Chi NguyenMy Dallas Story
One Dallas Founder Spills the Tea on Starting a Company in Dallas
Some founders describe a moment of clarity, when they’re hit with inspiration, but for most, it’s a journey of discovery. Of testing. Of pivots. Chi Nguyen found her inspiration while reading the tea leaves, so to speak.
“I’m an avid tea drinker, although it always bothered me how much exploitation there is in the supply chain. In my research I found out that 85- to 90-percent of the workers who pick the tea leaves and do the bulk of the field work are women.”
It was while brainstorming over, wait for it … a cup of tea, that she realized she’d need to go to the source of the problem.
“I went to Kenya because it’s the third largest region in the world for smallholder farms, and I thought I could make a bigger social impact there. And while we were there we stumbled onto purple tea – I had never heard of it.”
Not as grassy as green tea, or as earthy as black – Nguyen had found an opportunity in a crowded CPG marketplace.
“There’s a ton of wonderful resources in Texas as a whole — but in Dallas especially, the startup ecosystem is strong. And specific to the CPG, food & beverage space, there’s a lot of support with other founding companies and industry association headquarters.”
Nguyen grew up in Grand Prairie and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She loves Dallas’ food scene (perhaps an occupational hazard) – from hole-in-the-wall finds to James Beard award-winning establishments. She also takes advantage of Dallas’ outdoor space – running in Prestonwood in North Dallas or the White Rock Trail.
Her company now employees five full-time employees, including herself – and also uses lots of part-time and contract help.
Her advice to first-time founders and people considering relocating to DFW?
“It’s funny – there’s a lot of overlap. You need to know the market you’re trying to break into and understand what you’ll need to do to ensure growth. You need to put yourself out there and remember that as you’re meeting people who might be a benefit to you, you could be that person for someone else. Also, specific to starting a business — understand the sources of capital available at every stage.”
In August, Nguyen won the Dallas chapter of the TiE Women global pitch competition. In November, she’ll participate in the finals in Singapore for prize money and potentially another investment.
You can find Purpose purple tea in locations across Dallas-Fort Worth including Central Market, Whole Foods, Meow Wolf, Omni Hotels, and Southwest Airlines corporate campus. To read more about Purpose Tea’s impact, check out the blog.