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Tenzo case study

ShipMonk’s software is so easy to use! It does a great job doing what it needs to do and isn’t packed with unnecessary tools.

Tenzo Tea is a lifestyle brand dedicated to providing clean energy in the form of authentic, high-quality matcha. In addition to selling the best matcha around, the company has made a name for itself by offering at-home kits, creative recipes, and a subscription model that lets the Tenzo Tribe get their green fix in a snap. Tenzo Tea proves that staying healthy is not only rewarding, but also easy and fun.

Santa Monica, California
Steve O’Dell and Robbie Page
Food & Beverage, Health & Wellness

Tenzo Tea’s Story

Tenzo Tea is the brainchild of Steve and Robbie, two long-time, very tall (seriously, they are 6’6” and 7’0”), volleyball-playing buddies from Southern California. While attending college together at UCLA, the guys teamed up to find a healthy way to boost their energy. Like many others (especially college students), the two were downing energy drinks and coffee to stay alert throughout the day. While these unhealthy caffeine options did the trick for a couple hours, they also came along with jitters and crashes. Tired of the negative effects, the budding business partners sought out alternatives.

After a few months of raiding store shelves and trying every supplement they could lay their hands on, the guys jet-setted to Japan where they discovered pure, high-quality matcha. They were instantly hooked. Wanting to share the green gold with as many people as possible, Tenzo Tea was born.

The company launched in 2016 with the mission to help make the world a healthier place. Tenzo Tea began by selling organic matcha, matcha kits, and teaware on its online store, as well as providing a subscription service to consumers and fulfilling wholesale orders to cafes in Southern California.

Although Steve came from an entrepreneurial background, having started other companies in the past, the guys knew nothing about running an eCommerce business. So they did a lot of research, talked to industry leaders, tested brand-friendly packaging, and learned everything they could about their demographic. Soon enough, Tenzo Tea started attracting customers and grew a following of Tenzo (not just matcha) lovers!

In the beginning, Tenzo Tea was receiving around 1,000 orders a month, all of which were fulfilled in-house. Steve and Robbie’s typical day would start and end with trips to UPS — in addition to picking, packing, and printing prepaid shipping labels. Orders rapidly increased to more than the two could handle themselves, so they brought on other team members to help out with fulfillment. But, with Tenzo Tea growing from 1,000 to between 5,000 – 10,000 orders per month, the duo knew they had to make a change.

Due to the delicate nature of their matcha, the bros went on a search for a fulfillment center equipped to store and ship organic food products. Ultimately, they stumbled upon ShipMonk through word of mouth, courtesy of “the Westside Crew” — Steve and Robbie’s moniker for a group of fellow eCommerce buddies from California, some of whom have partnered with ShipMonk. “We’re good buds with Taylor and Parker from FEAT Socks, and we heard their horror story of working with another 3PL before switching to ShipMonk. It was super helpful to learn about their experience!” said Robbie.

Reliability and cost were key, and ShipMonk covered both. The guys also saw how fast ShipMonk was growing, and it was something they wanted to be a part of. “We learned about Jan and how he started ShipMonk, and we really loved his outlook and how he handles his business. Joining ShipMonk was more than just outsourcing our order fulfillment to a 3PL, it was also about joining a community and finding a new group of friends — including our Happiness Engineer, who we are on a first name basis with,” says Steve.

“One hesitation we had when searching for a fulfillment company was relinquishing customer experience and quality control,” says Robbie. “Finding a 3PL that was FDA registered and could handle our quality systems set ShipMonk above the rest. We love that ShipMonk tracks inventory by lot number and SKU. Not only are we able to monitor what we have in stock, but we can also track what products we have in each warehouse.”

Steve followed that up by saying, “One of our favorite software features is the ability to easily remap inventory within the system. The SKU number tells us exactly what the product is, and we are able to easily remap SKUs in the system. The software is so simple to use! It does a great job doing what it needs to do and isn’t packed with unnecessary tools.”

Since joining the ShipMonk family in 2019, Tenzo Tea has significantly lowered their overhead while also increasing their sales and expanding their business. From only catering to individual orders and small SoCal shops to now reaching thousands of Tenzo Tribe members and retailers nationwide, it’s safe to say that the company has built a solid “communiTEA” of Tenzo lovers.

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“ShipMonk is a huge asset and has given us the ability to scale Tenzo Tea nationwide without diminishing product quality and brand loyalty.”
Steve O’Dell and Robbie Page
Founders of Tenzo


Sold over 20 million
servings of Tenzo

Product collaborations
with celebrity influencers

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