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074: From the Israeli Defense Forces to the Queen of Detoxing  -  Adi Arezzini

Adi Arezzini is the CEO and co-founder of Teami Blends. While serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, Adi experienced digestive issues, and she began experimenting with loose leaf tea blends as a natural remedy. The high-quality teas she made began to uncover the root of her problem – an excess of toxins built up in her digestive tract. After her unique blend also solved similar digestion issues with her friends, Adi saw the potential and began looking to different varieties of tea to combat other common issues such as fatigue, depleted immune system, stress, and insomnia. At just 23 years of age, Adi created Teami Blends and has since expanded the lifestyle brand into the beauty industry with tea-infused beauty oils and green tea mask and scrub. Teami made the INC 5,000 in 2018, with $10 Million in Revenue, has 60 employees and has grown by over 2,000% in the last three years.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • When Adi’s digestive issues began and how she tried to address them.
  • How Adi created her own unique blend of loose leaf teas.
  • The way Teami teas cleanses the colon and supports overall health.
  • Why Teami makes tumblers in so many different colors.

Connect with Adi:

Launch Your Life – online course and coaching experience

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Interview Transcript

Well, Adi, thank you so much for taking some time to join me today. I really appreciate it.

Thank you so much for having me.

Yeah, well, I want to first talk about some health challenges that you had a number of years ago. What were those challenges and how were you trying to deal with them?

You know, when I was in my early twenties around twenty-one, twenty-two, I started having really bad digestive issues. To the point where I wasn’t digesting my food properly, meaning that I was bloated all the time and that I wasn’t going to the bathroom. I was going to the bathroom maybe one time per week. Now that is just not the way that your body is supposed to function.

It’s not a fun way to live.

It’s not and I was so heavily affected by the mood swings and how I felt and how uncomfortable I felt, I was very unhappy feeling this way. And there are actually so many Americans that feel this way too, but nobody really talks about it. I was in the Israeli Defense Forces while I was going through this health crisis in my life and I knew that something was wrong because I’m twenty-two years old, so I shouldn’t even be going through this.

We need to back up. I’ve read your bio but Israeli Defense Force, excuse my ignorance, is that like our Army or Marines? What is that equivalent to in the U.S.?

The Army.

Man, this was by choice you signed up?

I did. I volunteered when I was nineteen. Girls do two years and boys do three years. If you live in Israel, it’s mandatory but I lived in America, so I didn’t have to do it. But I was in a point in my life that I just had zero direction in my life. Didn’t go to college. Didn’t know what I was going to do. All I knew is that I needed to make money and I was super burnt out and decided to join the Army almost for an experience. I was looking to experience something outside of grinding forty hours a week as a nineteen year old.

I just feel like Israeli Defense Forces sounds so much cooler than Army.

It does. I mean, it also has a very group feeling because it has the word “defense” in it and not “attack”. So, it’s like we are here to defend our country and that is what we’re doing and it says it in the title, so I think that that’s very smart. But it definitely gave me an incredible experience.

Back to bloating now. What did you try to do to remedy this?

So, I did a lot of things. I started drinking a ton of water and that didn’t resolve it. I started exercising more and that didn’t resolve it. I started eating more fibrous foods, that didn’t resolve it. I started cutting out certain foods; gluten and carbs and different things that I was trying out, but it was very difficult to do in the setting of the Army, because you’re eating in a cafeteria. So, it’s not like I was going to the grocery store and being able to say, “Okay, I’m going to buy this and it’s going to be organic and I’m going to buy this.” I was eating foods that were mass produced for three thousand to five thousand people at a time. So, they’re using heavy oils and not organic, not fresh produce and my body at a certain point just broke down – is what ended up happening.

I actually forgot about this but I even used to take figs and prunes, which are really good for stimulating digestion naturally, and I would steep them in water over night and then I would drink the water and eat the figs and the prunes in the morning and it would help my digestion, but it wasn’t like a long term fix for me. So, I ended up having a colonic, which is a procedure or a treatment that they literally take a tube and stick it up your butt and flush water up there in order to get out all this literal crap that’s in your body. Number one, it’s not a fun experience. It’s not like you’re going to the spa or you’re getting a massage. It was very uncomfortable for me.

And people do this regularly. Some people really enjoy it.

They do, and they feel light and they feel cleaned out. I’m not here against colonics, it was just for me, it was too expensive and too outside of my comfort zone of what I believed. A healthy body should be able to digest it’s food and go to the bathroom in our ideal world. But going through that treatment really opened my eyes because I felt and saw all the stuff that was coming out of me and it was the first thing that gave me reality that our body store and accumulate toxins over time. And most people will never understand that in their lifetime, because we’re not walking around with x-ray machines that are showing us our gut and the gut health connection is only now being talked about.

And even now, most Americans grow up on chemical and processed foods. They just do and they don’t have it affect their bodies, because our bodies are so strong, but only when they turn twenty-five, when they turn thirty, when they turn thirty-five, things start changing for them and they’re like, “I didn’t feel this way when I was twenty. Why am I feeling this way now?” And what I found for me is that it was an accumulation of those toxins over time and no matter what I was doing presently to fix it, whether it was water or changing my diet or fiber, nothing was handling it because I had this accumulation. I had this stored up, backed up amount of toxins and then that’s when I started looking into natural, holistic alternatives.

And at what point did tea become part of the solution? And what were the effects?

Well, I started reading books from doctors and chiropractors and they just kind of mentioned in there one of the natural solutions is tea. So, I was like, “Okay, great. I’m going to find some cleansing teas and I’m going to try this out.” So, I went to Whole Foods and I bought a bunch of teas that said “Liver Cleanse”, “Kidney Cleanse”, “Detox”, and they were all between five to eight dollars. I tried them all and they all tasted fine, but they didn’t do anything for me. They didn’t do anything, so I was like, “Well, this doesn’t work but theoretically it should.” So, then I started diving down the difference between high quality loose leaf tea and powdered teas that are in bags of tea that people that when they think of tea, they usually think of a powder inside of a teabag. So, that’s when I started educating myself on these high quality ingredients. So, that’s what I ended up doing.

And what is it about the tea itself that rids a body of toxins? How does that work medically?

There’s two teas that are part of our detox programs. There is the morning tea that helps boost metabolism, raise energy and suppress cravings, which is happening through the yerba mate, through the oolong, through the ingredients that have been shown to do that in traditional usage. So, it’s just a combination of those teas together in the right quantities. So, I drink my skinny tea in the morning instead of coffee, personally. It doesn’t mean you have to but I get enough energy out of that every day and I don’t have spikes and crashes.

And then the nighttime colon cleanse is really the magical tea because this stored accumulation that we have in our gut, it is as hard as a rock, as hard as a car tire. So, what the colon cleanse does and it uses ingredients such as Senna and such as hawthorn and Senna is a very controversial ingredient that I’m willing to talk about openly because Senna has gotten a really bad wrap about there because there’s different qualities of Senna.

And that’s a tea?

Yeah, it’s a tea ingredient.

S-E-N-N-A?

Yup.

And it’s actually a tea leaf?

Yup.

Okay, educate me.

It’s controversial because of the fact that it creates an effect on the body that rids it of toxins very quickly. So, they’re like, “Well, is that healthy that you’re ridding the body of toxins? The body is supposed to detoxify itself.” So, it does get controversial. In our colon tea that is the cleansing tea, we make sure that we put the right amount of Senna, not too much, that won’t dehydrate the body and there’s only fifteen teabags. It’s every other night for thirty days. It’s not meant to be a long term thing that people become dependent on.

The real purpose of this for me is to help Americans that have been eating junk food their entire lives and the amount of toxins they have in their body is overwhelming and now they’re in their mid-thirties and they’re eating a healthier diet but their body isn’t changing. To me and what I found for myself is that these accumulated toxins are preventing the body from almost adjusting to a healthier diet or adjusting to what’s happening today.

So, if I drink the colon cleansing tea, fifteen tea bags, that’s thirty days every other day, what would I anticipate experiencing?

So, everybody has their own experience because everybody has different levels of toxins. I don’t know what you ate yesterday and I don’t know what you ate five years ago. However, it all depends about how long you steep the tea. If you steep the tea for five minutes, you’re going to have a more gentle effect. If you steep it for thirty minutes, you’re going to have a stronger effect. It depends how willing you are to go to the bathroom just to be fully honest.

I’m headed to the bathroom. I’m drinking it and I’m sitting on the toilet simultaneously. Not that fast?

No, usually you drink it at night before bed and in the morning,  you’re going to go to the bathroom and you are going to be shocked just as I was shocked when I got a colonic.

Really?

You’re going to say to yourself, where is that coming from?

Oh, my.

“Where is that coming from?” There’s so much waste in the body.

I’ve got to try this.

Oh, well, I’ll make sure that my assistant sends you some.

That sounds crazy.

Yeah, but the crazy thing is how good you feel when those toxins are out of your body. You feel light, you feel refreshed and my purpose really with this program is to get people to a point where they feel like themselves in their own skin and then healthy diet and healthy exercise is all that they need.

How many times a year do you suggest someone doing a colon cleansing?

Really depends. There are people that do it six, seven times a year because that’s what they feel is best for their body and that’s what they need. I probably think that I personally do it more four to five times a year, but that’s also because my body is very sensitive. If I eat junk food, my body reacts pretty crazy because my body likes clean foods. So, when I eat things that are not clean, my body doesn’t like it. It can get sick. It can feel icky. So, I try to do juice cleanses and do our tiny thirty day detox maybe four or five times a year just to feel light and feel refreshed and make sure that I’m feeling my best.

What is the difference between your detox teas and all the rest that are on the market? Because I see there is some controversy it seems like. I’m not in the health and fitness industry, that’s not my total focus but I am aware of the controversies around the detox teas. How is your tea different?

That’s a great question. Number one, it all comes down to ingredients. So, we actually have a video on our YouTube channel that I show my tea ingredients and their quality in comparison to other tea brands that claim to have the same effects. So, it all comes down to ingredients. I’ve tasted and I’ve tried all of their teas and they didn’t work for me and that’s why I created my own.

I didn’t come out here to create a business, I was looking to solve my own problem and I was able to solve it with this product that I created because the other ones didn’t work for me. So, I think that the main difference is the quality. We get so many customers from those other brands that say, “XYZ didn’t work for me, will yours work?” And we have to kind of be like, “Yeah, try it. See how it works for you,” and then they always see amazing results. The other aspect of it is that these other brands are only dedicated to this idea of being skinny.

Weight loss.

Weight loss, and they are promoting it as a quick fix. So, I’m telling you here on this podcast that I don’t want people to use it as a quick fix. I want people to use it as they would do a juice cleanse or like my husband if he decides, “You know what? I’m feeling kind of tired, my energy is really down. I’m going to go paleo for a month.” So, it doesn’t mean that he needs to be paleo for the rest of his life necessarily, but he’s doing something to get his body lighter and to get it almost reset and recharged.

So, that’s really my viewpoint on it and I think that that is one of the biggest differences. It’s hard to tell on a website because you’re not talking to me, but that’s one of my main differences between me and these other companies that are just like, “Drink this tea and lose weight. Drink this tea and be skinny.” That’s not really my purpose. My purpose is to help people feel better so that they can go on living a happy, healthy lifestyle, not necessarily need to be using my products all the time.

Okay, let’s go back to the actual product development. So, you started kind of experimenting with different teas. At what point did you say, “Okay, I’ve got to create my own”? Or did you start blending things together? How did this come about to create Teami?

Well, it was a pretty funny story. So, after I tried the different teas from Whole Foods that didn’t work for me, I ordered some of these other detox teas from Australia and from all these other places just like some bulk ingredients of different teas. And then I randomly was at a get together in Miami at a friend’s house and I met a guy and he asked me what I did. I was a personal trainer at the time, so I said, “I’m a personal trainer. I do spin classes,” and he said to me, “Oh, that’s really cool. I manufacture tea and coffee.” I was like, “Oh, you do, do you?” And we started chatting and he’s my business partner now and since then. So, he was actually able to bring this idea to fruition because he had been manufacturing tea for over five years.

Wow, and so then you guys began to work together on how do these blends create a detoxifying environment in the body?

Yeah, and research and testing and taste-testing and seeing how it is and how it works.

And you’ve only been doing this for six years now? Is that right?

It’ll be six in October, yes.

Six years and the company has just exploded. I know it feels like probably sixty years when you look back, it doesn’t feel like overnight. It’s a long time. What would you say has been the key to your success in this process?

I think number one is that I was doing things that the other detox companies weren’t doing. So, my Instagram feed and what I was promoting was different and I think that that was eye-catching for customers. And my messaging was different, it’s not just a tea, it’s a lifestyle. Be happy, be healthy. And continuously innovating our products. Most of these other companies that you would consider our competitors, which I don’t even consider in the same space as us anymore, they just have that one product and so we’ve expanded into skincare and we’ve expanded into even a greens powder.

We really want to be a healthy lifestyle marketplace for people that are looking to feel better in their lives no matter what stage of their life they’re at. So, I think that one of the things that made us more successful, that we had more to offer to our customers. We didn’t just have that one SKU. We had the tea but we also had a nighttime tea and we had a nursing tea for moms and we had different tumblers – travel tumblers that you could take on the go. So, I think being able to offer your customers more options keeps them around longer.

You even have a skincare refrigerator now.

Just launched right now.

What the heck? I was blown away. I thought, “This is really cool.” A refrigerator for your makeup products that you would put maybe in your bathroom or bedroom or something. What’s the purpose?

So, we create skincare products that are completely natural and if anybody listening here uses natural skincare, you know that when you’re not using chemical preservatives, the products don’t last as long as chemical preservative ones do. So, a lot of people that use natural skincare products and skincare products in general, have been putting their products in the fridge to keep them chill, to keep them at thirty-five to forty degrees instead of on your bathroom counter that is seventy-five to eighty degrees. So, what happens is the product gets their shelf life extended by forty percent and it’s chilling the skincare, so that when you’re putting it on your skin, you’re getting the extra benefit of reducing puffiness and reducing inflammation. And it’s just a great way to store everything in an organized fashion.

And it’s beautiful. It’s a cute little refrigerator. I liked it. It was nice.

Thank you.

So, this is an amazing feat of building a company with revenue upwards of eight figures in a short period of time – six years. I know you have a business partner that’s helping you with product development, but how have you personally been able to manage this? What have been some of your learnings along the way? This is a really big deal.

I know and I want to make it clear that I still go through ups and downs. Maybe other business owners or other podcasts guests won’t say that but the e-commerce and social media changes on a daily basis. An algorithm changes and our whole business goes to shit, no kidding. So, we’re experiencing those things every year as they come. So, we might be doing really well one year and the other year we might have to pivot and make changes.

But I think that one of the things that has allowed us to scale in this way, is by consistently promoting with no break. So, we’ve been posting on Instagram four times a day for the last five and a half years. No matter what’s happening with the algorithm, I’m just like, “Fuck it, let’s post. Let’s talk about our products,” and I think that that consistency and that persistence, it accumulates and it creates a snowball effect.

And you’re tumbler, I mean, every photo I see of you, the thing is glued in your hand. I mean, I’m surprised you don’t have it in your hand right now. I think you sleep with that thing in your hand. It’s like, “Teami branding, look at me. I’m meeting the president of the United States, I just happen to have my tumbler here.” You’re so good at it.  Yeah, it’s great.

Thank you, my friend says I’m a walking Teami billboard and it’s true. You know what the tumbler is for me? It’s this personal goal that I wanted to have, which is people when they walk around with a coffee cup or a Starbucks cup or a Dunkin’ Donuts cup or whatever it is, there’s a feeling of coolness that goes along with it. “I just woke up, here’s my coffee, I’m going to hustle now.” It’s this correlation through the media of hustle, work hard or even if it’s like you’re enjoying your time in the morning, it goes with coffee.

Now I’m not an anti-coffee person, that’s something that everybody needs to know. I drink coffee once a week with my husband because I enjoy getting a latte, but I don’t need it for energy. My husband, we’re from Portland, coffee is our craft brew up there. But drinking tea or doing this detox doesn’t sound so fun. If somebody wants to do this detox, how can I make it easy for them to do it while they’re working? And to have something that they can hold and drink that product? And that’s how we came out with the tumbler.

No other detox company out there has a tumbler like this. It doesn’t make any sense. How are people going to use this tea that you just sold them? So, this BPA free travel tumbler, it allows you to put your tea in it, add hot water and it has a strainer and you take it to work and you take it your gym class or you take it wherever you want, and you can also use that tumbler to make smoothies and to put detox water and to put water in general. You can use it for whatever, so I think that the tumbler was one of the main points of growth for us. Where we have it in sixteen different colors now and our customers buy new ones, which is crazy. We come out with a new color that they love, they’ll buy a new tumbler.

Match their outfit.

And it’s what they like. And when I was making the tumbler, I had no idea. I made one. I made one green one and then somebody asked me, “Hey, I’d love one in pink.” I was like, “Okay, yes I’ll make one in pink,” and then it just kind of spiraled. So, now we have all the colors of the rainbow. We have pastel colors. We have customers that really own almost all of the colors.

Now just for somebody who hasn’t experienced this, you put the loose tea leaves in the top, is that correct?

That’s correct.

And you pour the hot water over the tea leaves in the tumbler?

Correct.

So, that’s not a steeping then, is it?

Yes, then you add the strainer at the top.

Okay, and so then the leaves are just sitting on the top of the water in the tumbler?

No, they’re sitting in the body of it.

In the body of it? Okay.

Yeah, the body. They’re floating in there.

Okay, alright.

You don’t need to take them out. It tastes delicious, you don’t need to take out the leaves.

They’re just hanging out in there.

Yeah, somebody comes up to me, “Do you have a salad inside of your water?” Because they’re huge leaves, they start off really, really small and then they expand into these beautiful big leaves because that’s the biggest difference between drinking powdered tea. I’m not talking about matcha, I’m talking about powdered blends that are very low quality. Is that you’re not drinking the tea leaf, so you’re not getting the benefits of that tea leaf because you’re not drinking it. With our blends, you’re getting the entire tea leaf. You’re seeing it expand and then you’re getting the nutrients from it.

Let’s talk for just a second about someone who’s listening to the podcast who has an idea or a passion for a product, something that they are wanting to develop. How would you encourage them to kind of take a next step in their thought process?

You know, I think that we can get a little bit stuck when it comes to the “how”. “How will I do this?” And I can say that even for myself when I’m trying something new, “How will I do this?” And I can get stuck there for a while. So, I just suggest taking small steps, even if you’re only spending an hour on it a day, if you do that, it will accumulate over time and you will get something done. And so, don’t try to take everything all at once, just go step by step by step until you feel a little bit more confident in what you’re doing.

So, you’re six years in. Let’s now look six years out – twelve years, right? Where do you want to be six years from? We’re not worried about the “how” like you just said, what does that vision look like six years from now? What do you want to be doing?

I think that I want Teami to be a more well-known brand. There’s a lot of people that know about us but a lot of people that don’t. So, I just want our brand name to be more recognized and when you say it, the person says, “Oh, I know what that is.” So, continue to create good products that people want and need in their lives, that they’re excited about. And if I can move into a little bit more of a content role, where I’m creating free content for my customers, I think that that’s really the next step for me that I haven’t really been able to accomplish.

I’ve just been creating and selling products to a degree and I think that creating content is actually much more difficult than what I’m doing today. And finding time in owning a business to then create free content is very challenging for me and I’ve never done it before. So, I think that if we’re looking six years out, that I am doing that and I have overcome the learning curve on how to do that correctly.

Awesome. Well Adi, you have been gracious to give our listeners a discount code of 20% off, so they can test some of the Teami blends. So, if they use the discount code INSPO at www.teamiblends.com, INSPO gets you twenty percent off, that’s a good way to start – of anything on the website.

Yeah, that’s right.

Does it even work on the refrigerator? That’s a big discount on the refrigerator.

Yeah, it probably will work on the refrigerator because the minimum is very low.

That’s crazy. I’m buying a refrigerator from Teami Blends.

Oh, my God.

I don’t know, maybe. That’d be cool.

I don’t know, if you have a wife, she says that’s probably a great present.

Oh, I do. That could be, I don’t know. Yeah, “Here’s a refrigerator!” I bought her a grill for Mother’s Day one time.

Oh, my gosh.

Because she’s the griller in the family. I don’t grill. She was so excited, I posted it on social media. I’m like, “Hey, I bought my wife a grill.” People were not as excited as she was.

So, I’ve got a confession to make, Adi. I have never, ever tasted hot tea before.

There’s no way that’s true. Are you serious?

It’s true. It’s true. I’m forty-six years old, I’ve never tasted hot tea. I’m not a big hot drink drinker. I’ve tried coffee once when I was twelve. I just interviewed a wonderful gal, she calls herself “The Cold Brew Chick”, so she’s all about cold brew; www.coldbrewchick.com. She doesn’t sell anything, she just reviews cold brews. So, I told her I would try a cold brew for the very first time and I did. I didn’t like it. I hated it because it tastes like coffee. I don’t like coffee. So, I’ve never tried hot tea before. I grew up in Kentucky, a lot of sweet tea. I don’t think that’s the kind of detox that you’re looking for.

It’s not, and that sweet tea is so bad for you.

Oh, it’s so good.

It’s just pounds and pounds of sugar.

Oh, Chick-fil-A sweet tea, Adi. Come on! It’s killing me.

Just becoming addicts.

I know, it’s killing me.

I mean, you’re going to try it and you’re going to be like, “Wow.” You can always add sweeteners and stevia and honey or agave or lemon to your tea.

I feel like I’m cheating.

No.

So, I’m going to try the tea. Now you say put in the hot water so it steeps.

Yes.

But then, do you drink it hot?

Well, it’s pretty hot when you put it in, so I just pop the top open, let it cool down a little bit. But there are definitely people that like their tea cold. So, if you want, you can stick it in the fridge and drink it later.

Oh, okay.

But you have to add hot water first.

To steep it.

You have to.

Hot water, steep it, then I can put it in the fridge, then I can drink it. Okay.

Yeah, and again, don’t feel weird about adding honey or doing other things. You definitely can do that.

Can I add some sweet tea to the detox tea?

No! No, that is not allowed. Nothing chemical can go inside, okay?

How is sweet tea from Chick-fil-A a chemical? That’s all natural, why would they sell me a chemical? Chick-fil-A has my best interest in mind.

I would need to go and see what’s in that sweet tea, that’s all that I know. I have an employee that works for us and she was raised in Missouri and very southern and her whole family is just like Coca-Cola and deep fried foods and that’s just natural. When you go out to eat, you have a Pepsi, you have a Cola, and she literally had to go through withdrawals from being an addict to soda and switching over to water has been a huge transition for her.

And I’m so passionate because so many Americans are like her and so many Americans have grown up drinking soda that we’re not realizing how it can affect people’s bodies long term. So, if I can help them with this detox, I can help them get a kickstart to living a happier, healthier lifestyle. Feeling better, to giving them motivation to start working out or to start changing their diet. I just want to be a doorway, a first step for people.

Did you make her quit soda in order to stay employed?

Kind of.

Oh, my gosh.

No, no, no. Not really. I think that I’m just a good influence.

Yeah, the influence was, “If you want to stick around, start drinking some tea.”

No, she came to me that she had that problem. So, I was like, “Okay, I’ll help you.” You know how you feel after you’re drinking something and you feel not well? If you’re twenty-eight years old and you’re feeling tired, you shouldn’t be feeling that tired at this age. Many of us in our early to late twenties are exhausted. It’s totally unacceptable because my mom is in her sixties and has more energy than most twenty year olds.

Adi, thank you so much for taking time to just share about your journey. I’m so impressed. I’m so inspired by what you’re doing, and my hope is that people will not only be inspired by your story but that they will check out your product and that they would experience some health benefits as well. So, thank you so much.

Thank you for having me. I love helping others and sharing my story.


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