Alright, readers, I know you’re out there. The stats prove it! 😉 Is my first tea party going to be very small? I’ve sat here a few minutes thinking how I might spur you on…without begging, heheh.
In reality, I’m so aware all the feelings and thoughts that we go through when we consider sharing our stories. After all, I embarked on this series at the guidance of my mentoring program, Blog Mastermind, with a little fear and trepidation. That’s why I turned it into a party, so you would know I’m more interested in hearing yours than telling mine.
We’re in an age, more and more, where we need to know each other is the real deal. That’s why I’m taking the time to share my story, believing you will come to that conclusion. And with the Internet our opportunities for social networking are potentially limitless. I feel like I did in college, “meeting” all of you and learning how many great people live outside my little hometown circle.
You still have time to share a post with us here at TPG that tells us something about your story! Do consider it. The posts will go live tomorrow afternoon.
TPG’s Tea Party Lifestyle Begins: The Camellia Sinensis Preps for Harvest
When I visited my first tearoom at the holidays in 2004, I experienced my first exposure to the beauty of a true afternoon tea. Between the warmth of the non-Victorian decor (not all tearooms decorate in pink roses), and many courses of food, it transported me. However, the deliciousness of the freshly brewed looseleaf tea and the feelings of serenity that overcame me during my time is what steeled a resolve in me to repeat this experience for myself and others over and over again. Despite tea parties as a child and with children of my own, however, I knew NOTHING about how to host an afternoon tea. I set out to learn everything I could so I could repeat this transporting experience in my own home.
I didn’t need to look too far, as my mother started her own tea business during this time, Teaching Tea. She answered many questions, allowed me to accompany her to different events, and feature her as a guest speaker for the first teas I hosted in my own home. I read books on tea, subscribed to magazines, gathered a few key tea-brewing items and began to tell my friends about my latest love affair.
It wasn’t long before I was drinking a tremendous amount of tea everyday. I would brew black tea first thing in the morning, a green tea during mid-afternoon, and a rooibos after tucking the children in for the evening. Sometimes I would run out of tea and realize there was nowhere to go and buy more at a moment’s notice. Since then, I discovered a few places, but at the time, I thought my only options included grocery store teabags and the tearoom I’d visited with limited hours a distance away from my home. It was like wanting gourmet coffee beans twenty years ago. One couldn’t enter any grocery store or corner coffee bar and find what they wanted. This would never do! So I began selling looseleaf tea so I could drink as much as I wanted. I evangelized everywhere I went, bringing tea to events, meetings, parties, etc. and sharing it with whomever would take it. I found fellow lovers of tea in my circles. I also quickly learned that despite the world drinking tea more than any other beverage besides water, many people have not tasted great tea. We don’t know how to brew loose-leaf tea (or even where to purchase it!) nor own the needed equipment in our homes. One friend burned out the bottom of an heirloom teapot of her grandmother’s because she didn’t know the difference between a teapot (for brewing) and a teakettle (for boiling). I wrote up detailed brewing instructions to pass out with the tea I sold and added basic tea-brewing starter kits to my sales. In the summer of 2006, I took my passion one step further and enrolled in an on-line course at www.StartaTeaBusiness.com.
Originally, I enrolled because I thought I wanted to start my own tearoom. I understood, however, that owning a traditional tearoom meant committing to the restaurant business and I didn’t want to do that. Gratefully, the course delivered exactly what it promised to: an introduction to all the places a passion for tea could take a business besides opening a traditional tearoom.
Through this entire process, my inner compass continued to pull north with the magnet of my children. With my oldest son now ten, I began to believe the mothers I used to want to punch out; time was moving quickly and before I knew it, they’d be gone. If I was going to launch any kind of business, it needed to stay home-based. Despite many tea business ideas that formed, I chose to pursue an Internet-based tea business. Trying to grow a local business meant too much time and energy away from the home-fires. My previous experiences reminded me I did not want to build something apart from my family, but with them.
Tomorrow’s conclusion: Tea Party Girl Finds her Niche: The Camellia Sinensis Produces a First-Flush Darjeeling
So are you following this story, but not linking to your own? Would you leave a comment? I’d love to hear your thoughts.