Celebrating the Women of Sugimoto Tea

by Sugimoto Tea Company
Sugimoto Tea News

During Women’s History Month, we take a moment to celebrate the remarkable women who have shaped and continue to shape the journey of Sugimoto Tea. This month reminds us of the vital roles women play across all sectors, including our own. At Sugimoto Tea, we're proud to highlight the achievements and significant contributions of the women in our company, whose dedication and passion have been instrumental in our success.

Explore Our Roots

Our story began with a serendipitous meeting between Hiroyuki and his future wife, Kazue, at a tea shop in Tokyo. This fateful encounter marked the beginning of their shared commitment to Sugimoto Tea Company, a legacy originally established by Zenichi, Hiroyuki's father. This partnership, not just marital but also rooted in a shared love for tea and a vision for the future, has blossomed into our company, embodying the core values of quality, tradition, and innovation.

Kazue Sugimoto: A Pillar of Strength and Versatility

Born into a family with deep ties to the tea industry, Kazue Sugimoto's passion for tea was evident from an early age. Her journey with Sugimoto Tea began alongside Hiroyuki, where she played a pivotal role in our production facility. Despite the challenges of raising their three children, Kazue was a force to be reckoned with, managing to balance family life with the demanding tasks of tea production. Kyohei recalls his mother's incredible versatility, noting, "She can do anything." Though Kazue is "retired," she remains an active presence, lending her hands and heart to the company's endeavors, from labeling to packaging. She is also one of the very few hand-rolling artisans responsible for our Temomi Shincha to this day.

Photo: Kazue hand-rolling shincha tea leaves

Hiroko: The First Employee with a Vision

Hiroko joined Sugimoto Tea in 2008, becoming a cornerstone of our team as the first employee hired by Kyohei to work at Sugimoto USA. From the beginning, she shared Kyohei's vision to introduce the richness of Japanese tea culture to a global audience. Hiroko, with a deep appreciation for the quality and tradition behind Sugimoto Tea, played a pivotal role in the company's early days. She transformed our original office, a humble room filled with worn furniture, into a place of potential and growth. Her efforts from those early days were foundational in building Sugimoto America from scratch. She fondly remembers celebrating with Kyohei when they received their first order for over $100.

As our office manager today, Hiroko leads design and marketing, crafting the visual and narrative identity of Sugimoto Tea. Her work, from website banners to product packaging, is marked by an elegance that reflects our heritage. Hiroko values the artistic freedom and trust Kyohei places in her, allowing her to tell the Sugimoto story through her unique lens. She cherishes the deep connections formed through tea, echoing in stories from our customers. Whether it's a daughter finding joy in providing her elderly mother with authentic Japanese tea or the memory of a loyal customer whose love for our tea was shared even in his absence, Hiroko finds profound meaning in these moments. These experiences underscore the powerful bond tea can create, offering peace and happiness to those it touches.

Hiroko's aspirations extend beyond the Earth, dreaming of a day when Sugimoto's green tea might reach outer space, symbolizing the boundless reach of our shared passion for tea.

Mikiko: The Heart of Operations

Mikiko, affectionately known as Miki, manages our inventory, shipping, and warehouse operations. Mikiko joined Sugimoto Tea in February 2015, becoming the first member of our warehouse team. Initially, when orders were sparse, she lent her hands to sales activities, demonstrating the versatility and team spirit that Sugimoto Tea cherishes. Mikiko's belief in adding a human touch to her work, something machines can't replicate, shines through her commitment to customer satisfaction. Her motto, "Quick, accurate, friendly shipping," coupled with her dream of spreading Japanese culture in America, reflects the essence of Sugimoto Tea. Mikiko and her team pack each order with care, ensuring every customer feels the warmth and dedication behind our products.

As we reflect on the stories of Kazue, Hiroko, Mikiko, and all the remarkable women who have left an indelible mark on Sugimoto Tea, we are filled with gratitude and admiration. Their resilience, passion, and dedication embody the spirit of Women’s History Month and serve as a testament to the vital role they play in our company and beyond. Cheers to the women of Sugimoto Tea, whose contributions enrich our lives and inspire us to reach new heights.

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