Tory Burch is investing $100,000 in a new brand of tea as part of her foundation’s annual Fellows Program.
The foundation selected Sashee Chandran to receive the grant after a three-day workshop held in New York that included nine other women with emerging businesses, all of whom received a $10,000 grant, as well.
But Chandran’s Los Angeles-based Tea Drops business, which is owned and operated by minority women making organic dissolvable tea, won out in the end.
“We were extremely impressed with Sashee’s pitch and ambitions to disrupt the tea market,” Burch said in a statement. “We are excited to see how this investment will allow her business to grow and reach new customers.”
Chandran said she’s planning to use the money to grow her online business and invest more in digital marketing.
This is the third year of Burch’s Fellows Program and the panel of judges who participated in the workshop and ultimately voted on who would receive the grant included Burch; Jesse Draper, a founding parter of Halogen Ventures; Adam Glassman, creative director of O Magazine: Stephanie Mehta, editor in chief of Fast Company, and Tony Than, chief executive officer of investment firm Cue Ball.
Since the Tory Burch Foundation launched in 2015, it’s granted more than $500,000 to women-led businesses, and Laurie Fabiano, the foundation’s president, said, “We’re seeing results.”
The foundation boasted that 20 percent of the final companies that participated in the Fellows program have surpassed $1 million in annual revenue. Overall, only 2 percent of women-owned business reach that level. As well as the Fellows program, the foundation operates a Capital Program with Bank of America that has loaned $36 million to 1,775 female entrepreneurs.
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