Cindi Bigelow, Third Generation President and CEO, Bigelow Tea

Bigelow Tea is a third-generation family run business. Founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow created the iconic “Constant Comment” tea. Her son, David C. Bigelow, expanded the brand by introducing flavored teas to the mass market and inventing the foil pouch to preserve freshness. Today, Cindi Bigelow, third-generation president and CEO, continues her family’s legacy by expanding and transforming the industry. Under her stewardship, Bigelow Tea has become the #1 tea company in the U.S.A. 

Cindi received a Bachelor of Science from Boston College and an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. Before assuming her leadership role in 2005 at Bigelow Tea, Cindi spent 20 years in all areas of the company so she could learn the business from the ground up. Now two decades after succeeding her father, David C. Bigelow, Cindi has driven market expansion by cultivating national and global partnerships, fostering product innovation, and adopting sustainable practices.

Dedicated to preserving the exceptional quality of her family's tea recipes, Cindi has traveled the world to source the finest ingredients. Her journey has led her to tea estates in the Assam and Darjeeling regions of India, as well as to Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and China, where the Bigelow family has cultivated enduring connections over time. In Calabria, Italy, Cindi has continued to nurture long-standing relationships with family-owned bergamot orchards, friends of Bigelow Tea for generations. And her travels in the U.S. have brought her to family farms in Oregon, Nebraska and California, further strengthening those bonds. Each trek has been a step in fostering and expanding long-term partnerships, ensuring that every cup of Bigelow Tea is made with only the finest teas and botanicals.

Cindi has consistently improved company performance by strategically expanding into the U.S. and international markets, as well as tapping into natural and e-commerce channels where all growth has been driven by her focus on innovative product development. This includes adding new blends to the signature and organic lines, launching seasonal teas, and bringing to market wellness and immune support teas that feature ingredients with functional benefits. Cindi’s efforts have also included the release of Botanicals Cold Water Infusion that feature a line of gentle herbal infusions designed to work with cold water. 

Under Cindi’s leadership, the implementation of sustainability practices has had a significant impact on employees, local and global communities and tea enthusiasts alike, as noted below:

1988: The annual Bigelow Tea Community Challenge fundraiser was first organized and continues today as a community-supported road race and walk fundraiser that has contributed over $2 million to local non-profits to date. 
 
2007: Bigelow Green Teams were created. As a designated group of employees coming from all areas of the organization, the group has actively spearheaded sustainability year-round efforts. The Green Team represents a culture of environmental consciousness that is a core value for Bigelow Tea.
 
2012: Maintained Zero-Waste-to-Landfill operations since 2012 where 95% of all facility waste is disposed of sustainably.
 
2019: Bigelow Tea achieved Certified B Corporation status and successfully underwent recertification in 2022. This recognition has formally acknowledged the company’s intentional commitment to sustainability.
 
2020: Bigelow Tea earned the designation of being a Green-e® Certified company using 100% renewable energy for all corporate locations in the United States.
 

The company's core values of care, compassion and drive are the cornerstone of Bigelow Tea’s success and corporate culture and has been part of the business’s DNA since it was founded by Ruth Campbell Bigelow eighty years ago. Being a good corporate citizen, under Cindi’s keen oversight, continues to be a priority for the organization, showcasing a commitment to a purpose far beyond making profits where the aim is to always do better.

As a result of Bigelow Tea’s giving back to people and the planet, the company has won the following awards to name a few:

  • The Character.org National Workplace Lifetime Achievement Award
  • The United Way Norman Leads Giving Back to the Community Award
  • The Moffly Media Light a Fire Good Corporate Neighbor Award
  • Center for Family Justice Award through the renaming of the Fairfield Senior Center to Bigelow Center for Senior Activities
  • The Walter H. Wheeler Jr. Business Leadership Award 
  • Best in the State Connecticut Philanthropy Award 
  • John Winthrop Wright Ethics in Action Awards
  • WEDC Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence
  • Mass Mutual and UCONN Family Business of the Year Award
  • Ernst & Young Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • Housatonic Community College Pillar Of The Community Award
  • Aquarion Environmental Champion Award
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals Outstanding Corporation Of The Year
  • American Manufacturing Hall of Fame, Woman of Distinction in Manufacturing

Cindi Bigelow has also served on the Connecticut’s Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, Advance CT (CERC) and on other advisory councils for the governor, including chair of the Equity and Access subcommittee as part of the Governor’s Workforce Council. 

Most recently, Bigelow Tea was honored to receive certification by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) which confirms that Bigelow Tea is a woman-owned and operated small business in the United States.

Honorary Degrees
Doctorate, Fairfield University
Doctor of Business Administration, Johnson & Wales University
Honorary Associate Degree, Housatonic Community College (HCC)
Doctor of Business, University of New Haven
Doctor of Humane Letters, Albertus Magnus College

Quotes from Cindi Bigelow

WBENC

“It has been a blessing and a privilege to run my family’s company for the last twenty years,” said third generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow. “Receiving the WBENC certification is something I take seriously as I continue to operate the organization in the way my family has guided me to, as an ethical business that looks after people and the community, always with a focus on doing the right thing while leading with care, compassion and drive.” 

On Bigelow Tea Owned Charleston Tea Garden

“In 2003, my family, including my parents Eunice and David Bigelow, my sister Lori Bigelow, and our local partner Bill Hall, purchased and restored the Charleston Tea Garden®. We were driven by a shared passion for tea and a collective desire to preserve an American treasure. Today, the conservation of this beautiful 127-acre tea garden on Wadmalaw Island, Charleston, South Carolina, not only gives you a glimpse into the American tea story but also holds a cherished spot in my family’s history and legacy. It is my hope that one day you can visit, learn more about tea from leaf to cup, and breathe in the beauty and history of the land.” 

On Botanicals Cold Water Infusion

“We know that staying hydrated is essential for overall health and wellbeing,” says Cindi Bigelow, president and CEO of family-owned Bigelow Tea. “In support of our consumers who are focusing on living a healthy lifestyle, we created beautiful cold water infusion flavors to enhance each wellness routine. These exceptional flavors are truly a new way to love your water and help each of us reach our daily hydration goals.”

On Bigelow Benefits Wellness Teas

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a tremendous demand and expansion for products that support a healthy lifestyle,” says Cindi Bigelow, president and CEO of third generation family-owned Bigelow Tea. “With our masterfully blended range of Bigelow Benefits teas, we have created flavors featuring familiar everyday herbs and ingredients as a wellness solution for every day. Healthy never tasted so good!”

On the Expansion of Bigelow Line of Signature Teas

“Tea has always been a source of comfort and well-being,” says Cindi Bigelow, president and CEO of family-owned Bigelow Tea. “Knowing this, I am excited to announce the expansion of the Bigelow Tea Signature Line with three new teas that provide not only uncompromising exceptional flavor our consumers have grown to rely on, but also include ingredients and nutrients with functional benefits that help support a healthy lifestyle. I hope you are as excited as I am when enjoying each new beautiful cup of tea.”

On Being A Certified B Corporation

“Being certified [and recertified] as a B Corp officially recognizes a commitment that has been part of the company’s DNA since it was founded by my grandmother Ruth Campbell Bigelow 75 years ago,” third generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow said. “Our purpose has always been about much more than making profits. We’re committed to good citizenship, ethical business practices, accountability and transparency, protecting the environment, sustainability and supporting our communities.”

 Media Mentions

The CEO Forum podcast: Listen to Cindi as she shares stories about Bigelow Tea being a third generation family owned business, what sustainability means to Bigelow Tea and so much more.

Cindi Bigelow CEO and President of Bigelow Tea Cindi Bigelow of Bigelow Tea - CEO and President 
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