Un Mate – exporting culture and good habits
My name is Jeremy Kraayenbrink, one of the co-founders of Un Mate.
In 2010, my brother Jonathan and I were working for our family’s logistics company in Buenos Aires. By then, we had been on many work and travel trips together, which first sparked, then fueled, our entrepreneurial instincts. As Argentineans, drinking Yerba Mate is an everyday experience, but it’s much more than just a drink.
Yerba Mate is more of a social habit where people gather together to share experiences while they share a mate. So naturally, we shared mate with all of the people we met during our travels; they were all so curious about how to prepare it, and what else the magical experience of drinking Yerba Mate contained. After experiencing the bonds that are created and strengthened through sharing mate, the people we met fell in love with it just like we had. But the only problem was that they couldn’t easily find yerba mate or the proper accessories to enhance the drinking experience.
The essence of Yerba Mate
Jonathan and I have always had two things in common: travelling and love for Yerba Mate. So we sat down one day and decided to start our own business around supplying the world not only with Yerba Mate and all its accessories, but also with the essence of what drinking Yerba Mate means in Argentina: brotherhood, family, warmth and positivity.
Un Mate was born as an online community in which we would upload daily morning mates as well as educational yerba mate related posts on our social media platforms. People started following us right away, and the community grew exponentially reaching over 80,000 followers worldwide. An organic online presence allowed us to be found by potential customers, who while seeing that there was strong engagement with the audience, felt safe to try us as potential suppliers.
Bringing Un Mate to Poland
We decided to try our luck in Poland due to the fact that Jonathan spent a part of the year over there (he met his wife there a few years ago while travelling) and we were pleasantly surprised to find out that Poland was one of the largest Yerba Mate markets in the world. By this time, our two younger brothers joined the team.
Our background in logistics and our desire to be the world’s first supplier of choice made buying experiences incredibly satisfying, and customers kept returning.
After bringing Un Mate to Poland, we continued on to the UK, followed by the USA, and eventually expanded worldwide, exporting to over 25 countries on 5 continents.
The globalization of Yerba Mate
At first, we commercialized the simpler and most traditional gourds, which are great for new drinkers. As years passed, the demand for Yerba Mate increased as a result of globalization, healthier diets and global tendencies for natural sources of energy. These tendencies brought new customers into the game, and the ones that have been enjoying this infusion for some time now wanted to upgrade to new and higher end products such as Palo Santo wood, leather covered gourds, stainless steel and even silver bombillas.
In 2016, we wanted to go one step further and be more involved in customer education, to maintain the drinking of the infusion in the traditional way, since we noticed the market was growing but people didn’t necessarily know much about the social habit Yerba Mate is. The only way to achieve this would be by being near our customers. So we decided to partner with one of our clients in Poland, to share all our Argentinean insights with our customers opposed to just our wholesalers. Un Mate now exports 90% of its products to Poland, which are then redistributed globally, focusing on retail sales and customer service.
We have plenty of projects that are linked to expanding the values shared by Yerba Mate drinkers, such as self-appreciation, sharing, solidarity, brotherhood, kindness and a healthy lifestyle.
Our efforts are now focused on teaching people how to cure their mates, how to prepare it the traditional way, stories related to Yerba Mate beginnings, trending Yerba Mate brands in South America, and weekly Yerba Mate tastings.
We are thrilled by how things have gone so far, and are very confident that one day everybody in the world will get to try their first mate. Then, a new relationship will arise and the world will be a better place.