Bigelow Tea on YouTube Subscribe Follow Me on Pinterest Follow Us on Instagram

Archives for the ‘Cindi’s Message’ Category

A Well Deserved Dedication For Mr. Bigelow!

family mr bigelowI do not have the words to share with you how special yesterday was for my family.  My father, David C. Bigelow had the most well deserved surprise when he arrived at the school he went to from 1940 to 1944, Avon Old Farms School, for he discovered that we had dedicated the Learning Center in his name.  My grandmother, Ruth, had worked with the founder of the school,  Mrs. Riddle, to allow my father to go for free (they had lost everything during the depression).  It was to there that he truly attributed his ability to work with people (he was on the student council and was elected President of the class).

The learning center was done beautifully, having many framed photos and passages that my father had written over the years.  He was completely taken aback and so very humbled.  But then again, my father is a humble man.  The David C. Bigelow Learning Center-a special building to  help young students learn, grow and take the world to a better place….yes that is the spirit of my father.  It was a great day and one we all remember for a very long time….

Cindi Bigelow

 

(Image courtesy of http://www.seshuphotography.com)

Cindi Bigelow Shares a Memorable Evening At The School for Ethical Education’s Ethics Awards Dinner

cindi speaking 2014

The other night, I had the most wonderful opportunity to speak to high school students from all over Connecticut who won very special Laws of Life Awards for ethics in action.  The students were chosen based on essays they had written from experiences in their life that really taught them to be the best they can possibly be.

I, too, was honored to receive an Ethics in Action Award and be their keynote speaker.  During my address I shared with them experiences in my life that helped shape me to be the person I am today, both personally and professionally.  I shared many stories of my father who helped define who I am today.

My favorite story that I shared was when I first started working at Bigelow Tea.  I had just gotten my MBA and was feeling very excited about working and all the changes I would be able to make (in my opinion, to make the company better).  My father walked in after my first three days and asked me how things were going.  I looked up at him proudly and stated, “Fantastic! I changed this, I’ve done this, I’ve accomplished this. “He smiled nicely and then said to me, “I noticed you have some envelopes outside in the out basket,” (yes, we did have out-baskets back then), “and they’re missing some stamps.”  I said, “Oh, I brought in some bills to mail out.” And then he said, “Well, if you don’t put stamps on your envelopes, why should the other employees put stamps on theirs?  So, why don’t you go out there, grab your envelopes and put some stamps on them.” And then he looked at me and walked out the door.

I stood there for a minute or two, my head spinning.  That wasn’t how I anticipated my first business conversation with my father to go, but to this day, almost thirty years later, I have never forgotten what he said and I never will forget what that stood for.

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to share that with the students and I think that simple little story really resonated with them, as it did me, about the importance of ethics in business and ethics in life.

Spending time with exceptional students at the School for Ethical Education’s Ethics Awards Dinner and sharing some special stories in my life made for a memorable evening.

 

Cindi Bigelow

 

 

 

Cindi Bigelow Asks How Nice Are People Really?

03/11/2008 Cindy Bigelow portrait shoot Fairfield CT

I have had to do a fair amount of traveling lately for business and maybe I am just on a good roll of meeting people, but I have to say people are really nice. You just have to give them the opportunity. Everyone is alive and everyone cares but maybe they get caught up with the day to day, maybe they are completely preoccupied…whatever the thing that is going on in their life, I am convinced more than ever, if you give them the chance, you give them the benefit, they are really nice.

Tonight I flew back from a sales call out west. When I walked into the waiting room of the retailer earlier in that day and the receptionist could not have been more kind and with a bigger smile.  I thought I walked into someone’s home.

Then, the person in charge of social media for this account appeared in the lobby to discuss something with the receptionist. It piqued my interest as that is a part of my job and has required a significant amount of time lately.  I asked her a question and the next thing I knew we got into the most energized conversation. You would have thought we knew each other for quite some time.

Then I went into the meeting room with the buyer. Okay, the woman could not have been lovelier. At this point I was starting to pinch myself.  What is going on here?  She was intelligent, sweet and just plain real. She allowed me over an hour (rare in today’s fast paced environment). When I left I wanted to hug her (okay that would not have been appropriate, so I held back).

Then I rushed to the airport in my usual just barely making it style. While waiting in the terminal I witnessed some interesting human transactions. An attendant who sees a long-lost friend (also a flight attendant coming off an earlier flight), gives her the most beautiful “hello.” Her joyous greeting was so sincere.

Another woman who had just gotten off the plane but had lost her phone on board and was waiting to see if they could find it, was holding her young son but was so preoccupied she paid almost not attention to his sweet antics. There was a line of people starting to board the plane but were annoyed that they had to move over to another lane in order to get checked in. I decided to engage that line of people on the wrong side with a cute little comment about how lucky they were that being in “zone 1,” which meant they had to get into the sky priority line.  After thinking about it, they all felt pretty special and happily moved over.

I then boarded with them to find the most engaging young man as my “row mate.” He introduced himself, “Hi.  I am Kelvin”. Okay, I thought, he seemed nice enough but I had lots of work to do. Well, I did end up getting a fair amount of work done but at the same time we ended up having the most outstanding conversations. We talk about everything from religion, to child rearing, to business, to discussing how nice people really are.  With that, our flight attendant Carol joined in (yes, the same one that greeted her friend with such a huge hello). And then we started the debate, just how nice are people?

I thought about the day.  I thought about all I had experienced and I really have to say, I think all people have such a huge capacity for being nice. We just all have to give people the runway to do it. With the use of a warm smile, the sound of a kind word, the true look into someone’s eyes and the caring ear to really listen, everyone can be the best they can be. We just have to take the time to create the right environment.

Yes Carol, Kelvin and I all agreed in the end, people are really nice…we just have to let them know we care and let them know we see them with eyes that invite them to be nice.

 

-Cindi Bigelow
 

Bigelow Tea Supports Pancakes For Parkinson’s at UVA

photo 1 bigelow uva

Michael Kreamer, Cindi Bigelow and Cindi’s son David

I had such a great experience yesterday. Bigelow Tea helped support an event on the University of Virginia campus called Pancakes for Parkinson’s. A young man named Michael Kreamer contacted us to inquire if we would like to participate. We were delighted to help out.

So we sent him Bigelow Tea and of course some fun “swag” (Bigelow Tea shirts and hats). When I arrived at the event I had no idea what to expect. Well, to my delight, Bigelow Tea was a huge hit!!!  Michael stated he had run out of water (5 gallons!) almost immediately. He had to replace the water 5 times and eventually just could not keep running out to the local downtown to refill. The young students were lined up—a longer line than for the coffee!—and the biggest hit was the Vanilla Chai. These young people were major tea fans (thank the heavens).

Cindi Bigelow with Chris Hudson

 I just stood there trying to take it all in, observing which teas they gravitated toward (all four we supplied them with seemed like home runs: Vanilla ChaiGreen Tea with PomegranateLemon Ginger and English Teatime), restocking cups, restocking tea and just being in awe of the entire experience.

I have to say the newly designed foils looked truly outstanding in the basket that Michael displayed the teas in. A huge “thank you” to this young, entrepreneurial student for allowing us to be a part of this fantastic event for an outstanding cause on the UVA campus!

What a great day!

Cindi Bigelow


Bigelow Tea’s Cindi Bigelow Considers The Virtue Of Being Nice

CINDI

When I was invited to speak about leadership at a local high school recently, I found myself looking out into an audience of expectant faces – typical American parents concerned about their kids’ future at a time when jobs are scarce, college costs are high and people are debating the value of a liberal arts education.

I have two children, one who recently graduated with a degree in Spanish and English, and another who is studying business… so I know the competition is intense, compounded by the fact that some 78 million members of the Millennial Generation are entering the workforce at a time when some 76 million Baby Boomers don’t really want to retire.

The audience was looking for answers. I’m an established businesswoman and a parent. What could I tell them?

“What do you want your kids to be?” I asked. “Doctors? Lawyers? Investment bankers?” And I could see heads nodding in agreement around the room, at least until I threw them a curve ball and asked, “How many of you said in your minds, ‘I want my kids to be NICE?'” You could see their eyes open wide.

You see, in my mind, it’s of incredible importance, even though, I will admit, “niceness” isn’t on any curriculum at any liberal arts college I’ve visited. Furthermore, “niceness” isn’t part of any professional performance evaluation in Corporate America, probably because we sometimes operate under the misguided notion that nice guys, and girls, finish last. I’m here to dispel that notion. I look for “nice.” I need to see “nice,” not only in my kids, but also in my employees — all of them. Yes. I want my kids to be “nice” people, and I don’t really care if it’s one of the least-discussed values in modern America. But in my opinion, we need to talk about this virtue much more often. These words need to part of our daily lexicon.

A “good” education should make sure it’s teaching young people about values, and let’s be honest, young people need to focus on these virtues because in many ways, our society has taken kindness, niceness and compassion (things that our parents and grandparents in the Greatest Generation practiced so naturally), for granted. My list of what I want my kids to be is actually much longer than merely “nice.” In no particular order, I want them also to be:

  • Caring
  • Hard-working
  • Balanced
  • Fair
  • Resilient

I also have a list of what I don’t want them to be. I don’t want them to feel “entitled” or be disrespectful. And I certainly don’t want them to have an “attitude.” And how do I impart this important information to my kids? By “messaging” to them continually (maybe similar to how a company tries to advertise its products). This kind of steady repetition of values is essential in raising our children. “Say please and thank you.” “Hold the door.” “Be kind to your brother.” “Be friendly to the kid who doesn’t have any friends.” “Tell the truth even when it hurts.” “Learn how to say ‘I’m sorry.'”

And the good news is it works. I’ve seen the results.

This is how values were traditionally passed on from generation to generation, back in the era when we talked with our children at the dinner table and didn’t spend the time texting. The crazy thing is that research on the Millennial Generation shows they are looking for values, they crave them, and many are concerned with the direction our country is taking. There have been many studies of the Millennial Generation, particularly by marketers and retailers who recognize their buying power, not to mention politicians, who recognize their voting power.

Here are some of the relevant characteristics of a generation that is typically defined by its love of technology:

  • Some 63 percent of Millennials, as opposed to 55 percent of Baby Boomers, consider it their duty to care for their parents who are aging, according to a study by Focus on the Family. To me, that’s great news.
  • Equally important, 52 percent of people in the Focus on the Family study say that “being a good parent” is their most important goal in life. How can you argue with that personal goal?
  • At the same time, this is the generation that might just change the face of Corporate America. A poll by the Marist Institute of Public Opinion found that almost two-thirds of Millennials think the nation’s moral compass is pointed in the wrong direction.
  • In addition, they have a problem with “compartmentalization,” and 88 percent of them think people “have a different set of ethical standards in business than in their personal lives,” and 66 percent believe there should not be two sets of values governing people at home and in the office.
  • When it comes to the traditional juggling act of balancing work and family life, 75 percent of those polled said they believe they can balance the challenges of their careers — but not at the expense of their families.
What I find so inspiring is that the younger generation is already wired for success and committed to traditional values like kindness and compassion and integrity. We just have to keep reinforcing that message and not let our society’s love of professional and material success overshadow the importance of being a good and decent person.

When I finished the presentation I asked the group of parents one more time, “What do you want your kids to be when they grow up?” All of them raised their hands and said “Nice” at the same time. Made my heart warm and put a huge smile on my face!

Cindi Bigelow

Originally published by The Huffington Post


Service With Smiles In Appalachia

P1030998

What an amazing week with amazing young adults and fellow advisors…I just got back from Man, West Virginia, where I spent a week helping work on a home that was an ASP project. The Appalachia Service Project has been a wonderful experience for me over the last eight summers.

This year, 220 of us got on buses or loaded into vans to make the drive down. We then split into three different ASP centers in different West Virginia locations. My group of 75 was assigned to Man. From there we break up into teams – two adult advisors and five high school youths. Our assignment was a trailer that had been worked on for the three weeks preceding our arrival. Our week had us finishing up some insulation under the trailer (only a little, thank heavens), installing underpinning around the home, re-siding a side of the home, and straightening out an exterior door that had been installed the week before.

P1040145

Planted a very special garden

Well I am delighted to say we accomplished our entire mission (something I don’t always get to do) plus added a garden at the end of the trailer as a little extra. The family was so appreciative and was out there every chance they could helping us. The young children on my team were just so proud to see what they had accomplished. Two of the girls on my team were there for the first time and were clearly so touched by the process (one said it was the best week of her life). Funny, how can sleeping in a classroom, eating cafeteria food, crawling under a trailer, working in brutally bright sun wearing jeans and heavy boots be the best week of your life? Well, that is the beauty of the week…I can say it actually is one of my best weeks of the year, every year!

P1040029

Getting ready to put insulation under the trailer

I think it is the spirit of the people who go down there – from the moment we wake up at 6:45 am till we close our eyes sometime after 11 pm, everyone is so kind and loving. Everyone smiles, laughs and just is so happy to be down there doing this work. Just think about it, we are taking young children from a very fortunate community to one that has many, many issues of poverty and health…and we have one mission, to help make a home a little bit safer, warmer and dryer. Pretty nice in my opinion…everyone just feels so good about what they are doing and that they are even fortunate enough to be able to help others. Yes, it is an amazing week with amazing people. I am of course glad to be home, but I still feel the glow all around me of one of the most loving weeks of the year!

Cindi Bigelow

 

Bigelow Tea is terribly misrepresented about lead and not much I can do but watch…

 

Cindi Bigelow, CEO, Bigelow Tea

Wow what a heck of a week it has been.  I think I have not stopped looking at my computer for one week straight (as many on my team have also been doing). It is amazing how one “off- comment” can truly be so harmful.  I could never say what they did was to scare people but that was the net effect.  This one company called ConsumerLab.com, that is paid to do studies (they do not disclose who pays for each study) did a report on comparing green tea pills versus green tea bottled drinks versus green tea (in teabags and loose)-okay that is fair and actually something we welcome.

Results are interesting and  seem logical…. They have the same results our years and years of testing of many brands of bottled tea and tea in both bags and loose  have shown.  The ConsumerLab.com report finds  what we would have expected them to see, that bottled teas really have very little of the antioxidant EGCG, and yes tea (bags and loose) have much more.  However, an important point is missing, EGCG varies per crop so that what is found in the tea will change the next time it is tested.  And they also made a completely inaccurate statement that teabag paper somehow filters out heavy metals. (Heavy metals can’t release out of the leaf.)

ConsumerLab.com also tests the pills, bottles and tea for lead (which is smart as pills can have issues in this area), and the study clearly states that all the bottled teas and brewed green teas are clean from containing any significant amount.  The reason for that is very simple.  Lead, as well as most heavy metals,  can be found in the soil and can get into the plant.  However, lead does not release from the leaf into the water so virtually nothing infuses into the cup. (The teabag paper has nothing to do with it.) But for some reason the president  of ConsumerLab.com decides to mention that Bigelow and Lipton have lead in the leftover teabag.  But what he was focusing on was completely irrelevant, for as his study stated, all the brewed cups of tea were clean. Trace amounts of lead remain in the leaf, and the brew that you drink is clean.   This fact that the cup is 100% safe has gotten buried by the attention he has drawn to the leftover leaves!   People who love tea are inappropriately concerned that some brands are not safe.  Because of this side bar statement, some people are associating the words Bigelow tea and the word lead!

That started a firestorm that I could not believe unfolded in front of my eyes.  And the most unfortunate part is that there are people that read that statement who might not drink our tea because they are scared of what they read.

An important fact to know is that both the ConsumerLab.com tests and our independent labs show that a brewed cup of tea has (at the most) 1/5 the amount of lead allowed by the EPA for bottled water!  The bottled green teas tested (which most likely were made from China green tea as over 70% of all green tea sold in our country is from there), are also safe from lead.  However, the recap of the study makes another irrelevant  comment when it states that the origin of the tea could be a significant factor affecting the amount of lead in the leaves since the brewed beverages are clean. The leftover leaves used for brewing bottled teas most likely will have some lead in the leaf but the fact remains that it does not release into the beverage.   So although EGCG can vary, especially from bottled to teabags, (a point brought out in the paid study), lead is never an issue when consuming either product.

It is just hard for me to watch all this go on around me knowing how much care we take to ensure we only sell lovely tasting and safe products and I will never understand why this individual singled us out to talk about lead in the leaf  but he really scared a lot of innocent people unnecessarily.

Not much more I can do now, just continue to always test our teas and only sell what we know is 100% safe for my own family to consume….such is the world of social media,  you have to take the good with the not so good!

Cindi Bigelow

President and CEO

Third Generation, Bigelow Tea

 

Bigelow Tea Supports The Imus Ranch For Kids With Cancer

 

imus

 

The Imus Ranch, founded in 1998 by Don and Deirdre Imus, is a unique organization that provides kids with cancer, and other serious illnesses, the opportunity to have fun again and regain their perspective.  More than just a respite, it instills pride, restores dignity, a sense of achievement and self-esteem through a real life “cowboy experience.”

Bigelow Tea has been a proud supporter of the Imus Ranch Radiothon, the ranch’s annual fund raiser, for each of the past 15 years.

“It’s always great spending time with Don and Dierdre Imus on the Radiothon,” says Cindi Bigelow. “I love the event because of all the amazing stories about these kids and their experiences on the ranch. They are doing some fine work.  Bigelow Tea is glad to be a part of it!”

To watch today’s segment of the Imus Radiothon which includes Cindi Bigelow pictured above, visit here and click on “Cindi Bigelow on Support for Imus Ranch.”

 

 

 

 

Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: Homeward Bound

This is my last journal entry. We certainly documented a lot of what happened on this trip. But believe me that was not everything. I tried to balance giving the reader a real feeling of going along with us into this special land as well as to catalog the trip for future generations. It was hard to pick and choose what to share, but I did my best to mention as much as possible.

So now we are flying home. As I said before, we left the hotel at midnight and got to the airport a good two hours early. I fell asleep in a chair while John worked. On the plane we went, our first four-hour leg to Dubai. That is when the journal writing began!  The same was true in Dubai airport where we have a 2.5-hour layover and then onto Emirates Air once again to fly back to New York.

Writing, writing and more writing. I had so much to share. John worked tirelessly to review over 2,000 photos and videos that we had taken, to pick out which ones were best to capture our journey. So many memories for such a precious trip. How could we do it justice?

Well we can only hope we did Sri Lanka proud and we were able to share the message of how proud we are to be the number one importer of what we consider to be among the finest teas in the world.

Thank you, “Serendib,” little gem of an island now called Sri Lanka, for welcoming us with open arms. We are honored to share your fine teas with the United States of America.

Forever grateful,
Cindi, John, the entire Bigelow family and all our wonderful employees


Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: Winding Down

Back to the Hilton hotel (where we had stayed when we first arrived in Colombo) for another quick stay. We said our goodbyes to Ishanka. My only regret is that I didn’t know his language so we could have communicated more. I had so many questions I wanted to ask him and really wasn’t able to.  I think he knew how much we appreciated what he had done for us and how we enjoyed our time together. Maybe someone will translate this and read it to him. Thank you Ishanka for taking such good care of us.

At the hotel we were met by our new friend, Anuradha; he was what is called a journey ambassador.  He had greeted us the first night and had taken amazing care of us from that first meeting forward.

We told him we had only 10 minutes to get ready for our next meeting and he quickly shepherded us to our own rooms. It really was like greeting an old friend when we saw him!  “Hello” I shouted when we saw his face (in my rather loud American voice). He just smiled and let us know he was happy to see us.

Up to the room and down in no time, ready for our second-to-last  meeting of the trip. This was another longtime partner that we had never met face to face. Idris Shabbir of Adam Expo was there in the lobby with a huge warm smile. The only problem was that at this point I was starting to run on empty. It was after 3 and we needed to be back here at 6 p.m. for one last meeting. Idris was bright, eager and well prepared with a comprehensive agenda. In the car we went, heading to his tea blending facility. Unfortunately the Colombo traffic, which was starting to cause me to have a slight version of PTS, was extremely heavy. What should have taken only 15 minutes took over 45. My brain was racing. How could we see two plants, hold a business meeting, drink teas and be back in two hours when drive time was one hour each way?

Needless to say Idris had to substantially shorten his agenda. I knew he was disappointed but there was nothing we could do;  we were flying out that night and I desperately needed a few hours’ sleep.

Bigelow Tea VP John McCraw and I got a lot out of the meeting and a lot of good follow-up points, but I couldn’t help but feel bad that we had so shortchanged Idris. Over time he will see that it was not the case. Our understanding of what we saw would benefit him over the long run, but that wasn’t going to make me feel better at the moment. (Sorry Idris … please forgive me.)

But as tough as it was to accomplish we were back at the Hilton by 6 p.m. There we were once again greeted by our friend, Anuradha. And once again we had to tell him we had another meeting in 10 minutes!  He just laughed. I am sure he thought “those crazy Americans,” and if he did he would have been right.

Up to the room I went to try and freshen up a little when the phone rang. It was our dear partner, Niraj. He was unable to meet us at 6. It was a disappointment that we wouldn’t say goodbye in person. This man had taught me more about tea than I had ever imagined, spending countless hours imparting his knowledge of tea and of this beautiful country. I will cherish my time with him forever, and I pray our paths will cross again so I could let him know what he has done for me, my family and the business.

But I took a sigh of relief. It meant that we would have a little more time to relax before departing the hotel at midnight for a 3 a.m. flight out to Dubai. Now it was time to rest and process. Now it was time to reflect. Now it was time to be alone.

Cindi Bigelow