Biography - Joel Silver of David's Tea

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Joel Silver of David's Tea

Joel Silver, former EVP for eCommerce at Indigo Books & Music, joined DAVIDs TEA as President & CEO in March 2017. He's led the company through a "reset year," installing a new product team in an effort to halt sliding sales.

JOEL SILVER BIO & DAVIDS TEA NEWS

Joel Silver holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He's served as President and EVP for eCommerce at Indigo Books & Music, helping launch their ebook reader and offerings and their kid's toy line. After leaving Indigo in 2011, Silver founded TrilogyGrowth, a VC fund "focused on North American retail, wholesale & brand early stage companies."

Silver was named CEO of DAVIDs TEA in March 2017. He came aboard at a tough time for the company, as their stock price was cut nearly in half in April and lost their CFO in July. In his first earnings call as CEO, Silver noted several issues and growth areas for the company, including "a weaker product assortment that didn’t excite our customers to buy...a high frequency turnover product, which distracted [customers] from the core tea experience," and a weak eCommerce platform that couldn't keep up with demand. Silver stated that his short-term goals for DAVIDs TEA were "improving the product assortment, in-store experience and getting back to the core of the DavidsTea brand while being very disciplined when allocating capital, purchasing inventory and incurring expenses" in addition to "refocus[ing] our efforts on the assortment, digital merchandising and technology."

Silver has called FY 2017 a "reset year" for DAVIDs TEA. They've installed a new product team and CFO and have reevaluated and paused some key plans, including a US expansion. Silver has cited Tim Horton's as a model for emulation in that area specifically, saying that though DAVIDs TEA has faced challenges expanding in the US and adapting to American consumers' tastes, "We can overcome it but we’re learning on the ground what works differently, what works the same, and we’re responding to it to make it happen." He takes the long view, saying that while Tim Horton's has made footholds in the US now, "it took them time to get there, so that’s the lesson I take from it."

To improve their chances both in the US and Canada, Silver has said that he expects DAVIDs TEA to "focus on bestsellers instead of new mixes as well as improve marketing and the online experience." Silver has also spoken positively of the news that Starbucks was closing all retail locations for DAVIDs TEA rival Teavana, calling the news "a definite positive for the business" especially in the areas where the two chains directly compete.

However, by December 2017 DAVIDs TEA had posted a loss of $6.5 million, with same-store sales dropping by 6.8% year-over-year and revenues by 2.5%. The board of directors at DAVIDs TEA was said to be "explor[ing] strategic alternatives, including a possible sale, in order to enhance shareholder value." In the company's Q3 2017 earnings call, Silver said, "Unfortunately, we are still living with some of the past decisions, and our new product team will be able to cast greater influence on our business with each passing season. We know we must do better, and we can."

CONCLUSION

A Harvard Business School MBA graduate, former EVP for eCommerce at Indigo Books & Music, and founder of VC fund TrilogyGrowth, Joel Silver was named CEO of DAVIDs TEA in March 2017. He's led the company through some tough times, seeing growing losses and sliding revenues and rethinking plans for expansions in the US market. There is a silver lining, as DAVIDs TEA has installed a new team to revamp its product offerings. As Silver said in DAVIDs TEA's most recent earnings call, "We know we must do better, and we can."
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