Company profile: August/September 2011
Running a tea business is a full-time job, but for Ami Soleau, owner of SpecialTea Brew, her new venture is just one of her many hats.
“I am a just do it type of girl,” Ami explained. “I had the idea, talked it over with a few people, wrote out my plans and ideas, read about a million books, blogs, etc and then just decided to give it a go.”
While she works full-time in another sector, Seattle-based Ami was looking for a business that was more challenging – and more fulfilling.
Tea ended up being the answer for her.
And the company has a lot of meaning for her. “The name is after my auntie who passed away from Breast Cancer,” Ami said. “She loved tea, love the arts and her name was Brooke; [but] we called her Brew.”
She donates three percent of all sales of her company towards research in finding a cure for breast cancer, in her aunt’s memory.
Right now SpecialTea Brew only sells teas online – but Ami said she does eventually want to open a brick-and-mortar store, when the time is right. Since she works full-time elsewhere she doesn’t have a lot of extra time to put into her tea company – not yet.
SpecialTea Brew is part of the Tea Etc wholesale program, which means Ami doesn’t necessarily blend her own teas, but she does have plans to do that someday.
The wholesale program provides an opportunity for smaller, independent companies to sell tea under their own private labels. For Ami, this was a perfect match – especially since she had trouble locating a Seattle-based tea manufacturer.
But just because SpecialTea Brew isn’t her only job, don’t think Ami doesn’t take her company seriously. Her motto is “Brew what you love and love what you brew,” and Ami takes this to heart. She strives to make her tea company a success for herself, and for her customers.
“My mission is to satisfy customers, with good quality and fast response time,” Ami explained. So if you email her, she’ll get back to you promptly. “If you need something I will make it happen if I am able to do so.”
In addition to teas, Ami’s crafty in other ways – she offers custom-made greeting cards on her site as well. SpecialTea Brew is a one-stop shop for presents for tea fans; get a gift for your tea friend and a custom-made card at the same time.
Since starting her tea business a few months ago, Ami has been happy with the success so far – as well as the friendships she’s made through this tea venture. “I have learned a lot about tea and yet there is still so much to learn,” Ami explained. “I like to learn from customers as well; they know what they want and how they want it and I like to help them with that.”
Ami added that the world of tea is a continuing education experience. “I don’t think there will ever be a point where I know it all about tea, but I do hope to be an expert in the field at some point.”
In the meantime, Ami is happy learning about tea, celebrating tea, and meeting more tea friends through her business. “I hope to gain experience, and knowledge most of all,” she explained. “I love the challenge of running my own business.”
She has been on the hunt for a business partner as well, not an employee but a partner, Ami stressed, someone who will share the workload – and the fun – 50/50. “I am looking for someone that not only has the passion that I have but someone that compliments my strengths. I have the passion and idea, you have the knowledge.”
But even without a partner, SpecialTea Brew is open for business. Check out her store here: SpecialTea Brew. For more information, including finding out if you could be a business partner for her, visit her Web site or contact her below.
Web site: http://www.specialteabrew.com
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