Elyse is currently the founder of Tealet.com, a marketplace that connects tea growers with tea lovers around the world.
Originally from California she studied food science and technology at university. She worked on food safety, product development, and food marketing in industries such as dairy and sushi. She says she now “wants to meet many people in this vast world to deepen my life.” She lived and volunteered in Africa for two years teaching about agriculture but faced many challenges working in a community that never went to school. “I have learned one thing between America, Africa, and Japan; the importance of community. I have always found “family” in all my new friends.”
Her internship is part of a MBA program at JAIMS which is a education program of Fujitsu. She chose this tea company as her business experience in Japan. She explains “I saw an entrepreneurial opportunity in working with a small company with a big vision like Obubu that can not be experienced at a larger company.” When she first arrived in Wazuka in January 2012 she felt “the tea plantation landscape was so beautiful. We also have tea gardens in Hawaii, but they are very small compared to Wazuka.”
She is currently responsible for event coordination, English website content creation, and helping with activities with Obubu’s newly launched International Tea Farms Alliance. When she completes her internship in April 2012 she has big dreams to help further grow tea culture in Hawaii. Many farmers have started to cultivate tea in Hawaii and she hopes to share tea knowledge and skills from around the world to help grow this industry within the next 20 years.
“In Japan I have learned the importance of sharing information about tea farms with the world. The US tea market is very large and growing, so there is much opportunity for tea farmers around the world.”