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The Google search that led to a multi-million dollar empire

Gretta van Riel. Images: Supplied, Getty
Gretta van Riel. Images: Supplied, Getty

Starting a business takes guts, capital and a lot of hard work.

But as Forbes 30 under 30 member Gretta van Riel will tell you, it also means being willing to ask Google some basic questions.

For van Riel – the woman behind five hugely successful online businesses including SkinnyMe Tea and The Fifth Watches – it all started with Googling: “How to create an online store”.

Speaking on Yahoo Finance’s new show, The New Investors – My Story, van Riel explained that in the early days of her million-dollar company, SkinnyMe Tea, she didn’t even know what e-commerce was.

Learn more of Gretta van Riel’s secrets to success by watching her full interview with Yahoo Finance for the The New Investors, My Story video series.


“I decided that it [SkinnyMe Tea] was going to become less of a hobby and more of a business,” she said.

Shortly after creating her detox tea, SkinnyMe Tea, she was struggling to respond to her friends’, customers’ and colleagues’ questions about the products, how they could buy it and how it worked.

“I just didn’t know how to respond to everybody. So I was like, “There’s got to be an easier way to do this,” she said.

“So I Googled ‘how to create an online store’. I didn’t even know what the word e-commerce was at the time.”

From there she found Shopify and set up her store in what she estimates to be just eight hours.

SkinnyMe Tea went on to sell over 11 million cups of tea around the world in five years.