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100% natural vitamin tea

About us

Universal Village is a fair trade company that has a healthy distaste for the status quo when it comes to businesses lack of social and environmental care. Consequently, we specialise in healthy, fairly traded products for consumers who care about their health and who want to have a positive impact on the world.

To create our fair trade teas, we source certified fair trade ingredients from around the world and inform consumers (ie you!) about where they come from and how they were traded.

Our innovative teas include our new vitamin tea, which is the world’s first range of 100% natural vitamin and mineral teas. Smart people want healthy and natural products and Universal Village, through the Eloments brand is at the forefront of providing the most nutritional teas with the latest trending and traditional flavours.

History - Vomiting in India, tea plantations in Kenya

Nicole Lamond made the decision to start a fair trade business in 1998 after returning from a trip to India and East Africa. Along with the typical, memorable backpacking experiences – stolen bags, bed bugs, vomiting all night from food poisoning – there was one memory that stood out.  

You can read the whole story here, but to cut a long story short, seeing tea plantations and the poor working and pay conditions inspired Nicole to start a fair trade business upon her return to Melbourne, Australia.

Realising the pitiful pay that plantation workers received, began a journey of questioning the status quo; of how business is done, how the people in power make their decisions, and can a business be run so that all people involved can be paid a living wage?

Some years later, Nicole launched the Qi Tea brand into supermarkets, where it has been ranged to this day. Qi Tea led the way in the innovation of functional teas and introduced concepts such as Detox, Relax and Wellness into Australian supermarkets, along with Fairtrade, of course.

The beginnings of Eloments

Wanting to innovate further, Nicole saw another opportunity arising from three converging trends; firstly, tea drinkers really appreciated the functionality of the teas and were looking for other things tea could do. Secondly, most people were trying to eschew artificial ingredients from their diets and lastly, the purchase of vitamin supplements was on the rise. From these, Nicole canvassed the idea of putting natural vitamins in tea - synthetic nutrients were never considered - and people jumped at the idea, hence Eloments started its journey from conception through to manufacture (2 years in all).

A new partnership

In the meantime, Nicole had been attending a creative writing group in Melbourne for several years (the results of which you will not be exposed to!) and met her new business partner, Julie Hirsch.  In between critiquing young adult and fantasy novels, poetry and short stories about confused mice (that one was really good), Nicole realised that Julie would be the perfect business partner. Julie is not only a master with the pen, but a whip-smart, business savvy woman who can really get an amazing amount of shit (excuse the French) done in a short amount of time. A new phase in the business had begun!

Onwards and upwards

Julie and Nicole are thrilled to be working alongside others who are pushing the boundaries of what it means to run an ethical business and to provide tea lovers with the ultimate cuppa. We love the nitty gritty work of how to create an equitable supply chain, of getting each blend perfect, of creating our beautiful packs of tea and sending them out into the world.

For now, it’s head down to get through the enormous amount of work that goes with running a company, but over the next few years we hope to get out and meet as many of our wonderful tea drinkers as we can (who are generally an extremely congenial bunch).

Nicole Lamond

Co-founder, CEO

Julie Hirsch

Co-founder, COO

Jackie Colmar

Graham Robertson

Advsiory Board member

Dale Simpson

Advisory Board member

Biscuit

Therapeutic aid

Our values

Ethics

It’s important to be ethical in small things as well as the big things and to be questioning your beliefs and values always. In my ethics class during my Masters of Entrepreneurship, someone asked ‘how do you know if something’s ethical or not?’ The lecturer answered, if you have no problem with your action being splashed across the front page of a newspaper, it’s probably okay. I think that holds true.

Click here and let us know if you think we’ve stuffed something up

Ego

You pretty much have to leave your ego at the door if you come and work with us. No exceptions. Everyone g ets kind, but direct feedback. Our office motto is ‘Don’t be a dick’ ☺

Working together as a team to get the best outcome is what turns us on.

Elite (or anal)

We want to be really, really good at what we do. Whether it’s creating something as exciting as a new spreadsheet (wow!), procuring ingredients for a new blend of tea, workshopping strategy or making 100 calls to find the most environmentally friendly printer, that’s us.

If you can see something you think we should improve, let us know

Transparency

Transparency would solve most of the world’s problems (don’t get us started!). Refer to the story about the news on the front page of the newspaper under ‘Ethics’. I once heard someone use the phrase ‘You are as sick as you are secret.’ I think that is true for people through to nation states.

New New New (Innovation)

We love new ideas. Big ideas. Small ideas. We are idea junkies and we love stopping work to spontaneously contemplate a new twist on something old, a new slant on a problem, a variation on a process that will help us do something better.

Innovation is our goal, our ability to imagine a better world is our muse.