My mission is to provide an ethical alternative. I hope to build an online tea shop that harms the environment as little as possible, and helps the people involved as much as possible. And of course, I want to share my favorite tea with you. Right now this project is based on 5 core values that I believe will help accomplish all that.
Most of my packaging is made from recycled materials, and all of it is plastic-free and can be recycled normally with paper goods. I take care to reuse or recycle all inventory packaging and business supplies when I can.
Every tea in my shop was grown without the use of any pesticides or fertilizers. The tea trees are allowed to grow naturally, surrounded by native plants and wildlife. The less human intervention, the better.
Farmers, producers and tea-makers deserve fair compensation for their work. That is why for every tea sold in my shop, 10% of the net profit is returned back to the artisans behind it.
I only sell tea that was grown and processed by those I have a direct relationship with. I trust the tea-makers I work with, and I believe they should be the ones receiving the praise, not me.
Tea I Love
Finally, let’s not forget that the tea should taste amazing! Every tea I sell is a tea that I personally love. Even if I think a tea is good by some objective standards, or even if it came from the oldest trees in the most pristine forests, I’m not going to sell it unless I personally love it with my own subjective tastes. The families I work with make many high quality teas, but I only share the ones I truly love.
Do Leaves Breathe?
They absorb carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, whether or not you want to call that breathing is up to you. Before they were harvested for tea, they were living beings serving a vital purpose to the ecosystem.
Trees are living beings too, they are not “things” that we can use however we please. They may experience life slowly and silently, but a lot goes on both above and beneath the forest floor that we are not capable of seeing.
When we begin to think critically about who makes our tea, how our tea is grown, and what our tea is packaged in, we can have an incredible impact on the environment around us.
The sooner we realize that there are real consequences to where we spend our money and what we choose to support, the sooner we can help reverse the horrific effects of our collective lifestyles. Hopefully, then, the trees that grow our tea will continue to thrive, and we can keep drinking in good conscience.
My hope is that this project can fully align with the values that guide my personal life. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to practice an ethical lifestyle, and it has guided some of my most important decisions. I don’t want people, animals, or the earth to suffer. I practice a vegan and low-waste lifestyle to the best of my abilities because of that. While I hope this business can fully support me one day, that is only on the terms that it is guided by my ethical values.
Beliefs & Practices
My beliefs extend into every corner of this business. I’d like to share a few ways these beliefs influence my business practices beyond the 5 core values listed above.
I believe that people should only purchase things when necessary, and only if they feel they truly need it (especially if isn’t pre-owned). Tea is no exception. While I do love tea, I also recognize that mindless consumption of it can be a bad thing.
My goal is not to convince anyone to buy my tea. In fact, there are a lot of people who I think should not buy my tea. Perhaps those who already have enough tea to last a lifetime and don’t need anymore. My goal is only to educate people about tea and make them aware of the existence of this business. That way, if they do decide to buy tea in the future, they have the option of supporting what I’m trying to do here.
For that reason, I don’t offer discounts or sales and I don’t provide subscription boxes. These methods don’t align with my values of mindful consumption.
I have been interested in cultivating compassion in myself for a while now. It influences many decisions in my daily life, and it also influences my relationships with the families who grow the tea I sell.
Whenever I talk to the wonderful people that grow the tea in my shop, I always try to approach our interactions first on the basis of compassion, and second on the basis of business. I do not speak with them skeptically under the mindset that they are trying to rip me off. Instead, I try to empathize with them and understand that their hard work deserves fair compensation. I trust that they are proud of the tea they offer us. And if they suggest a fair price for a tea that I love, then I am happy to move forward.
They are the ones that do all the hard work and therefore they are the ones that deserve all the acknowledgement. That is why their photos are featured on my packaging, and why 10% of the profits from their tea are returned back to them.
Tea prices are rising, and that’s a good thing. That means the people making it are being paid higher wages, and their quality of life is improving. We should be celebrating the distribution of wealth, not lamenting it.
Even when tea is cheap, there is always a greater cost to pay - we just don’t always see it. When your tea is grown with chemicals and arrives in non-recycled packaging, the environment pays the cost. When your tea is made from poor material processed roughly, the quality of the final product pays the cost. And when tea makers are paid unfair wages, they are the ones paying the cost. These are the invisible costs we should be concerned about.
It can also be helpful to think about how much tea you’re really getting for your money. Is $100 for a 357 gram cake of high-quality tea as expensive as you think? 357 grams is a huge amount of tea. Using 5g per session, you could easily have 70 multiple-cup sessions. You could drink that tea every week and still have some left over after a whole year.
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