Discovering New Transformations for Discover Teas
When I first thought of opening a tea shop, it seemed like such a pipe dream. Now, almost seven years later, two shops, and building a community of thousands we call our tea family, it’s clear that Discover Teas wasn’t just fulfilling my dream but satisfying an important need for many who walked through our doors and found us online.
It’s evident that the landscape of retail has been rapidly changing over the past several years. In order to retain our vitality, we have to adapt and pivot as well; our business model has to change with the times. As our lease comes to an end for our space in Port Warwick, Newport News, VA, we have made the decision not to renew. The survival of our little local microbusiness demands us to think outside of the brick-and-mortar box. This is our opportunity to do just that; an opening to do something expansive. Just because we won’t be at that address doesn’t mean we won’t be around as your go-to tea merchant and resource! (More details to come—sign up for our e-newsletter, follow us on Facebook, or join us at our Transformation Celebration to learn more!)
Our location isn’t the only thing that will be changing. As Discover Teas embarks on a new future, I am handing over the reins to Mai-Anh and Emily, who will take ownership late September. They have spent years investing in the company and believe wholeheartedly in what we’re doing. I know they hold the Vision of what was started and established and are capable also to breathe new life into our Mission. Together we created a beneficial situation that lets Discover Teas continue and thrive in trusted hands, and become a dream for someone else to nurture into blossom; while at the same time allowing me to step out to explore what lies in waiting for me to dream up next.
Please join me in celebrating our transformation and supporting the growth of Discover Teas. I know exciting things are coming!
A little over four years ago, I walked in the doors of Discover Teas for the first time. I knew I had found a special place, an oasis of passion in what seemed to be a desert of big box stores and, of course, a source for amazing tea. What I didn’t know then was that this humble tea shop would soon grow from a hangout space into my next workplace, and from a workplace into a passion of my own. The love of tea and of sharing knowledge that surrounded me from the moment I walked in showed me that here was more than just another retail space.
In my journey with Discover Teas, I’ve seen the power of tea to bring people together, to create and support a sense of community. I’ve learned how to use tea to heal, to nourish, to provide a sanctuary in the midst of chaos. With tea, we have helped people in so many ways beyond simply teaching them how to make their best cup of tea (although that is a big one, too!). I’ve enjoyed helping people invent custom blends to reflect their personalities or businesses, and how to think beyond the teacup and enjoy tea in other aspects of their lives as well, such as cooking. Sharing the love of tea has become much more than just a job to me—it’s a joy.
But it’s not only about the day-to-day. As I’ve been with Discover Teas, I’ve seen firsthand the power and the freedom of small business, as my work goes beyond the mundane and has allowed me to fully engage with just about every part of the business, from marketing to event catering to website management. From day one, Chris has believed in me and encouraged me to spread my wings.
Despite this, it was still a shock when Chris came to me and to Emily with her proposal, even though we had known that changes were coming for Discover Teas. I can’t describe what an honor it is for us for her to trust us with her mission. This business, her baby, has meant so much not only to us, but also to you, and we will do everything in our power to continue bringing that dream to life and helping it grow.
Our expansion project will allow us to reach our tea family from Williamsburg to Chesapeake, and potentially even beyond. In order to do this while still providing the quality of service and tea education that you love, and to continue fostering a sense of community, we’ll be partnering with multiple local hangouts of all kinds (shops, spas, salons, and more) to feature Discover Teas pick-up locations. These locations will also be the forefront of our pop-up shops, where you'll still get to do your in-person shopping. And, when you order online or over the phone for delivery to a pick-up location, shipping is free! We also intend to continue our tradition of education by having classes and workshops at these pop-up shops as well, and perhaps offering them online so you can participate no matter how far away you may be.
As we move forward into our next steps to keep the mission of tea alive, it’s my hope, and Emily’s too, that the new aspects of the model will help bring that moment of sanctuary even closer to home—right to the cup of tea by your elbow. Thank you to our tea family for your support, and we hope you'll join us as our tea adventure continues!