Shapna Tea and Coffee - Eradicating Poverty in Bangladesh and Uganda

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Healthy. Vibrant. Sensual. These are some of the key qualities of the tea products that The Shapna Project launched in the US. Carefully selected, exquisite and delicious, and hand plucked from some of the finest gardens on Earth, near the misty foothills of the Himalaya, it brings happiness not only to those who drink it, but also to those who cultivate it. The Shapna Project aimed to sell the highest quality tea from Bangladesh and coffee from Uganda to empower impoverished agricultural communities by giving back 40% of profits back - 20% to poverty-stricken communities where the products are grown (Bangladesh, Uganda) and sold (US).

Top left: Product launch at The State of the Environmental Justice in America Conference. Bottom left: Display at Greenfest. Right: Surrounded by Shapna Project and Empowerment Initiative Founders / Partners (and lots of good energy!).

Top left: Product launch at The State of the Environmental Justice in America Conference. Bottom left: Display at Greenfest. Right: Surrounded by Shapna Project and Empowerment Initiative Founders / Partners (and lots of good energy!).

My role with this team started with logo design and speaking on the brand’s development and story for its launch at The State of Environmental Justice in America Conference (2009). The bird used in the mark is the national bird of Bangladesh, the magpie robin, as a subtle reminder of national pride. This project impacted me on many levels, and throughout the design process, I hoped that I could convey the same to consumers through design. Perhaps the most poignant reminder for me, is the name - “Shapna” is Bangla for “dream”. The concept of the extended descender in the logo was to be a "nest" or vessel for the dreams of those in poverty, the magpie being a metaphor for dreams.

As the project blossomed, we worked together to bring high quality tea products and coffee products to the US market, which included design for packaging, promotional materials, point-of-purchase and attending other brand-building events. 

Promotional flyers for Shapna Tea and Coffee, co-branded with Colgate University.

Promotional flyers for Shapna Tea and Coffee, co-branded with Colgate University.

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Culture ChangeGiselle Carr