For better and worse, the Sundance Film Festival is about getting noticed.
It’s, of course, about garnering attention for independent film and filmmakers. But with more than 45,000 attendees—including hundreds of media outlets and dozens of celebrities—it’s no wonder companies both large and small take the opportunity to vie for a little piece of Sundance’s spotlight for themselves. A couple of Utah companies that used the Sundance vortex to garner some attention for their new products are The Queen’s Tea and Resvology.
Seth Anderson (left) and Michael Ferguson met on Facebook and are partners in The Queen’s Tea and “everything else.”
Queen’s Tea founders Seth Anderson and Michael Ferguson are University of Utah students; Anderson is working on a Masters in history and Ferguson, a PhD in functional neuroscience, so naturally they started a tea company. “Tea is so good at connecting people, it’s almost like it picked us rather than us choosing to go into tea,” Ferguson says.
I stumbled upon the couple on the lower level of a Main Street gallery during my Sundance wanderings last weekend. They’d rented the space for the weekend to give away samples of their loose leaf teas during the festival. And I have to say, their teas are a true multi-sensory experience, smelling as good and comforting as they taste; just what I was looking for after spending hours tromping around Park City in January.
Anderson and Ferguson launched the Queen’s Tea in November 2012. Their teas can be found at the Utah Co-op Market (4892 Commerce Drive) and the Wasatch Front Farmer’s Market (Sundays at Wheeler Farm). They also offer tea making and appreciation classes.
Resvology CEO Kevin Passey banked on star power to get exposure for his anti-aging skin care product line, booking space in one of Sundance’s most prolific celebrity gifting suites, the Kari Feinstein Style Lounge.
Resvology also has connections to Utah higher ed, but in a more direct way. The technology used in the company’s anti-aging skin care products is based on cancer treatment studies at Brigham Young University. CEO Kevin Passey says the difference between Resvology products and the million other lotions and creams promising to “reduce the appearance of fine lines” is that his stuff works on the molecular level. “The 4 A-R molecule in Resvology products is a gene activator. It selects and triggers those genes responsible for making skin look younger,” Passey says.
Rather than the grassroots approach taken by The Queen’s Tea guys, Resvology was being promoted inside the Kari Feinstein Style Lounge, a gifting suite hosted by the well-known L.A. based Kari Feinstein Public Relations. (Of course, I saw no one famous while I was there interviewing Passey, but apparently visitors later in the day include Katherine Heigl and Matthew MacConaughey.) Resvology’s public launch is scheduled for sometime this spring. Passey is hoping to sell Resvology products through Sephora and QVC.
Melissa Fields is a Utah-based freelance writer. Her blog is utahvagabond.com.