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The Secret Ingredient

Celestial Seasonings on effective market research.

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This story appears in the December 1997 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

How did Mo's 36 Herb Tea--a hand-picked blend of herbs packaged in muslin bags and fastened with scrap telephone wire--become Celestial Seasonings, America's favorite herbal tea company? Celestial Seasonings' success has been due in large part to founder Mo Siegel's insistence that the company listen to one voice: the customer's.

Dedication to discovering and fulfilling its customers' desires explains why Celestial Seasonings' Sleepytime brew is the most popular specialty tea in the United States. With net sales totaling more than $70 million in 1996, Celestial Seasonings has more than 50 percent of the herbal tea market and has single-handedly popularized herbal tea--previously used primarily for medicinal purposes--as a healthy, flavorful alternative to caffeinated beverages.

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