High Tea anyone?
Who doesn’t love a good High Tea? I’ve enjoyed my fair share of them over the years but I’ve never actually brewed a loose leaf tea before - which is what I associate a great Hight Tea with. I’m an EB (English Breakfast) lover from way back, just your average ‘Choysa, round tea bag’ kinda gal…I know, how refined of me! I don’t feel very regal when I make or drink it, in fact the only aspect of my tea drinking (thus far in my career) that meets any sort of ‘englishness’ is that I acquired my love of the cuppa in London back in 2003.
Fast forward to not that long ago when I stumbled across the TealogyNZ instagram page - scrolling the gram for gift inspiration takes up too much of my time but when you come across something beautifully packaged that catches your eye, you have to stop to learn more. Jemma is a genius, a ‘teaologist’ by trade which is, a lot like a mixologist but less of the cocktails! She is skilled in the art of brewing/blending tea and now that I have made my first ever loose leaf cup of tea, I have to say she is pre-tty good at her trade!
Why are you doing what you do/motivation to start your business?
My motivation was personal. I was flooding my body with coffee everyday and it was making me seriously sick. I looked to tea for a reduced caffeine intake and to get some nutrients back into my body. Tea was a great choice as I love the variety of flavours & nutritional benefits I could get from the different blends both hot and cold – or in cocktails. I wasn’t really impressed with anything I found locally which had a lot of perfume but no flavour, so I ended up buying some online. My first mug of tea was iced; It was the colour of red wine and loaded with a rich berry flavour - and when I woke in the morning my skin felt like I had been given a facial in my sleep! Clearly my body was lacking nutrients and the freshness of the tea meant I was able to extract all the nutritional goodness of freshly dehydrated fruits and berries into a single mug of tea. I was hooked!
How did you decide on your brand/business name/any specific meaning behind it?
A mixologist is trained in the art of producing cocktails, so I followed the same idea of a Teaologist, a person skilled in the art of blending/brewing tea or the art of Teaology.
The look of the brand came about by paying homage to the High Tea ceremony. It’s important to take time out from a busy day just to recoup, reflect and breathe (while eating delicate sweet-meats and savories while sipping tea brewed in porcelain cups with pinkies out). I wanted to make the humble afternoon tea attractive again, therefore my brand had to be a visual delight on shelf – Just like the tiered plates of a high tea ceremony.
Most people don’t realise it, but the floral images on my packaging are from the Camelia Sinensis plant; the leaves of which is what all black, green and white teas are made from. It was an easy decision to use an early botanical etching of the Camelia Sinensis flowers in full bloom as the feature of my packaging.
That being said I believe in the healing power of plants and also wanted to reflect the medicinal properties of teas therefore I’ve tried to incorporate apothecary type labelling of the period in my labels as well.
Biggest lesson you’ve learnt in business?
I have literally done everything myself, from the branding, packaging, photography, website, importing biosecurity goods, stock purchasing, food packaging, sales and distribution etc. Therefore, I’ve learnt a lot of lessons. My advice is to research, ask questions, go slow and buy small, that way my risk has been minimal. It’s allowed me the freedom to be flexible, change and adapt as I go.
I’ve also learnt that what worked the first time around doesn’t necessarily work the second time around. Dealing with shipping companies and NZ biosecurity I’ve found the rules often change from person to person. The best thing you can do is have your documents and checklist all ready to go so you can mitigate any upset - otherwise it will end up costing you a lot of money.
Got a tip for the best way to use/consume your product?
Store in a cool and dark place and to minimise oxidisation. If you’re drinking the teas for nutritional benefit, then the sooner you can get it in you the better. Each blend/type of tea has is its own brewing instructions, check out the brewing sheet here.
What are some small things that make your day?
Having a great night sleep the night before always makes for a good day! That alone and I’m happy as everything else is just easier from there - turns out I’m not very good at sleeping though. But grabbing some couch time without the computer on my lap would also be in my ideal day.
What takes up too much of your time?
I loose two hours every day travelling to and from work. Podcasts or audiobooks have been a godsend!
Favourite thing to do to relax/unwind?
Music, book, wine and a hot bath
What are you most grateful and thankful for in your life?
Family, friends and all our combined health. They’re my support rocks, if one of us goes down then we all will.
What TV show has you hooked at the moment?
I don’t have time for TV. If I find something I like I’ll binge watch. My life will go on hold until I’ve watched every episode, so I can’t afford to get tied up in the distraction…But the last series I binge watched was Peaky Blinders.
If you could invite three famous people for cocktails and canapes - who would they be?
I wouldn’t necessarily want anyone famous, I’d prefer to have people who would push conversations in directions you wouldn’t typically expect them to go. I think a comedian like Ricky Gerviase to keep things interesting but light hearted would be great fun. But then maybe an Exponential Scientist who tries to ask/predict what our future might look like and why and how to improve it. Then throw a charismatic politician in there like Jacinda Adern to really mix it up.
You can find the delicious Kiwi & Strawberry Teaology Vial in our Just Pause Gift Box.