Despite the morning hour the weather is warm and there's a cool breeze flowing through the ferry as it departs from Edmonds, WA. A small team from Tea Queens including Strategy Director Rosemary, Lead Designer Josh, and Marketing Specialist Cameron along with Independent Tea Consultant Tami K. are headed to Kingston, WA for a celebratory and informative teatime with Consultant and CelebriTEA winner Julie Ann. As the ferry glides across the Puget Sound, the Tea Queens team has a few minutes to sit, relax, catch up, and, for one particular non-morning member of the team, finish his breakfast. Tami talks about her Tea Queens business opportunity and the Pacific Northwest - Canadian Rockies RV road trip vacation she has recently completed with her family.
Coming to a smooth stop six miles to the West, we depart the ferry and greet Julie Ann with smiles and hugs at Kingston terminal. Julie Ann walks us to her car giving us an overview of the Kingston area on the way. She speaks with enthusiasm about the town, pointing out different landmarks and shares stories on the short car ride to her house. Tucked away with a few other houses by a forested ridge, Julie Ann's farm house turned dream home greets us. Taking us in through the front door, Julie Ann gives us a tour of her gorgeous home. Rustic charm is everywhere. Beautiful restored chairs, antique doorknobs and furniture, and updated amenities have made this a cozy, warm, and welcoming abode.
Climbing a flight of stairs Julie Ann finishes the tour with her guest bedroom appropriately nicknamed the Tea Room. A built in bookshelf on the right side of the room is completely filled with teapots, cups, mugs, Tea Queens tea, brochures, family heirlooms, and an engraved silver teapot proclaiming Julie Ann as the 2015 Tea Queen of the Year. As we leave, Rosemary makes an observation. “Look. There are all the notes and thank you cards I've written to Julie Ann over the years. This is why I do what I do.” Rosemary smiles as we return downstairs to begin teatime.
Awaiting us is a beautifully set table with glass plating, classic English teacups, and a gorgeous three tiered stand with a variety of goodies, both savory and sweet. Julie Ann has also prepared two pots of Tea Queens tea, one hot and one cold brewed. We dig in to the generously prepared refreshments and begin chatting about Tea Queens.
Our first order of business is presenting Julie Ann with a personalized tea tin of Peach Melba, her prize for winning the CelebriTEA Consultant tea blending contest. She smiles as she recounts the story of coming up with her blend which was inspired by her mother who recently passed. “This couldn't have come at a better time,” she says, giving a hug to Rosemary as she places the tin on the cabinet beside her.
As we continue to talk about Tea Queens we ask our top performing Consultants how they built their respective businesses and what tips they had to share. Julie Ann reminisced about visiting a local senior center. “I've been asked to come back for the fourth time. The first time I gave my spiel on the tea business. The second time I came back I said, ‘I won't do my spiel this time.’ The host said to me ‘Oh no, we really enjoyed that! We want you to do that.’ That made me so happy because it's educating people.” Julie Ann continues on how she loves having tea at the senior center and how by opening up and sharing her time and business with others she crafted repeat customers and close friends. “It's fun for me and it's what I'm doing.”
Tami, in contrast, hasn't hosted a tea party in person. “I haven't yet,” she states. “It's just been online.” Her success comes from managing her business on social media which gives her much more flexibility to spend time with her family. “I want to do more, but life with three kids and scheduling in the summer is shot. My vision was I would be having tea gatherings, but before I knew it things took off online.” On maintaining her presence Tami says, “you need to touch your business everyday in some way. I've done a lot of sending out samples to people I know. They try it and love it.” Tami's infectious positive energy has built a passionate and like minded community. When talking about what makes her successful she told us “It's trust. People know I wouldn't sign up for something I'm not passionate about. If you love what you do genuinely, people pick up on that.”
Before we know it, it's time for us to pack up and head back to ferry. We all thank Julie Ann for her hospitality and we, the Tea Queens team, thank both Julie Ann and Tami for being open and candid about their experiences as Independent Tea Consultants with us. As we start to leave, Julie Ann ushers us to the side door instead of the front door where she says with a smile, “No more front door. From now on you all must use the friends the family door.”
- Josh CJ, Lead Designer
This blog is featured as the first post on the new Infusing Success With Tea Queens group on Facebook, a place for Consultants to meet, chat, and share tips on business and tea.