn't be more excited to be working for Nepali Tea Traders. My favorite tea is our green Half Moon Pearl. Off hours, I enjoy cycling the roads and trails of Colorado.
Our Tea Experts and Partners in Nepal
Chandra Bhushan Subba, Managing Director, Sandakphu Tea and Tea Direct
I was born in the Ilam region of Nepal and earned my specialization in Tea Husbandry and Technology from India and Japan. My background includes 20 years of experiences in tea cultivation, manufacturing, tea blending and tasting in addition to all facets of business development for Nepal’s tea industry. My philosophy is to involve the tea farmers in all aspects of producing orthodox tea, including ownership of the local factories and employing more women at all levels. I am delighted to partner with Nepali Tea Traders, who share my vision of transforming the tea industry in our country. I drink all types of our precious tea, and especially like Wild Yeti Oolong.
Rocky Prajpati, Freelance Photographer
From the moment I viewed life through the lens at the age of 14, photography has been my passion. Motivated by the success of the work of my brother and mentor, Kishore Kayastha, I entered the field of professional freelance photography more than 14 years ago. Since then, I have been operational in both commercial and creative areas, with recent projects taking me all over Nepal and as far afield as Delhi. It was exciting to work with Nepali Tea Traders during their recent visit to capture the beautiful, inspirational images of tea, which is such an integral part of our daily life and so important to our economic prosperity.