In this edition of the Site Spotlight, we interview Brenda Lain, owner of VintageTea.com
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started Vintage Tea.
I have been married for 31 years and have 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren. I was born and raised in Miami, Fla. I lived in Eupora, Mississippi for 4 years before moving to Citra, Fla. From there I moved to Atlanta where I have lived for the past 31 years. I have always loved tea but didn’t discover my love for hot tea until my adult years. My husband and I had wanted to open our own business for many years and I thought I would combine my love for tea and entrepreneur spirit, to make Vintage Tea a reality. I went to a seminar in Columbus, GA which taught a class on how to make a tea room a profitable business. This seminar was the push I needed, and the information I learned was invaluable for my start in a tea career.
2. What type of teas would you recommend to someone who does not normally drink tea?
I find that those who don’t normally drink tea are easily swayed by the wonderful flavors available. There is a flavor for every taste. Vintage Tea offers over 100 varieties of loose leaf tea, (black, green, oolong, white) as well as rooibos (which is not tea but an herbal) as well as Tisanes. For customers who are not tea drinkers I ask; what flavors they prefer? Do they enjoy fruit such as peach, strawberry, pomegranate, cherry, blackberry…. or do they prefer more of a dessert flavor such as French crème brulee, chocolate, chocolate strawberry, Tiramisu? I personally prefer floral flavors, so something such as Jasmine or rose are some of my favorite flavors. I usually suggest a black dessert flavored tea for those who love coffee.
3. What are some of the challenges you face when running your business?
One of the challenges I have faced with my business was getting the word out that we existed. Advertising can be very expensive so finding ways to get notice without the high cost was a challenge. One of the things I did when I first opened my tea room was to trade out my services with someone who had marketing experience. One of the things this marketing person taught me was how to write a press release. I used this knowledge and sent out press releases to all the local newspapers and magazines, as well as some national tea magazines. The press releases began to spark interest and Vintage Tea, Inc. was featured in the Roswell Neighbor, Teen Vogue, Points North Magazine, Afternoon Tea, and Tea Experience Digest to name a few.
4. What do you enjoy most about running Vintage Tea?
I love tea and everything related to tea. Afternoon tea is a wonderful experience, and once you have that experience it is one you want to enjoy again and again. I had the privilege of working with my three daughters in my business and I really enjoyed that. I am also teaching my granddaughters and my grandsons about the art of taking tea and the importance of tea and etiquette. It is very important to teach boys about tea and etiquette, as it may be part of their business experience when, and if they travel overseas. Many business deals are conducted over tea.
5. What is your favorite tea and why?
My favorite tea is green tea, because I love the flavor. Green tea is delicate and easily flavored. Teas are very absorbent and can be flavored by layering flowers, such as Jasmine in the tea leaves for a few hours.
6. Any final comments?
There is so much to learn about tea. Not all tea is alike, I often compare bag teas (from the grocery store) verses loose leaf tea to instant coffee compared to coffee beans, there is just no comparison. You won’t find our teas at a local grocery store. Our top quality loose leaf teas are fresh and are enjoyed by enthusiast and connoisseur alike. Our teas have been hand selected and blended with only the best ingredients. After more than 9 years in the tea business we know what our customers want in their cups.
Thank you, Brenda, for this fantastic interview! We wish continued success at VintageTea.com!