Over the years I have met many amazing people that have touched me with their story and mission. Michelle is a great example. I still remember the day we met at the Coffee and tea Expo two years ago. She welcomed me with a smile and knew my name. At the time I knew of her but did not have a face to put with it.
It was a great honour to have the chance two years after to have a great talk with her and learn more about her company beTeas, and about herself. We all have our gifts that when shared inspire others. My hope is that you are as inspired as I am of her mission.
1. When did you first know you wanted to be an Entrepreneur, and what was the point that really made you go for it?
If I’m honest I don’t think I consciously thought of being an Entrepreneur and all that means. At least not at first! I had developed a passion for nutrition and health which quickly led to discovering a distinct passion for tea. Ideas morphed into other ideas that swirled around in my head constantly, until they started to take shape into something that felt unique and yearned to be implemented. I was a project manager by trade, and I think I thought of it more as a project than a business. The difference is perhaps subtle but project is a less scary word than business. Over time I couldn’t get the ideas out of my head and it became an obsession that I had to follow through on. I looked at my career at about the 17 year mark and asked myself if I could see myself doing this until retirement – and so I decided to start taking some courses that really interested me so I’d have some exciting opportunities available to me to transition to when the time was right. I wanted to have credibility when I did. I started studying nutrition and tea at about the same time in night school and within 3 years I was both Registered Holistic Nutritionist and a Certified Canadian Tea Sommelier. I met a critical point in my corporate career where I required a lot of travel and time away from my family and I decided I needed to make a change to be a more present wife and mother. This decision enabled me to start executing on what would become, beTeas Inc.
2.Where did the name “Be Teas” come from?
“be” is the simple state of enjoying the present moment. Tea is the way to spend that moment. It’s the union of everything a person needs to cope, to be still, to let the noise of the world stop even if only for a few minutes. For some of us a few minutes is all we can muster, and that is a start. A moment to be with yourself and enjoy, nourish and regenerate. For a moment, just be with an incredible cup of tea that you love.
3. What is the best and what is the hardest part about having your own tea company?
There is a funny expression that when you own your own business you can work any 100 hours a week that you want! The best part is being able to bring your vision to life and to own it and watch it grow! The hardest part is to do it alone. I had always been a part of a corporate team, and I was used to picking up the phone to the IT department or the marketing department to make problems go away. As my own boss, I had to do it all myself, and I had to get used to that! Slowly, I am building my ‘team’ around me of trusted vendors. I’ve learned I need to create a support infrastructure so I can spend my valuable time on the most important things only I can do to build the business, and hire for the pieces that make the most sense. You can’t grow, and do everything by yourself.
4. I’m sure everyday is different, but is there one thing that you do that helps you maintain a routine?
Maybe it’s the project manager in me but the best activity I have for myself is list making. So many things pile up when you’re a one woman show with a new and growing business so the best way to stay on top of it is to prioritize and always make sure the most important tasks are taken care of first. Often there are big items in the works that take up a majority of my time, so I dedicate at least 2 days of each week to doing my best to make sure those lists of all the other items get taken care of. You need to keep on top of that long list of little things or they can bog you down because the devil is always in the details!
5. Tea and health are a big topic but sometimes are put down by select crowds in the online community. What do you think of this, and what would you say to them on the topic?
I think the biggest problem with these types of sources is that often they focus on single nutrients or isolated pieces of science information that are neither practical or valid in the context of whole health. Often caffeine is picked on or a particular antioxidant is held up as superior, creating the illusion that a single nutrient makes one type of tea, or one type of food better or worse than all the others. Nutrients don’t work like that, and the body doesn’t use nutrients like that. It’s about how nutrients work together that make whole foods, like tea, so powerful to human health. It’s never about single nutrients, it’s how nutrients work together that is key.
6. What 3 key points about tea/nutrition would you like to share?
- It’s never about single nutrients, it’s about the whole package. When you drink tea, you are ingesting a whole food that can benefit your whole mind/body health.
- No other natural beverages contains more free radical fighting, antioxidants. Period. No matter what type of tea you prefer (camellia sinensis), healthful antioxidants abound in all of them.
- Concerns about tea and caffeine are unfounded because unlike other caffeinated beverages tea’s concert of nutrients modulates caffeine release in a way that provides enhanced mental concentration and focus but with calm and soothing to muscles and nerves.
7. What kind of connection between yoga and tea do you see?
Tea and yoga are a perfect match. Tea’s biologically active nutrients will allow for mental concentration, calm and relaxed muscles and nerves, deeper breathing, increased circulation, reduced inflammation and more. Tea before yoga or yoga before tea – it’s a perfect match, and either way, the mind and the body are allowed to come together in the present moment where the focus is you, and your breath. You and your tea. One is a perfect bridge to the other, and if we all did more of this, we’d have more peaceful moments which strung together, can create a really healthful lifestyle. Once the body gets used to being treated well, it craves more of it – and this can lead to better diet, better outlook on life or maybe even being more grateful and more kind to yourself and others.
8. Anything else you would like to share today?
Thank-you so much for the opportunity to share a little about beTeas. Life is short, so make sure you take the time to ‘love your cup!’
Many thanks to Michelle for letting me interview her and for sending her beautiful images. If you wish to learn more about beTeas please feel free to check out their website. I hope Michelle’s story has inspired you just as much as it has me.