In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Senior Content Strategist Ashley Chiaradio interviews Amy Freeman, CEO and co-founder of The Spice & Tea Exchange, a specialty retailer of fine spices, herbs and teas. Listen in as Freeman discusses the brand’s history, including its launch during the 2008 economic recession, and why that experience has been valuable during the current COVID-19 crisis. She shares how The Spice & Tea Exchange has adapted its business during coronavirus, choosing to close stores, shifting its focus to e-commerce, and giving back a percentage of web sales to its franchisee owners.

Freeman discusses her collaborative leadership style, how her executive team’s decision to overcommunicate with calmness has been essential during this uncertain time, and the network of mentors she’s leaning on to navigate this health crisis. Lastly, she shares how she thinks the coronavirus pandemic will positively reshape retail, emphasizing the importance of strong customer relationships and experiential retail.

Amy Freeman is the CEO and co-founder of The Spice & Tea Exchange, a specialty retail franchise with locations across the United States, from Anchorage to Key West. Over the last decade, Amy has led the Sales Department, the Operations Department, has worked in Production, Fulfillment, Marketing, and has also become a Certified Franchise Executive. Her initiative and energy have helped move the company from a single store to over 70 locations.

The adversity Amy faced as a teenager and young adult helped shape the persevering, can-do entrepreneur she is today. Her parents divorced at a pivotal point in her life, and was left on her own having to grow up quick. Yet, Amy excelled in every position she was given. By her early 30s, she was a Corporate Sales Manager for Sheridan Hotels – learning the ins and outs of the business world with virtually no higher education behind her. In 2005, Amy stumbled upon a small specialty spice retailer and realized she could take the concept to new heights. Now, as CEO, she guides the overall vision of the company and presides over major initiatives aimed at increasing profitability.

Date: May 12, 2020

Credits: Amy Freeman

Duration: 11:34