240
7 min 56 sec

Tea Sommelier Turns Leaves Into Million-Dollar Business

A Canadian hospitality employee creates a line of tempting teas that grow to sell $30,000+ a month on Amazon.com.
Food Health & Wellness High Profit International Product

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What It's About

On the verge of facing workplace conformity after landing a new job, a tea sommelier in Ottawa decides to find another outlet for her inventive urges.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Tea Knowledge & Business Savvy
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

If you can’t fathom going full-time and being stocked in the Four Seasons, here’s what you should remember:

-Purchase options and bundles are good. Sheena increased her average order size by offering a special version of the tea that came with a container. Pretty basic but it worked!

-Tease Tea's sales grew exponentially when Sheena listed them on Amazon. That’s not uncommon for the right product. However, it’s not necessarily best to run out and do that right away. Do it after you’ve done some testing and feel confident in what you’re offering.

Fun Fact

Sheena is often featured on-air as a "Tea Expert," regularly engaging and educating SiriusXM Radio, CTV, Global News & Rogers TV viewers/listeners. If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of tea and its origins, check out her media page.

Notes from Chris

Episode 240
The side hustler you’ll hear about today now runs a million-dollar business... and in true side hustle fashion, this business started with just a $500 investment by an employee in the hospitality industry who continued to work her day job until her project was bringing in a lot of money and needed her full attention.

Sheena Brady had worked in the hospitality industry for many years, both in her native Canada and abroad. When a new luxury hotel in Toronto invited her to launch the most extensive tea program in the city, she excitedly agreed.

Running such an impressive tea program was rewarding, but it had its drawbacks. The required wardrobe was specific and had no room for interpretation: she had to show up in a suit, pantyhose, red lipstick, heels, hair in a bun, and beige or clear nail polish. For some people, a limited wardrobe and routine can help create focus and clarity, but for Sheena, it ate at her soul.

But she needed to create. She needed to imagine. So she eventually decided to leave that position and took a position at Shopify instead which ended up being a life changing decision for Sheena. Unlike her previous employer, they encouraged her creative instincts and she started creating her own tea blends after work—and they were great (which isn’t a surprise, considering all that training she had).

The entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and, before she knew it, she had developed an entire brand from the ground up. She got in touch with her tea leaf connections from the hotel, sent them her packaging design, and placed her first order.

She naturally got her start on Shopify, but once she was two years in, Sheena put Tease Tea on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. And thank goodness she did! Growth has been exponential for the last 9 months since then. Sales continue to climb, with the average monthly revenue falling $30,000+!

NOTE: If you're interested in creating your own e-commerce website but aren't sure where to start, Shopify has just released a special video series that you may find useful! This comprehensive series is free to you, and Shopify is also offering a 21-day free trial so that you can see if Shopify is right for you.

—>Visit the video series page to learn more!

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Tease Tea: Sip your way over to Sheena's website and discover a new tea blend to help you with your goals
  • Shopify: Sheena used Shopify to set up her website for Tease Tea, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!
SEE ALSO:

  • Cottage Law: Interested in starting your own tea side hustle? You might be able to get started in your very own kitchen! Here are the cottage laws in the U.S. by state
  • Entrepreneur Reads Tea Leaves to Launch Subscription Hustle: A New York-based consultant brews his need for energy into a tea delivery service that offers customers a chance to discover new tea varieties each month
  • “Mommee Coffee” Becomes a $20,000/Month Side Hustle: Tired of the guilt associated with consuming coffee while pregnant and breastfeeding, a biomechanical engineer creates a line of coffee bean options that keep Mom happy and baby healthy
Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"The secret to getting ahead is getting started. Too often we bog ourselves down with the granular details and problems that might not even exist or matter yet. Get messy, dive in, tailor and tweak later if necessary."
—Sheena Brady #SideHustleSchool

Sponsors & Gratitude

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau