I have a funny story about this week's feature. Do you remember that Lemon Zucchini Cake with Earl Grey Buttercream I posted back in spring? If not, here's a little refresher. Well, after I made this cake with regular early grey tea, I met Sam, the lovely owner and operator of Tearrifc and the YYC Team Wagon. When I found out she blended a lovely lavender earl grey tea, I thought "I HAVE TO USE THAT IN MY CAKE!!" Luckily, Sam and I were both going to be at Amber Approved's Stampede Breakfast so I got a bag of tea from her. Embarrassing confession: I have yet to remake the cake and the tea is all gone.
This feature is all about a wonderful woman with a great business and delicious tea. Be sure to check out her newly minted online store at the end of the article!
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your work. Where are you from? What do you do?
I’m Sam and I own Tearrific, a loose leaf tea company, and The Tea Wagon! I’m from Vancouver originally, spent a couple of years in Calgary before university, and then moved to England for six years. I went to university over there (which intensified my tea habit), met my now-husband, and then stayed to work in publishing for two years before coming back to Calgary. I will always consider Calgary my home because it is the city where I feel the most comfortable. I love it here!
I spend most of my time hand-blending loose leaf tea and operating The Tea Wagon. We sell many of our creations on the trailer, and if you order a drink, I’m the one making it for you! We also do personalized wedding and party favours.
What inspires you to do what you do? How did you start doing this work?
I started Tearrific because I have always wanted to be self-employed and to make something that people would want to buy. What really inspired me to do this, though, is my love of tea and the desire to have a creative job. Making tea blends is really fun, and I feel like I’ve struck gold with a few of them, so that makes me happy. Every time I come across a winning combination, it inspires me to keep mixing to find other great teas to serve.
What inspires you most about your community (city, group of friends, etc.)?
The small business community in Calgary is amazing. I have met so many wonderful entrepreneurs that I am very lucky to call friends. Their determination and dedication makes me want to keep going on my worst days. Running a small business is not an easy thing, and there are a lot of low points. Having an inspiring community to talk to and vent with helps so much! I love seeing their successes as it further drives me towards running my business the best that I can.
If you could give anyone who is starting out in your field (business, non-profit, etc.) one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people doing the same thing you are – I wish I had done that earlier as the first few months were pretty lonely. Be prepared to change the way you do things. Not everything will work the way you planned it; you’ll streamline your processes and get rid of what doesn’t work. Don’t hold onto something just because it’s “part of your plan”. I guess that’s two pieces of advice...!
Tell me three fun facts about yourself or your organization.
- I got married at Spruce Meadows, one of my favourite places in the entire world.
- I do actually drink coffee, despite having a tea business!
- I have a Masters degree in scriptwriting for film, TV, and radio. Not much help when you run a food truck! :)
Get in Touch
Website and online shop: tearrific.ca
Do you know of a person, business, non-profit or other organization doing amazing work in Calgary? Tell me about it! Visit the Feature Friday page for more information!