Influencers Offer Advice for Those New to the Tea Industry

Tea industry influencers were asked: If you could go back in time and share advice with yourself as you started in this industry, what would you tell yourself?

Here are their responses.

When faced with an important decision, do your homework and due diligence, but always listen to your gut. If you’re trying to make something work that doesn’t feel good, it will almost always turns out to not be the right way to proceed! Surround yourself with the right people. They’re there for you, in droves, more talented and able than you could ever be. Just clear the space for them, and welcome them in!

—Maria Uspenski
Founder and CEO of The Tea Spot, author of Cancer Hates Tea

Perfection is not always required. The old 80/20 rule applies to most things in business and perfection often stops a company in its tracks. This can be applied to just about everything you do in your business. Pull others in quickly to help support you. It’s impossible for anyone to know everything about running their business. Instead of taking the lengthy time to learn it all; hirer consultants, mentors, supply partners, etc. to help you build and grow faster. Concentrate on what you do best and leave the rest to others who excel in those areas. With your guidance your vision will become a reality quicker.

—Scott Svihula
Owner of Hula Consulting

Some of my assumptions about the industrywere completely uninformed. For example, I assumed that the tea “themes”in foodservice provided opportunities that would give much more financialsecurity because of the multiple streams of income. I saw strength in that.What other foodservice has strong potential for retail? And events? And thriveson originality and creativity? And the opportunity to connect meaningfully withvarious cultural communities? And is popular cross-generationally? I didn’task enough questions and assumed that more retail products and products forthis market would be in demand. I would tell myself to do A LOT more research.And I’d still like to figure out why my original assumption isn’ttrue.

—Babette Donaldson
President of the International Tea Sipper’s Society, author, tea educator

Wow, I ask myself this a lot!​

​I'm marking my 15 year anniversary this year, soI've been deep in self-discovery mode lately. What comes up over and over againis, stop comparing. Just stop. You will be enough, you ARE enough now, even ifit rarely feels that way. No one else will have the same path - you can chooseto view this as a freedom, not as a handicap. And despite the surfacesimilarities, no one else you're self-comparing to had the same as anyone theylooked to, either. There is simply no One Way. Keep asking yourself"why?" Where does this dream or aspiration come from? Why does itneed to look like this? Who said so??? There is far more room than the jobsboards of LinkedIn or careers pages on company websites let on. But you mustbelieve in you first before anyone else can learn how to, as well. 

—Suzette Hammond
Founder of Being Tea, tea trainer and consultant

Expect delays. There are always bumps in the road in getting tea out of origin and to it’s final destination.

—Kelly Amoroso
Tea Buyer at Allegro Coffee