Ricky Kothari, founder of T-Sticks, decided to join Virgin Unite’s Action Network because he wanted to learn how to disrupt his market in an impactful way and how to do more not just for the environment, but for the people he worked and interacted with daily. Here he tells us what the ‘People Challenge’ did for he and his ‘T-eam.'
T-Sticks began with two friends and one big idea. It all started in our office in East London, which in the 1930s was a tea purveyor, general store, so it must be fate!
T-Sticks has grown into a multi award-winning range of clever little infuser sticks of fine, ready-to-brew tea. The range of expertly sourced teas are from the world’s finest plantations that are available in a variety of flavours and come in recycled aluminium infuser sticks that double up as stirrers.
We are passionate about creating and designing innovative, healthy products. The T-Sticks design was inspired by real life. The concept came to me as an answer to making life simpler, as well as a way of evolving the future of tea, which is a healthily growing market.
We decided to join Virgin Unite’s Action Network because as a relatively fresh and exciting new business, we needed a structure and force for good to guide us to follow entrepreneurship that can help solve some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues. Areas of focus for us in environmental impact included the use of recycled materials and reducing water wastage.
Prior to joining, we had a very high level of understanding of our core values, which were only loosely followed. These values were kept tacitly within our heads as founders! Not defined and presented to be shared with customers, clients, suppliers and internally with the ‘T-eam’.
The Action Network helped strengthen the business’ core values in a number of ways, such as helping us improve staff code and making this a primary focus. We also introduced a ‘T-preneur’ of the month in recognition of a staff member who’s epitomised our core values.
The ‘People Challenge’ was very stimulating and thought provoking. It helped define our core values that we exhibit today and more importantly, we use these over time to track how our core values are resonating with our people by monitoring productivity, sick days, turnover and ‘T-eam’ happiness. I have also learned how to celebrate success with staff and reward those that deserve it. This will support and facilitate further growth.
I’m grateful of the support received from the Virgin Unite team and the workshops that forced us to think about global disruption for good.
For more on Virgin Unite’s Action Network, visit here.