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‘Embrace the chaos’: Ti Tonics founder on constant flux and rising above mediocrity

Homegrown iced tea brand Ti Tonics has teamed up with The Better Drinks Co (maker of Charlie’s and Phoenix drinks), giving the latter exclusive distribution rights for the Ti Tonics range.

ti tonics tracey king idealogTi Tonics co-founder Tracey King, who will continue to manage the brand, says the distribution partnership is one of the biggest wins yet for the young company, which aims to be “anti-average” in all it does.

What’s the story behind the product name?

“Ti” is the Maori spelling of “tea” – cofounder James Ehau is Ngati Porou and passionate about creating healthier products for his whanau, iwi and all Kiwis.  ”Tonics” is meant in the sense of ‘just the tonic’ – a remedy or something that is good for you.

How many markets is Ti Tonics in now?

We are currently in New Zealand and Australia with plans to look at exporting to the US and India in the second half of 2014.  

Our brand philosophy is…

To be “anti-average” in everything we do.

What has been Ti Tonic’s biggest ‘win’ to date?

Winning Gold for Best Tea at the NZJBA awards 2012-2013 and the Supreme Award for small businesses in the same year.  Also, partnering with The Better Drinks Co – we’re excited about the collaboration of our brands and the year ahead.

The biggest business lesson we’ve learned so far is…

Adapt, or die!  FMCG is by definition, fast-moving.  If you are unwilling or unable to adapt to the constant flux – currency fluctuations, new competitor entrants, changes in consumer demand etc – you will perish. But if you are willing to embrace the chaos, you can thrive.

If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be…

Studying / reading all the books I still haven’t read, starting up another venture (so many ideas), going to more yoga, playing and coaching more tennis. 

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