In the mornings, I start my day off with a cup of coffee. After that initial cup, I generally move onto water or tea, usually dependent on the temperature of the world outside. With it being cold, I find myself drinking tea a lot more often than I used to so today’s Side Gig Thursdays  is quite appropriate.
We get a chance to chat with Grace Wilson about her transition from being a server at a restaurant to a purveyor of teas.
What is your day job?
I was a server in a restaurant before opening my store in September.
What is your side gig?
I make and sell herbal teas. Before opening my own Tea store, I rented a small space at a multi-vendor shop.
Why this business and how did you start it?
I have been interested in the healing properties of herbs and plants all of my life. I started out several years ago experimenting with mixing herbs together to make tea. I would have family and friends try them and they liked them, so I decided to pursue my passion and got my certification in Herbalogy. When I started having people asking me to make tea blends for them I decided to start a tea business on the side while I worked full time as a server at the Brunch Box restaurant.
I rented a small 4x4ft space at I Dream Eclectic. After being there for a month, I had to expand my space to a 6×8 ft space. My little tea shop was picking up more business and an opportunity came up in August for me to open a store front and work for myself. So, I stopped working in the restaurant and opened the doors of Treasures of the Tea on September 4th, 2012.
How do you make herbal teas? How do you think up the recipes?
Making an herbal tea is basically the art of blending compatible herbs together to get a pleasing taste with the added benefit of the healthful properties of the herbs used. First, I decide what I want to get from the tea. Do I want something to help me relax? Do I want a tea that taste like, say a Peppermint Patty candy bar? Then I take it from there. I research the herbs and make a list of the ones that would work well for my idea. Then I start blending them and tasting. When I find something I like, then I have a friend or 2 (alot of times my husband, lol) taste the blend and get their opinions. If they like it then I name it and package it.
Do you sell any teas online or just at the brick & mortar location?
I do have an on-line store now also. http://treasuresofthetea.storenvy.com
How much does it make each month?
When I first started out, I was selling a couple hundred dollars a month. Being that I have only actually been open as a full time business for about a month and a half it is hard to say what I am actually making right now.
Do you have a plan to try to turn it into your full time gig?
What resources did you rely on in starting the business?
When I first started out with making and selling the tea blends I bought a few supplies at a time when I had a few extra dollars from my job at the restaurant, plus everything that I received for what I sold I invested right back into the business. When I opened the store itself, my husband borrowed money on his 401(k) to get me started and right now I just reinvest to keep it going until my customer base grows.
How do you get more customers? Advertising? Word of mouth?
I get more customers through word of mouth and by Social Media. I do alot of posting on Facebook for both the brick and mortar and the on-line store. I also donate gift certificates to local events like fund-raisers and even the local bingo halls for their door prize drawings.
Do you have any advice for people looking to start something on the side?
If you have a passion for something and don’t take a chance how will you ever know if you will succeed? Success doesn’t come from “thinking and wondering”… it comes from believing and doing. Just believing in yourself and taking that first step is success in itself.
Many thanks to Grace for sharing her experiences with us!
As always, if you know someone who would make for a good profile/interview for Side Gig Thursdays, please let me know!