10 Years In...
A hot cup of Chai Ya Yai! is helping me write a reflection of the past 10 years. I find it hard to believe that we are turning 10. In some ways, time has flown, but in others, it feels like I’ve been doing this all my life. The first 7 or so were huge years for growing and learning how to do tea as a business. I had something I loved, that I believed in, and that I felt needed to be shared. But getting it into the hands of others was its own challenge. After all, I’m an artist, not a businessman. As we hit the 8th year, things began to stabilize and grow more steadily. We partnered with Black Mountain Chocolate, which gave us a “brick and mortar” presence in the community. We also started a very successful booth at the farmer’s market. Both of these venues gave us a direct connection with those who were enjoying our tea, something that we love. A third big step in connecting with with our tea community is this new super-functional and interactive website, which we are launching as part of our 10 year celebration!
If you were to ask me what has surprised me about these 10 years, I’d say it has to be how hard it is to run a small business, to wear multiple hats, deal with ever-changing challenges, and to have to continually be creative in making ends meet. I’ve been stretched way beyond my limits, and somehow haven’t completely snapped yet(probably thanks to all the great tea I’m enjoying!) Many times, when I’ve been overwhelmed and frustrated, I’ve been told by those around me--”Don’t quit!” Other times, I’ve been asked why I don’t quit if it’s so overwhelming. That is when my sense of mission, of calling to share these beautiful teas has kept me going. I just can’t NOT do it. I believe that the main difference between a business that makes it and one that doesn’t is simply not giving up.
On a lighter note, if you were to ask me what my favorite parts of doing Chad’s Chai have been, I’d give you 3 things. First, as an artist, I love the process of creating the teas. There is such beauty in seeking out flavors and nuances in the teas, herbs, and fruits, and being a part of the magical moments when a great blend comes together. Second, a beautiful and loyal community has developed around our teas. The teas go right along with all kinds of gatherings of friends. They bring joy to many people’s lives. That is irreplaceable. Third, I am a spoiled man being able to enjoy such great tea every day! I start most mornings with Finnigan’s Wakeup, enjoy a chai or other tea in the afternoon, and close the day with CPR or Pepe Le Tea. What more could one ask for?
Thank you for joining us in celebrating 10 great years!!