Community Stories: Retea Cups

Posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Retea Cups is a student-run business with a mission to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics by providing sustainable ways of drinking bubble tea. 

The company was founded in 2019 by Toby Zhou, who is currently in her 4th year at UofG, majoring in Applied Human Nutrition and getting a minor in Marketing! 

We sat down with Toby to learn more about her business and entrepreneurial journey. Check out our interview below!


What inspired you to start your business?

It has always been a goal of mine to be more environmentally conscious, especially by reducing my single-use plastic waste! It wasn't until the end of my second year of university where I understood just how much waste came from my favourite drink, bubble tea. I could not find many sustainable alternatives to drinking bubble tea in the market, which pushed me into making a DIY version of a reusable bubble tea cup! 

As I started sharing my creation to my family and friends, I realised so many other eco-conscious bubble tea lovers had the same issue as me and the demand for my cups naturally increased. This inspired me to start my business because I knew I could make a difference and provide a sustainable solution to this problem!

What problem were you trying to solve?

I was, and I’m still, trying to solve the growing consumption of single-use plastics that came from bubble tea. What started off as a cup for bubble tea, ended up becoming a cup for all your favourite beverages such as coffee, smoothies, juices, and more!

What helps you to keep generating new ideas to grow or change your business?

There are many ways to keep generating new ideas/changes for my business, but I personally find that discussing and getting feedback from my family, friends, and customers is the most helpful. 

What’s a piece of advice you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Don't be afraid to take a risk, big or small! If you have a great business idea, go for it. You don't always need the "big” or “perfect” idea to start a company. Look for the one small thing you could launch a company around that customers see as a problem and go from there! 

If you want to limit how much single-use plastic you use, while also having a super trendy glass for your bubble tea check out Rea Tea's website and place your order https://www.reteacups.ca/.

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