Tea: Beyond Conventional and into Conventions!
We're gearing up for our next genre convention here at Discover Teas, and it's got me thinking about our history with these sorts of events. Whether they're aimed at sci-fi fans, comic book readers, or people just getting into the latest anime, genre conventions have become popular in a way most of us couldn't have envisioned when we were younger. That's a great thing, too, in my opinion. These gatherings are a chance for fans to get together with other people who are just as excited about these things as they are! That sense of community is what first drew Discover Teas to these conventions. (Well, that, and the various stories and games that we love, too!)
Discover Teas has been vending at genre conventions since before I started working here in 2015. While tea doesn't, at first glance, look like it would blend well with genre conventions, it turns out to be a natural fit. You see, we don’t just sell tea at our Dealer Room booths; we provide a way for fans to make the tea experience part of their celebration. We helped NekoCon’s four mascots each create their own custom blends and have donated tea for conventions’ charity auctions. We also provide tea in NekoCon’s Green Room for their convention guests and for the Dr Marso Tea Party at MarsCon. And if you’d like to chat about tea outside of the hubbub of a Dealer Room, you can also find us serving tea at NekoCon’s ABJD and Lolita Tea Parties.
When customers stop by our booth, they're looking for a way to make their day better. They want to sip their favorite flavors. They want to step back from the noise and hustle of the mundane and take a few special moments just for themselves, and that's not too far from what brings fans out to these conventions in the first place. These shows and series, after all, are also a step out of the ordinary, and a way to make every day a little bit better for us. We love adding to that joy.
Joy is definitely the right word for it, too. It's one thing to talk about the connections between tea and conventions, but it's another thing to be at the Discover Teas booth in the thick of it, with a gaggle of customers in amazing cosplay gathering around Mai-Anh as she stands on a chair to announce the newest sample. Puns about tea and video games fly across the aisles. Our amazing team of volun-tea-rs help prepare for an upcoming tea party, bring cups of tea to various dealers in Vendor Halls and Artist Alleys—many of whom can't leave their booth without losing sales—or help tea fans choose teas that remind them of their favorite stories and characters. It's close to overwhelming at times, but everyone gets a break to reset when they need it. (I tend to spend it looking at the shiny merchandise at the other booths.)
When all is said and done and it's time to take down the booth, we've spent three days rolling hard for what feels like 25 hours a day. It's worth it, though. We always leave with a batch of memories, photos of great cosplays, and the knowledge that we've helped give so many people an opportunity to remind themselves of the things they love most in life. If you were to ask us why we do all this, that alone is a pretty good reason. Now that Discover Teas has been an e-business for a year, we've got a lot more freedom to show up for these sorts of events, so come see us at NekoCon and MarsCon, and keep an eye on our Facebook page or e-mail newsletters to find out what convention we’ll be at next!