Note: Saturday evening, PST, I added the link to Laura Williams’ story. Thanks, Laura!
Yes, Steph, I clink my teacup with yours and offer cheers to all of you who took the time to write some of your story! As of 3pm PST, four of you entered a link for us to visit over tea at three today. I thank you and so look forward to reading them thoroughly after I brew a pot of Watson’s Nutty Green.
If any one else would like to share their story during our tea party, I will gladly add to this post throughout the weekend. Until then, allow me to introduce you to some fellow tea-lovers and their stories.
And last but not least, here’s the final chapter of my story. I thank you all for reading, commenting, and contributing to our burgeoning community here at Tea Party Girl.
Tea Party Girl Finds her Niche: The Camellia Sinensis Produces a First-Flush Darjeeling
In February 2007, I began to venture into on-line tea sales. I started out setting up a static website and offering the same product line I offered from home. During this time I bumped into two huge realities. One, California considered looseleaf tea a food. If I packaged it, I needed to do it in a commercial kitchen. I couldn’t package it from home and sell it over the Internet legally. Second, I learned, as many of you already know, breaking into Internet sales takes a great deal more than hanging out the shingle of a web address and hoping people show up. For a few months, the Internet business went nowhere.
During this time, I also began to realize, people often choose a tea party as a theme for events including garden parties, children’s birthdays, fundraisers, and bridal showers, yet have NO IDEA about the traditions, history, necessary supplies, or what hosting an afternoon tea involves. I attended one function I will never forget. It cost around thirty dollars to purchase a ticket. They advertised it as a tea. The decorations included live maniquins dressed with the animal print and hot pink theme. There were door prizes, vendors from all over the county for shopping, well-thought out food, and tuxedoed servers. But for the tea, the servers walked around pouring hot water only from the tea pots. We were to then dunk a teabag, brew it in the tepid water and do something (I’m not sure what) with the soggy, used tea bag. I almost couldn’t bear it! Another local charity sponsored a large fund-raiser with Alice’s Mad Tea Party as the theme. When I asked them what they planned to serve to drink, again they planned on tea bags and hot water with the guests using their favor of a tea-for-one for their drinking vessel. It boggled my mind how often people choose the tea party theme for their event, yet think this is all there is to tea, the beverage! Because I enjoy teaching and writing so much, I began to write more and more articles explaining how to host an afternoon tea and enjoy quality tea at home. I am passionately committed to turning around tea’s reputation! I firmly believe many coffee drinkers who insist they “hate” tea (including Rachel Ray!) have never drunk well-brewed tea.
I first began blogging to help change some of these misunderstandings about tea under our family’s business name, The Wellspring. However, there are many, many Internet tea-related sites and nothing about Wellspring Tea’s line stood out. It wasn’t until May 2007 after a night of wrestling with a new name that Tea Party Girl was born. I knew it was the niche of the TEA PARTY where I wanted to focus. Many blogs focus on tea the beverage’s qualities, but I care about how it’s served, what is served, and how it can be best appreciated. I love the term afternoon tea, but too many of us still mistake afternoon tea as high tea, and don’t know the search term. However, many individuals are searching for information about the tea party and I want to provide it. Once I took on Tea Party Girl and began to learn about blogging through the Blog Mastermind program, my site began to grow. Currently, I do not offer my product line on-line, but expect that to change as time goes on.
I am extremely excited and passionate about my work here at Tea Party Girl. My niche feels like a perfect click. I love writing and teaching about a favorite subject, meeting and connecting with you, and having an excuse to continue to learn and grow in the world of tea. It’s a perfect fit with my season of life, and I am humbled and thankful for the opportunity.
Meet me for tea at three. Share your tea story with us.