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Eloïse Guettat, connecting France’s Luberon region to Hong Kong with herbal teas

30 September 2019

At age 26, from Hong Kong, Eloïse Guettat (SK 2018) has launched her own range of original and natural herbal teas produced in France and sold online. Highly attached to this territory where she has lived for 16 years, she sees her professional career as a series of challenges and lessons.  

 

You’ve spent more than half of your life in Hong Kong. What ties bind you to this territory?

I was born in Singapore and spent most of my childhood in Hong Kong (from ages 1 to 6 and then 9 to 17). It’s where I had my first experiences with transport, gastronomy, I familiarised myself with the local culture. I have a strong emotional bond with the place. After graduating I had in mind to head overseas again and I hadn’t discounted Asia as a possibility. The fact that I speak the language and have permanent resident status there were big plusses pulling me back to Hong Kong.

 

You spent one year in cosmetics and perfumery internships, at Caudalie in New York and then Givenchy in Hong Kong. What did you get out of it?

It’s really interesting to see how the management of global companies is able to adapt to the different countries where they operate. It introduced me to work in a multicultural environment and enabled me to meet some interesting people who taught me a lot. Even though Caudalie has more of a “family” dimension to it than LVMH, it takes a lot of time and energy to get your ideas across internally. For my own personal fulfilment, I needed to start my own company. Hong Kong, which offers myriad opportunities and where you can quickly start over, was the ideal place to do this.

 

How did Tisarôm (https://tisarom.com/) come about?

To obtain my degree at SKEMA, I had to create a business plan. At the time, I drank a lot of herbal tea but I found that choices were limited and that in France the product had a bit of an outdated image. So I imagined a company that produced and sold herbal teas, and I ended up launching it in Hong Kong a few months ago.

 

French herbal tea in a country that already produces and consumes a lot of tea: what sets you apart?

In Hong Kong, there is real demand for healthy and natural plant-based teas and products. But herbal teas are still limited to backrooms where healing herb and root mixtures called medicinal herbal teas are concocted. They’re not especially pleasing to the palate and you don’t really know what’s in them. Tisarôm is not out to compete with traditional Chinese medicine, but it does aim to offer products combining pleasure and well-being. The plants are cultivated in France’s Luberon region, and everything is done by hand to keep the pieces large and retain the flavours. We look for original combinations of raw materials and colours (with fruit or even vegetables such as dried carrot) and we wish to introduce the Hongkongese to new taste sensations.

 

Given the pricing of your ranges, you are targeting more of a wealthy clientele?

That’s right, at nearly 14 euros a box these are premium products. But customers understand the value of a quality, artisanal product. In addition to the herbal teas, we also pay special attention to the packaging. The boxes can be reused at leisure, or even offered as gifts.

 

How do you see the future of Tisarôm and what are your own plans?

For now, the herbal teas are only sold online, but I’d like to be able to sell them in some boutiques and hotels. I strongly believe in my product. However successful it turns out to be, I’ve learnt a great deal over the last few months. I’d like to stay in Hong Kong for the coming years; I adapt rather quickly to anything, as long as I’m OK with the products and services I’m selling and with the environment I’m in.

 

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