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Meet Steve O’Dell of Tenzo Tea in West Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Steve O’Dell.

Steve, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The first experience I had with Entrepreneurship was a communications course at UCLA with Professor Steven Peterson. It was the only class I actually enjoyed (and went to) while at UCLA. The summer after that class I started my first company called the Odd Job Bros, which was a big success for me at the time. When I came back to school, I was diving head first into entrepreneurship whenever I could. I founded and worked on several startups and then finally, made the leap and dropped out of UCLA. A few months later, I founded Tenzo Tea with my longtime friend, Robbie Page.

Has it been a smooth road?
Entrepreneurship is never a smooth road. The biggest challenge we faced initially was getting customers. We had absolutely no clue how to build an e-commerce company, no idea how digital marketing worked, and no experience with food and beverage products. In order to fight these problems, we decided to focus a majority of our time on learning. In that first year, Robbie and I probably read upwards of 200 books, listened to 100’s of podcasts, and spoke with as many business leaders as possible.

After that initial boost – we started to scale and that brought on a slew of new and exciting challenges. The hardest one for me was figuring out how to raise a legitimate round of funding. For the first two months of our Seed Round, all I heard was “no” again and again and again. But, for every “no” I heard, I turned it around and asked “why”, then I’d fix whatever problem they mentioned and try again. The key here was iterating, improving and staying persistence.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Tenzo Tea – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Tenzo Tea believes in making the world a healthier place. We specialize in matcha, one of the healthiest superfoods on the planet. But, unlike most of the matcha in the US, Tenzo Tea is ceremonial, 100% organic, and pure (i.e. there aren’t any additives). Tenzo Tea is sold on our website and also in nearly 150 locations around Los Angeles.

What’s really special about Tenzo Tea is how many people have been positively impacted by switching from unhealthy drinks to Tenzo. Sometimes I answer customer service calls, and I always love when someone calls just to tell us how much the product has helped them. For example, there are several VERY inspiring Tenzo customers who have lost upwards of 100 lbs. Other people have quit coffee and energy drinks entirely.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
There is so much to like about Los Angeles, but my favorite part is the people. I love how hard everyone is hustling. I love how many entrepreneurs there are. I couldn’t be more excited to build Tenzo Tea here!

My least favorite part about the city is the homeless situation. We need to prioritize affordable low-income housing, there’s no reason that you should see 20 homeless people sleeping on the city hall lawn…

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Jenna

    May 2, 2018 at 04:49

    Awesome article! Congrats Steve and the Tenzo Team… you all are killin’ it!

  2. Tammy Wickens

    May 3, 2018 at 15:48

    Congrats guys!! Cal and Tammy

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