Only in tea can you find a drink for nearly any mood. There is a tea you can drink at bed time to help you sleep, there is one for when you get up in the morning and need a boost. In some countries a cup of tea is simply a part of the daily routine.
There is so much more to tea than that, of course. It has a history and there are a series of health benefits that come with it too, all of which Robert and Susanne Schaffer, the husband and wife team behind You, Me and Tea, know all about. Located online and at a brick and mortar shop in Suffolk County, NY, they have been offering premium teas to the world since March of 2008.
Tell us a little about You, Me and Tea.
You, me and Tea is a quaint retail shop located in scenic Port Jefferson Harbor. We offer a variety of luxury loose teas, in addition to premium boxed teas and all the accessories necessary for the perfect cup- tea pots, infusers, cozies, etc.
What inspired you to launch your business?
You, Me and Tea was founded in March of 2008 but the original owner quickly tired of the hours required to get a new business off the ground and sold the shop in November of 2008. We saw potential in the shop and jumped in with both feet, despite the looming recession. My husband was an executive at a cosmetic giant and I was a pre-school teacher and we saw this as an opportunity for change in our lives.
We sell approximately 80 loose leaf teas and another dozen of the pre-pack variety. We have black teas, greens, oolongs, whites and rooibos.
What are some of your top selling products?
Organic relaxation is presently one of our big sellers- a great sleepy-time tea with valerian root and chamomile. Good for these stressful times. Monk’s blend is a popular black tea with vanilla and grenadine. And then of course there are our T-sacs which enable our customers to make their own teabags with loose leaf tea.
In what ways has your business grown since it launched over 1 1/2 years ago?
Our business has grown dramatically in the last year. We’ve been open seven days a week and I think the word is out that we provide a premium product with a smile.
What goals do you still hope to accomplish?
Obviously, we love to increase our sales next year but more importantly we’d like to educate people about tea and it’s health benefits.
What are some of the lessons that your business has taught you?
It all sounds cliché but true- if you do what you love to do and it shows, well, then you’re likely to be successful.
When did you first become interested in tea? How did you know that this was something you wanted to create a business around?
I’ve always been a tea drinker and collected teapots for years but with the shop came much new-found knowledge and with that knowledge came a deep appreciation for both the variety and the history of tea. As for creating a business around it, it was more a matter of being at the right place at the right time.
What advice do you have for fellow entrepreneurs that are hoping to launch their own businesses in the near future?
Research your product well and be willing to put in very long hours. Nothing in life worth having comes easily.