owning a tea shop


Trends and Tips on developing and operating a tea business.

owning a tea shop

Postby Andee » Aug 15th, '07, 14:56

My husband and I are in the process of purchasing a small tea shop and we are trying to learn as much as we can. Does anyone have something they really love about a tea shop they've been in? This one is small but has a lot of potential. Thanks
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Aug 15th, '07, 15:10

What kind of tea shop are you opening? Will you have a focus or a theme?
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Postby Andee » Aug 16th, '07, 08:46

Well....we are still working on that. Right now it really doesn't have a theme. It is very tiny. Like a large long hall way. I think the building was stuffed into an alley. The town is very old fashioned, with the renovated store fronts, which I like, so what I'd like to do is Victorian and that would be affordable cause it is so little. There is one large front window that we could do victorian drapes pulled back. The displays are very mismatched so we are first off going to address that. Really great products it seems and the latest tea paraphanelia, plus beautiful pots and tea sets, plus some numbered collectable pots. Is this too much info. I have never done a chat before! Never owned a tea store either! Any input would be appreciated! We live in an artsy, up and coming tourist area in the mountains of Western Maryland. Thanks in advance for any input!Andee
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teashop

Postby hop_goblin » Aug 16th, '07, 10:29

How exciting! I am sure you and your partner are in for an adventure! If I were you, I would go to surrounding tea shops and see what products they offer. This way you could find teas that could differentiate you from your compeition. In addition, if it is artsy, I would highlight fair trade teas in addition to small picked plantations. I can say this with confidence because living here in MN, there are a lot of nature and artsy types who generally and more liberal ( I know, it sounds like its stereotyping, but thish has truely been my experience), and it appears that this is what this clientle cares more about fair trade products. Hope this helps

Hop
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Postby Mary R » Aug 16th, '07, 11:37

It sounds like a very fun project! And I second Hop's suggestion of having some fair trade teas. Fair Trade is a huge pet project among the more affluent and/or college educated in the Midwest.

I live in Indiana, and Victorian-themed tea rooms are quite popular among the ladies--particularly those who hang with church social groups. It seems that about once a month, a church social group will go to one of these tea rooms...so that's anywhere between 20-40 ladies at once. Naturally, they go to places that can handle all the people. I live in a pretty church-heavy area, so I get the impression that these groups basically are the bread and butter of this particular industry. That and bridal/baby showers.

If Maryland is somewhat similar, I would suggest looking into ways to ensuring you could handle at least 30 people at any one time. Then again, I'm not a professional business consultant or anything, so you might want to take what I say with a grain of salt. :)

Oh, and apparently Victorian-styled tea cups and saucers can get fairly expensive. One place in Indy sort of solved that problem by buying up all sorts of cheap, incomplete sets from eBay and estate sales. They have all the cups and saucers displayed along a wall on shallow shelves, and patrons can choose their favorites. It's a very popular feature for them and has the bonus of doubling as Victorian, tea-themed art.
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Postby Andee » Aug 16th, '07, 14:53

These are all really great idea. We have decided to carry fair trade teas but there is no room right now to serve tea...hopefully that will be next. We have some experience with tea parties. I have done garden tea parties at my house as fund raisers for my daughter when she was working in Bolvia as a teacher missionary. The ladies loved it and so did I. But the isea of having the cups and suacers around the room on a shelf etc. is a great idea. I love tea pots and was thinking showing them that way but the cups and saucers would be adorable. Thanks so much for all of your ideas. I'd appreciate any more you come up with. We are also going to change the name and this has been really hard. Male/ female thing with my husband! He is a teacher and will be "manning" the store most of the time in the summer months, so he doesn't want it to be too girly! Any ideas?Thanks Andee
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Postby Mary R » Aug 16th, '07, 15:17

He he he...if you're going for a Victorian theme, good luck with balancing the sexes. Victoriana is so girly by nature, it's kinda hard to do that. You might want to consult a professional interior decorator.
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Postby sachi » Aug 18th, '07, 00:55

Congrats on the very fun-sounding project! :mrgreen:

I'm glad to read that you plan to serve fair-trade items. I would also suggest organic items and lesser known "teas"/tisanes (i.e. rooibos, honeybush, chrysanthemum, and grain teas such as mugicha). Including stevia powder or leaves in the list of available sweeteners would be a nice (and healthy) touch as well. That's all I can think of for now. I hope my suggestions are of use to you! :)

Do tell us what you end up planning to do when you decide on things, as I'd love to hear about it. Pictures or a website link in the future would be lovely as well! :D

PS: I do agree that the theme would probably strongly limit the type of clients who would frequent the tea shop given the white porcelain, pink roses, and dainty lace image that tends to come to mind given the term "Victorian." :wink:
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Postby Andee » Aug 20th, '07, 12:23

Wow, things are starting to happen fast now! We may have an option on a place to rent that is two doors up and was a very cute sandwich shop that was only open for lunch, and if we can afford the rent that would mean we could serve tea and even do lunch and high tea etc! I'll know in a couple of days. If that happens we will really need some ideas fast! Yikes! That will really be pushing us since we both work full time....and with my husband being a high school music teaher and school is starting...oh well it'll be fun right? Thanks again for all the great input, please keep it coming we are trying to soak it all up. Andee
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Postby Andee » Aug 20th, '07, 12:28

Believe me it won't be authentic Victorian to fussy for me and I know my husband wouldn't like that at all, but kind of eclectic, but sweet. Like a shoppe you'd find in England or France. Tables on the sidewalk etc. It is starting to shape up in my head!The kind of shoppe that people who like to shop go into and love. Lots to look at and always a bargain to be found! Thanks Andee
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What do you think of the name?

Postby Andee » Aug 23rd, '07, 10:16

We close on the tea shoppe this weekend and we have decided to call it The Tea Cupboard. What do you think? It is tiny and in an historic area. We are excited....here we go! Andee
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Postby Samovar » Aug 23rd, '07, 10:18

I love the name. It sounds cozy.

The best of luck to you!!

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Postby sachi » Aug 23rd, '07, 15:31

I agree, "The Tea Cupboard" sounds lovely! :) It suits the surroundings that you described and doesn't give an overly girly impression.

Best of luck to you, your hubby, and The Tea Cupboard, Andee! :D
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Postby henley » Aug 30th, '07, 10:17

I'm new here but just finished reading your post. I love what you're doing & the name is great! It clearly implies that you're a tea room w/o being too feminie. There's a great tea room apr 20 miles from me that I visit regularly. She is Victorian in style but not completely girly. My husband has even gone with me for dinner & the last time I was there, 4 men came for lunch. She has a website. If you're interested, send me a PM & I'll share her web addy w/you. Best of luck to you!

~Henley
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Re: owning a tea shop

Postby Mocha Wheels » Aug 30th, '07, 10:20

Andee wrote:My husband and I are in the process of purchasing a small tea shop and we are trying to learn as much as we can. Does anyone have something they really love about a tea shop they've been in? This one is small but has a lot of potential. Thanks


the boutique i buy my tea from isn't just a tea shop... they sell aroma therapy, candles, natural cosmetics, hand soaps, body washes... everything!!! :P they also have a featured tea or two of the week that they offer customers when they come in.

www.botanicalindulgence.com
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