Gladstone Etienne is a master herbalist and the founder of ZABICOLife, an herbal tea company. Etienne, who is from Dominica, an island of the Caribbean, hand-selects organic leaves, flowers, fruits, barks, and the roots of various herbs for his tisanes. His company’s mission is to help people enjoy the benefits of fine organic herbal teas and remedies. We spoke with Etienne about launching his tea business.
What inspired you to start a tea company?
I grew up on an organic farm and my mom is a traditional herbalist. So it’s been in me and from generation to generation. So that’s where the love and the passion started.
As a child, I rarely went to the doctor for anything. My mother would administer herbs, potions and remedies for all kinds of things. Even playing basketball or soccer I may have sprained an ankle and she would prepare a cold compress or hot compress for that; and within the next day, it would be gone. So I grew up in that culture, loving herbs, drinking herbal teas, [ and having] exposure to it.
After high school, I migrated to the U.S. to further my education. I pursued my degree in finance and after I graduated and [had] been in corporate America for quite some time, I still had that passion. The herbs that were common to Americans were green tea and black tea medicinal herbs. I started this business about five or six years ago and it really started from a passion for health. I found about 10 clients that had different ailments and I said, “I’m going to propose a 28-day program, where I provide you with the herbal tea blend. I [will] give you a nutritional plan, and let’s see what happens.”
At the end of that 28-day program, the testimonials were just amazing. I had a lady from Tennessee, who was suffering from a lot of migraine headaches, between 30-35 per day. At the end of that it got reduced to 3-4 attacks per day.
How did you come up with the name ZABICOLife?
ZABICO is the French Creole name for “apricot tree.” The apricots trees we have in the Caribbean are slightly different than what we have in the U.S. The trees are straight, very tall and the leaves are emerald green. Drawing from the resilience of that plant I used it as a part of the name. Life meaning a lifestyle.
What is your vision for tea and how people view it?
The passion behind the brand is to inspire people, especially in America, in urban areas, to use herbal teas as a lifestyle. I truly believe that using herbal teas in your daily lifestyle is as important as physical exercise.
Where can people go to purchase your tea?
You can go to my website. Everything is available on my online store ZABICOLife.com. Once you go on there, you will see a variety of custom blends. I don’t really sell single leaf tea. It’s a custom blend that will address certain ailments in the body.