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Tea & Business

I've been steeping, serving or selling tea for over a decade now. I had the privilege of working for and learning from my experience at a woman-owned, loose leaf tea blending company called Sterling Tea, in Rockwall, Texas. I was a customer and loyal fan shortly after they opened their retail shop in 2007, and one day I became the over-qualified tea-bagger and labeler. I loved it though! I could show up, clock in, bag tea, drink tea, and learn about this world of owning a small business in tea retail and wholesale, and leave my work at work at the end of the day. The owner of Sterling Tea, Brenda Sterling Myers, has been a dear friend from the beginning, and I credit most of my tea knowledge to her tutelage. It didn't take long before I was taught how to blend her wonderful tea recipes, work in shipping and receiving, and take purchase orders from our clients. I was the Director of Operations by the time my husband and I had to move back to the Midwest for his job relocation. From there, I did some sales where I could, keeping myself busy and still plugged into the company I was sad to have to leave.

When working for Sterling Tea, I said to myself I never wanted to own my own business after seeing how much work goes into it! So many hours, passion, blood, sweat and tears! I marveled at what it took to keep it going everyday -- through supply shortages (you can't make tea without tea!), employee challenges, clients who relied on the delivery of our product and then something goes awry. I guess that means I went into Root & Fruit Nutrition (RFN) with both eyes open. The biggest challenge with RFN is balancing the business side with the clinical practice side. Learning what I need to know to help my clients (that part never ends -- as new medical research comes out every single day!), while also figuring out how to make a living doing it. I cannot make one of them more important and neglect the other. I also have to develop boundaries to keep both my personal and professional lives functioning in a healthy way. For small business owners, the work never stops. There will always be something I can be doing: tweak the website, develop new social media content, follow-up with a client or prospect, answer texts and e-mails, write a blog post...

But, for now, I look back fondly at this article from 2011 in the Herald & Review, local newspaper from Decatur, Illinois. The owner of a little hometown bakery was a new customer of mine that wanted to host a tea education event in her store. I was happy to oblige and it received rave reviews from attendees.

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