Meet Glen Beaver, the director of Australian Sandalwood Products Pty Ltd

Queensland-based company Australia Sandalwood Products was launched only recently by Glen Beaver, the Director of Australian Sandalwood Products Pty Ltd. It has since become a respected company specialising in locally-sourced produce at fair prices. They sell a range of items, such as soaps, candles, lotions and teas.

We had a chance to speak with Glen Beaver about Sandalwood Products:

So Glen, tell me about yourself. How did you get involved with Australian Sandalwood Tea?

Australian Sandalwood Products Pty Ltd was created by a partnership between myself (Glen Beaver) and Kaixiong (Sunny) Fang. I first met Sunny through mutual contacts in 2015 whilst I was working for a Brisbane based meat processing company that was expanding in to the Chinese domestic meat processing industry. Sunny is a Tea Master by trade and had relocated to Brisbane and looking at the possibility of applying his trade in Australia. In 2018, the option of working with Sunny to start producing Sandalwood Tea in Australia presented itself. After some initial research in to the existing Sandalwood industry in Australia and the availability of Sandalwood leaves to manufacture the tea from, Sunny and I moved forward together to create Australian Sandalwood Products Pty Ltd.

How were you able to establish a successful online presence?

We are still establishing an online presence and it is proving quite difficult. Our main market is based in China and with the massive differences between Australia and China online markets and it has been a steep and quick learning curve. The task of creating a webpage has been challenging with the completely different expectations between customers based in China and suppliers and other associated entities in Australia. Now we are facing the task of successfully negotiating the many different online shopping platforms in China, with the likes of WeChat, Alibaba, Taobao, Douyan (Tik Tok), Pinduoduo, VIPShop, TMall, Jingdong, most of which are virtually unknown in Australia.

Could you tell us more about Australian Sandalwood Tea?

Sandalwood is a woody flowering tree that produce highly aromatic wood. Due to its natural properties, Sandalwood wood is amongst the top 5 most expensive timbers in the world. Oil can also be extracted from the tree and the roots and is used for scents and perfumes and for both western medicines and traditional Asian herbal medicines. The timber and the oil also hold significant value in religious rites by Hindus, Buddhists, Parsis and Muslims throughout the world.

In Australia, under current techniques and methodologies, much of the Sandalwood tree is wasted. Currently only the heartwood (the inner dark core of the trunk) and the ball of roots are utilised to extract Sandalwood Oil. The sapwood (the lighter wood between the heartwood core and the bark of the tree), the bark, most of the branches and all of the leaves are an unwanted waste product and at best are mulched but are predominantly just left behind after harvest of the tree. Our aim at Australian Sandalwood Products Pty Ltd is to develop commercially viable products from the unutilised and currently wasted parts of the Sandalwood tree. Australian Sandalwood Tea is just the first of hopefully many Sandalwood products that will be developed and manufactured in the coming years.

Sandalwood Tea is currently a niche green tea that is manufactured in Asia from Indian Sandalwood (Santalum Album) and is sold in the high end tea markets throughout China and other Asian countries. Australian Sandalwood Products Pty Ltd has developed and refined three (3) versions of Sandalwood Tea. Traditional Australian Sandalwood Tea, manufactured from Indian Sandalwood (Santalum Album), WA Australian Sandalwood Tea manufactured from Western Australian Sandalwood (Santalum Spicatum) and QLD Australian Sandalwood Tea manufactured from Queensland Sandalwood (Santalum Lanceolatum).

In the coming months, we also plan to release a black tea in tea bags to cater for the western tea markets.

What are some of the benefits of sandalwood tea?

This is a good question! Sandalwood tea has many benefits, for example, it helps in removing tan. It has anti-inflammatory properties. It acts as an astringent – sandalwood causes coagulation of skin proteins, further protecting your skin from any breakouts, allergies or abrasions. It is also used as antiseptic.

As your own manufacturer, how did you develop your products?

Kaixiong (Sunny) Fang is a recognised Tea Master, trained and experienced in tea manufacturing in China. As indigenous Australian Sandalwood leaves are unique and distinctly different to Indian Sandalwood leaves, Sunny had to incorporate his vast experience with the practical application of both traditional and modern tea manufacturing methods over many months to develop suitable processing of Australian Sandalwood Tea.

Do you have any plans to expand your range? Is there any interesting product development?

As previously stated, our aim is to develop many commercially viable products from the unutilised and currently wasted parts of the Sandalwood tree. Australian Sandalwood Tea is just the first of hopefully many Sandalwood products that will be developed and manufactured in the coming years.

All your products are healthy and natural. Why is sustainability so important for you?

We are manufacturing three varieties of Sandalwood Tea, with the leaves all sourced from 100% Australian grown Sandalwood trees. We are working with plantation owners and leaf harvesting crews to ensure all leaves are sourced under a responsible and sustainable harvest plan that complies with relevant State Government’s legislation. The leaves are processed under a specifically designed quality assurance program to ensure the highest level of food safety and quality. No other ingredients or additives are use in the manufacture of our tea.

Manufacturing products from a previously unutilised and unwanted waste product not only improves efficiency of the Australian Sandalwood industry but also increases the overall profitability of the industry.

Your business seems to value feedback and suggestions. Tell us how customer service affects your business.

Customers are the most important part of any business. Without customers, there is no business … so servicing your customers needs and requirements is integral in any business. The most efficient way to service your customers is to listen to and act upon the feedback and suggestions received from past, present and potential customers.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world. You can contact Mike here.
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