Tuesday, April 16, 2013

ETST Behind the Business: Teaplicity

Before I introduce today's sponsor (whose interview answers are worth the read!), I have to say a few things.

First of all, thank you for your responses to yesterday's post.  I have so many e-mails to go through and am still reading your comments on the post and on Facebook, and--just, thank you.  Thank you for being respectful and kind and understanding with a subject that often riles those "but I know I'm right" feelings.  While there were many people who believe differently, of course (yay! we're different! that's okay! halleluiah! high five!), I felt, for the most part, there was great discussion--passion with kindness.  That's how I learn the most.  And different opinions expressed that way--with love?  They look all colorful and beautiful when they're together. 

Also, I was glad the post coincidentally fell on a day that called for love and some of those "Dear Gods."  I said them last night, and I share them with the rest of the world.  For Boston.  For those who are hurting; for those who help the hurting.  You are in our thoughts and prayers, Boston.  Amen.

Today, we looked for love and found it in many places.  We slowed down.  We heard some of Dash's first coos and goos and, my favorite, the "ga-ahhhh!" that he tries so hard to muster so that when it's finally released, it startles him.  Big eyes and that bottom lip. 

Now, Oh Canada!  Google Analytics shows there are a lot of you friends out there.  And since our book club offer was limited to the US, our sponsor today makes up for it a little bit--it's just for Canadians (at least for now--opening to US soon).  And all those other countries?  If you're still reading, we love you too.

Teaplicity is a family-run tea business.  The website itself is an experience-- the flavors, the descriptions, the thought behind every product, every business choice.  If there's one thing for sure, this family knows tea; and it's not just the tea, it's the ritual of tea.  A simple life pleasure.  From fruit, spice and classic teas to creamy blends like buttered rum and white chocolate, Teaplicity offers an impressive range of flavors and types--all premium blends, all natural flavors.  Or shall I say, flavours.  Love that u. 

 photo print46-2_zps70d4accc.jpg

White chocolate (with a little cream and sugar) is my favorite so far.  I tried several of these teas over the weekend, and every one of them was delicious and unique.  Also--happy hour teas.  Enough said.

Teaplicity provides great explanations of every tea to help you choose and, in addition to loose leaf, offers convenient bag tea (finer cut tea leaves) as well as tea products--tea pots, steeping pockets, etc. 

I hope you'll enjoy Nicole's interview--the mama behind Teaplicity--as much as I did.  I loved what she wrote about incorporating her kids into her business to teach them entrepreneurship (saw on Instagram the other day, her ten year old was having fun photographing teas).

 photo behindthebusiness-1.jpg

1.) So I've tasted many of your teas and love them. And your site is a beautiful mecca of tea. So, why tea? What got you started in this business and how have you been inspired to bring good tea to the masses?

I was travelling to urban (read snooty) tea shops to buy my loose leaf tea, and I noticed a lot of customers would timidly try to select a tea through their confusion. I recognized the opportunity to simplify tea for us busy folks/mamas who want to find the perfect tea fit without having to earn a PhD in tea terminology. You will see this simplicity reflected in the layout of my website and in tea descriptions that are simple and sometimes humorous. Spending your hard earned dollars should not be hard – hence the name Teaplicity! Also, tea is one of the little pleasures in life that feels like a big indulgence. Like most mothers, I make the family budget work by taking care of everyone else and holding back for myself. Tea is a great way to feel like I'm getting something special for myself without breaking the bank.


2.) I love that you are a family-run business, and you say it's important that your kids are involved in decisions and business practices. Explain why this is important to you and how you do this.

I had the incredible experience of starting up and running a successful and profitable company when I was twelve years old through a program called Junior Achievement. I credit the program for a lot of my confidence and skills. I wanted my children to experience the same challenges, risks, and rewards of entrepreneurship. Ethan (10) and Tessa (5) were involved in selecting the company name, logo, and product packaging. We talk a lot about ethical business decisions because tea is grown in developing countries (all our teas come from estates certified by the ethical tea partnership, which is similar to fair trade for coffee). Ethan attends business meetings where he is simply introduced as my business partner, and I have yet to see anyone bat an eyelash that I would bring a 10-year-old to discuss business. With guidance and in his best suit and tie, he has learned to confidently shake hands and discuss the Teaplicity concept with others. Ethan is a wonderful promoter of Teaplicity, and I've overheard him talking about 'his' business with his friends. Children are capable of understanding and doing so much more than we give them credit for sometimes, and I value their opinion when making business decisions. It has been enjoyable and memorable for us to spend time building something together.

3.) I love how you express an appreciation not just for tea itself but for the ritual of tea, particularly the beauty of loose leaf tea. (I agree!) Care to elaborate?

I love the ritual of making a hot cup of tea for that rare quiet moment amidst the daily chaos of life with a young family. I love the ritual of catching up with your best girlfriend over a steaming pot of beautiful loose leaf tea. And the ritual of serving a decadent chocolate tea to my family after a holiday dinner. Or enjoying quality steeped tea in my travel mug while watching my daughter's ballet class or my son's hockey game. Tea just enhances life's small moments. And while it’s true that I personally adore the ritual of loose leaf tea, I understand why some women choose to use teabags for reasons of time and convenience. While most (again, snooty) tea shops would never dream of including teabags in their product line, we pride ourselves on providing a huge selection of high-quality teabags for our customers who might just go over the edge by adding even one more thing to their day. I have so been there, my friends, and I am not here to judge you!

4.) So, what's your favorite tea and what does your tea ritual look like in your home?

Preparing tea is a reminder for me to be fully in the moment for a few minutes each day. Being present-of-mind allows me to engage all of my senses. I take in the beauty of the tea leaves as I scoop them from the tin, and I watch as they uncurl and dance in the hot water. I smell the wonderful the aroma. And, oh, the taste of the first sip from every cup - pure bliss! I never feel guilty taking a few moments to myself to enjoy this sensory overload as I know the laundry pile and child pulling at my pant leg will still be there after the last drop. It's so hard to choose a favourite tea! I really enjoy the creamy teas from our vanilla collection, mmmm, and of course the chocolate teas. I’m working on several exclusive new blends right now so I'm trying something different all the time.

*******
Teaplicity often runs giveaways on their Facebook page and has created a nice collection of Mother's Day gifts (something besides slippers! yay!) for you. 

 photo print45-1_zps8bd408a3.jpg

I spent a lot of time going through Teaplicity's site and tasting their teas, and I'm really proud to have them as a sponsor.  So much thought behind this business and such a great example of how one mama's idea and passion can be expanded to teach lessons to a family while helping provide for it.

Welcome, Teaplicity.
And Hellooooooo, Canada!