2014 VCU Venture Creation Competition Finalist: Pitch April 23.


The winner will receive start up funds totaling $5,000 to bring their venture to life. This year all five finalists are Brandcenter teams. Read more about the competition here.


Value Proposition:

As the first authentic American Sweet Tea and Milk drink, Southern Cream Tea brings the real thing to (local non-homogenized milk) in RTD packaging, Southern Cream Tea will fit perfectly in the artisan renaissance that has reshaped American food and drink culture. Consumers are demanding “the real thing” when it comes to what they eat or drink. Until now, Sweet Tea, was something only brewed on mom’s kitchen stove from a passed-down recipe, and milk is never added. A widely observed tradition for tea preparation will be augmented with locally-sourced milk -  localizing the new tradition, and making southern cream tea a New-South trendy beverage. Because consumers are increasingly on-the-go and shifting from coffee to tea with the realization of health benefits, that homemade experience is adapting. As evidence, more RTD tea beverages are key additions to the menu of national coffee chains like Starbucks and convenience stores. Southern Cream Tea introduces a new product in a more convenient package so trial and adoption has fewer obstacles vs. in-home prep.

Traditional Sweet Tea with local dairy.

Traditional Sweet Tea with local dairy.

Sweet Iced Tea in the south is like pizza in NYC, stereotypical and therefore, boring in relation to all the trendy new foods and drinks available. Current food + drink trends are about exotic new ingredients and breaking conventions (Sriracha on scrambled eggs, coconut water as sports drink, quinoa instead of rice, shifting to tea from coffee for caffeine, etc.) And no Southerner puts milk in their iced tea. That’s not the tradition. Southern Cream Tea breaks the convention of milk-free tea while introducing a more exotic (but wholesome and friendly) milk, putting it right on trend.

The tea is southern, (Charleston Tea Co. black tea) and adding milk to it is a first for the south. The founders of Southern Cream Tea are Southerners with an interest in food that is local and pure. The people living in the South and Southeast are conscious of a new movement in food and drink, and Southern Cream Tea will feel like it’s entirely part of it.


Customers: In order to deliver the authentic value proposition, Southern Cream Tea must overcome the barrier of packaged, RTD southern sweet tea: REAL Southern sweet tea is made slow and at home. The communication must tell its story of how its made, with simple natural LOCAL ingredients in small batches, and then promote the experience. This story will be told entirely through our blog, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr posts. We will also engage social influencers, food bloggers and even local news networks to tell our story.

Because we are in the Age of the Customer, all of our product’s information-including customer experiences-is now easily and abundantly available without the luxury of being controlled, filtered or distributed by us. Thus it is critical that Southern Cream Tea’s media channels are direct conversations to the consumer. Reacting to and openly initiating conversation are integral to our communication strategy.

Key Partners & Cost Structure:

We will source milk as a wholesale buyer from local dairies specializing in non-homogenized Creamline milk, but the goal is to partner with one exclusively in each market to streamline costs and logistics. We will use Charleston Tea Co. for our Southern tea, but could use another tea supplier if an equally authentic and higher value product is available. To begin, we will rely on an initial investment from the Venture Creation Competition. This investment will cover the initial costs for dairy production facility partnerships, purchase of raw materials, and small storage and transport of our product to the weekly farmer’s markets. We expect to repay this amount in less than 3 year’s time if we maintain monthly gross profit of $277, roughly $70 per week (conservatively).

Business Model Canvas

Download the business model canvas here.