Introducing Alma Yerba Mate
Allow me to introduce you to Alma Yerba Mate. In Spanish, Alma means “soul,” and Yerba Mate is a marvellous plant grown in the rich red hills of Argentina. The gist is that we’re a social company for good, and we built our business around goodness, life and vitality. To this end, we’ve recently begun to set up a framework in order to ensure a percentage of our profits go to charities both here in Australia and abroad. For us, it’s not about what we take out of the business. Instead, it’s about what we can put back into the development of individuals and communities, building a better world for all.
The idea behind Alma Yerba Mate
The idea to create Alma Yerba Mate began years ago in London. It was late 2013, and I was experiencing my first autumn in the northern hemisphere; it was certainly cold, winding and probably something I wasn’t prepared for. I’d arrived earlier that year from the east coast of Australia, so cold like this was something I’d never experienced. On top of all of this, I had just started new job in a completely new industry (IT) with no idea of what I was supposed to be doing or even how to do it.
As it turned out, my workplace occupied the building above a Wholefoods, which is something we also don’t have in Australia; the sheer number of unique and quirky off the shelf beverages and dry teas was a real eye-opener. There was one drink in particular, which contained this weird herbal plant called Yerba Mate, and I found myself hooked from the first go both with the hot and cold variations. The clarity of mind and ability to continue those long shifts at work, as fresh as when I first arrived in the morning, quickly enabled me to become better-suited in my job, not to mention hold onto it!
After two years of living and working in the UK, I decided to move to Sydney, and began looking for more Yerba Mate at home. Unfortunately, the market for this amazing plan was very limited, and the only options I had was to buy big brand name smoke Yerba Mate from a speciality Argentinian store. While this was good enough, I started to explore the possibility of importing my own variety of Yerba Mate directly into Australia.
How we combined excellent Yerba Mate with helping others
My mother’s side of my family is complete with entrepreneurs and self-made success stories. So, the idea of working for a boss was also something I never really thought I’d end up doing; I needed my own business. And when it came down to my philosophy on work, I disagreed with traditional standards that for business to be successful, they must ensure that growth occurs year after year, investing any profits back into the business or pockets of shareholders and directors. Instead, I believed that modern society (meaning businesses) should move beyond this antiquated notion and do more to help the environment they are in, as they continue to grow. Inspired by organisations such as Thankyou Group, I set out to create my own brand in order to make the world just a little bit better.
In order to do this, I enlisted the help of a good friend, James, to partner with me in importing our first ship of air-dried organic fair-trade Yerba Mate from South America. Even though the shipment was a big step, we counted ourselves genuinely lucky to have met such a fantastic producer who was both highly-responsive and easy to communicate with, albeit in Spanish! With this first move, we started setting the baseline for what we wanted to get out of our business, and then decided to set some goals. Alma is built around excellent quality Yerba Mate, a hands-on attitude and a desire to always give back to those around you.
The future of Alma Yerba Mate
We recently had our launch at the Sydney Tea Festival, where we completely exceeded our expectations and almost sold out of our entire stock. Telling our story to the many people who stopped by was an unforgettable experience, and one we will truly cherish as the first step in building our brand. For this event, we created two handcrafted blends, Alma Yerba Mate with Mint and Alma Yerba Mate with Licorice Root and Sweet Orange – both blends are 100% organic. These blends proved to be popular, and being there to hear first-hand feedback from our customers was both invaluable and a blast.
Our love affair with Yerba Mate transcends the actual drink itself. What’s most special to us is the soul of the Argentinian countryside, with its rich red earth, emerald green rainforest and blue skies; the tradition of the communities there and the friendship that Yerba Mate instills. We try to bring that through our brand, as we are two good mates making a change for the better. The brewed beverage contains high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but we want to tell a modern story of the herbal tea, which is something the Australian mainstream market can relate to. The drink not only stimulates and revitalises the mind and body, but it also keeps you looking young. Not to mention it tastes great! We believe that people everywhere can benefit from including a cup of Alma Yerba Mate into their day.
Our business model continues to evolve, but we are currently in the process of partnering with a charity in Australia. We named our program MATE4MATES, and it’s our aim to partner with multiple charities in the future to support communities both in Australia and abroad. Inspiration within Alma is at an all-time high as we explore many wild and wonderful ways to drink Yerba Mate.
We look forward to bringing new and innovative products to the market very soon! We’re also certainly excited to continue bringing awareness to our products and sharing our delicious organic fair-trade Yerba Mate with as many people as possible.