Meet Dan Bickel, Owner of HopLeaf Tea Co.
As the founder and CEO of HopLeaf Tea Co., Dan Bickel is pursuing his dream of growing a successful business.
“You get back what you put in,” says Dan.
Inspired while attending a beer festival, his shocking discovery of combining Citra Hops with his Teavanna tea is what kick started his entire operation. This ideology is proving his company’s worth.
Born and raised in Erie, Dan showed an interest in entrepreneurship for several years but never envisioned precisely what his company would be about. After graduating from Fort LeBoeuf High School, he pursued a degree in English writing while minoring in print journalism at Edinboro University. He had envisioned himself initially as a sports journalist reporting on games and players. But he discovered during his internship with Erie Times-News that this line of work was not entirely what he wanted to do with his life. Late night deadlines and not getting home until in the early morning were not fitting for someone trying to start a family.
“You really have to find something you LOVE before you can figure out what you truly want to do and what will make you happy,” he says.
HopLeaf was not Dan’s first attempt at starting a business. He once attempted to start a sports apparel business through online distribution only, but he chose to never take it to another level. This is not the case when talking about HopLeaf Tea Co. He has already made great strides in this regard by collaborating with the local favorite Erie Brewing Co. to release their own signature beer together.
Dan’s plans for HopLeaf Tea Co are limitless. He has put forth a motion to craft and release some tea seltzers through the Erie Brewing Co. Other breweries nearby have shown an interest in his work after the success of his first collaboration. Because of the nature of his product being an alcoholic tea, which is atypical at most breweries, the appeal to work with Dan has been enhanced.
He also attributes much of his success to his father:
“He recently applied for a worldwide patent on some machinery that he secured and he is in the process of starting his own business, but by talking to him daily and seeing and hearing what he had wished he had done in his 30s and him doing it in his 60s I knew I couldn’t let much more time pass before taking my plunge and leap into opening this business,” he says.
His father inspired him over his years of working in the field and after watching him grow his own business, he felt that it was his time to step in and do the same. He hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps and be able to look back on those talks in the future with his family and friends.
“He gave me the confidence and support I needed to go for it when nobody else did. He told me to DO IT,” Dan says.
Outside of driving forces and passions that keep people pursuing their dreams, a person needs to have qualities and attributes to enhance and support those forces. He has no shortage of these qualities: Dan has a strong belief in himself and what he is capable of doing. “I know I will get whatever needs done and I will get it done on time,” he says.
Still, balancing multiple tasks can be difficult. In addition to running HopLeaf Tea Co, Dan also works a nine to five job while raising two sons with his wife. He will take any spare moment he gets away from his family and other work to get his business moving. He has been able to learn since the start of the HopLeaf Tea Co how to be more organized and effective with his business, but learning these skills was something that came to him with time.
While looking to the future, Dan is focusing on the big picture. “Currently we are garnering lots of attention both locally and nationally with great business partnerships in multiple states,” he says.