Not too long ago, whenever I thought about tea, an image of Kermit the Frog popped in my head. You know, that meme that’s been circulating on social media of Kermit sipping tea while throwing some shade? Yeah, that one. I’d laugh at most of those memes while sipping on coffee and scrolling on Instagram. Coffee was my thing. I wasn’t a tea drinker at all. But because of heartburn and anxiety, I made the switch to tea. It wasn’t an easy process. It’s something I never thought would happen. Me? A tea drinker? No way. But it happened.
When I think of tea now, it isn’t Kermit that comes to mind. Now, I think of chamomile for sleep and ginger tea for digestion. And because of all the benefits tea has to offer, I’m always on the hunt for a new blend. But because of the pandemic, I haven’t been able to shop at some of my favorite tea shops. So, when a friend recently recommended Ivy’s Tea Co., I decided to check it out.
If you take a look around Ivy’s Tea Co.’s website you’ll dive into unique blends and Hip-Hop. Yeah, I said Hip-Hop. When you think of Hip-Hop, I’m sure drinking tea isn’t something that comes to mind, but now tea and Hip-Hop will become synonymous. With tea blends named “C.R.E.A.M” and “Nip’s Tea”, you’ll have a whole new experience with tea.
The company’s founder, Shanae Jones, decided to start a business because she was unsatisfied with her day job. She explains, “I decided to start a business first. I needed to do something that gave me real satisfaction. My work at my day job was grossly unfulfilling, didn’t pay well, and just boring. I was torn between starting a tea business or a perfume business. I decided to start with something that I loved–tea.”
Although she loves tea, it wasn’t easy to get a business up and running. Shanae had a lot to learn and faced some obstacles along the way. She says, “I didn’t know a damn thing about running a business. I’ve had plenty of obstacles. I had to decide what branding would be. I just thought I’d make good tea and people would just buy it. I was so naive.” She had to work hard to get her business to where it is today. That includes completing an herbal apprenticeship, finding work-life balance, and learning to manage money. Thankfully, she worked her way through it all and figured it out. And now, she not only sells amazing teas blended by hand but also herb infused honey.
So, let’s get back to the Hip-Hop connection. How does Hip-Hop come into it? Shanae explains, “That’s marketing and branding. When I learned that I’d need to set my products apart from all the other tea companies, I just went with what I was comfortable with–Hip-Hop culture.” Although Shanae has been working hard on Ivy’s Tea Co. for nearly four years, she didn’t quit her day job. She wanted to save some cash. But unfortunately, she recently lost her job. So now, Ivy’s Tea and Co. is her only source of income. Even though it wasn’t what she had planned, she says, “I feel so free. I am so happy that I get to put my all into Ivy’s Tea and Co., and I know I’m going to do incredible things while my soul grows and I grow as an entrepreneur.”
Do you own a small business? If you’d like to be featured, send us an email. If your company is a fit for our site, we will get in touch. We are huge supporters of small businesses. And in light of everything going on, we’d especially love to highlight black-owned small businesses.