Same Favorite Styles, New True Fit

Since the very beginning of our journey to bring world-wide adventures home, Tea has created exciting, travel-inspired patterns in durable and timeless designs that outlast the seasons.

Now, our very own in-house Tech Design team has created a New True Fit that is true to size and streamlined for easy movement and a modern look. The styles you love are still here; they’ve just been updated to fit better than ever!

Our new true to size fit is streamlined for a modern look.

 

Looking sleek/up to date and ready for play in our New True Fit.

 

New True fit eliminates excess material for a more streamlined fit.

 

As we continue serving fresh looks, Tea looks forward to bringing more of our travels to you. Have you seen our latest destination? Because it’s epic. Explore it here.

Questions about sizing or our New True Fit? This chart can help you pick the right size. Or, contact our sizing experts at service@teacollection.com—they have all the answers.

Let Kids Be Kids: Meet Magda of METAdrasi

We arrived at the shelter for unaccompanied refugee children in Athens to meet Magda. Magda works full-time (and more) to look after the 14 children who live in this home away from home. Every one of these children arrived in Greece without a parent or guardian. Some will stay in Greece, while others will find their way to a relative in Europe. But for now, all of these kids are at home in Athens.

The home looks like any other home in this upscale, residential neighborhood. We sat in the backyard under green trees that let in bits of warm sunshine. A toddler from the Congo kicked a soccer ball while his tween sister talked on a cell phone with her uncle. A boy from Pakistan peered over the balcony to watch us (and occasionally toss something below to get our attention). An eight-year-old Syrian girl kept tapping on Magda’s shoulder and pointing to Magda’s phone with a very expressive voice. We didn’t need to speak Greek to recognize the universal language of: “How much longer?,” and then the grown-up’s firm response: “It will be sooner if you stop interrupting me.”

And that’s just it. Childhood should be universal. While these kids have faced the unimaginable, they are still kids. They are having universal childhood experiences of kicking balls, talking on the phone, and waiting endlessly for a grown-up to stop talking to other grown-ups.

We asked Magda, “What do you want people to know about METAdrasi’s work helping unaccompanied child refugees?”

She paused and then looked us in the eye to emphasize the importance: “Remember first and foremost: these are kids just like any other kids. Don’t look at them with pity. Don’t ask them about their past or to repeat their story. These kids need to live in the present and look forward. They are more than their refugee story.”

Our hour-long conversation went by so quickly (at least for the adults, but it was clearly interminable for children!). Much to the delight of the girl watching the clock, Magda was finally ready to walk to the nearby kiosk. The Congolese tween had finished her call with her uncle so she joined us, as did a happy, dimpled girl from Kazakhstan.

We all walked in a pack. Sometimes the girls held each other’s hands. Sometimes they grabbed Magda’s hand. One would skip ahead and then the others would jump to catch up. They zigged and zagged down the sidewalk, making jokes in Greek that we didn’t understand—and yet, in a way we did.

We arrived at the kiosk. What had the young girl been waiting not-so-patiently for? SLIME!

Indeed, Magda is doing the work that these children need most. She is enabling them to be kids.

We are happy that Tea can be a part of this important work, nurturing kids to be kids, wherever they live, however they arrived, wherever they are going next. All children deserve dignity, and it is the work of people like Magda and METAdrasi that makes that possible one sweet, slime-loving, giggly kid at a time.

About METAdrasi

 

METAdrasi – Action for Migration and Development was founded in December 2009, with the mission to cover crucial gaps in the reception and integration of refugees and migrants in Greece. METAdrasi is determined to uphold and protect the fundamental human rights of all those displaced and persecuted through innovative interventions. METAdrasi is the only NGO that retains a permanent frontline presence in all key entry points in Greece, focusing on four main axes of activities: interpretation, protection of unaccompanied children, protection of other vulnerable groups, and education and integration. For more information, please visit www.metadrasi.org.

Tea Takes Greece: Making Friends in the Magical Mediterranean

In October, five families from all over the world arrived in Andros, one of the many stunning Greek islands of the Cyclades and a site of inspiration for our Spring Collection.

Some traveled from Florence and Thessaloniki, while other families came from as far away as Sayulita, Melbourne, and San Francisco. From different places arrived a group of families who have dedicated a portion of their lives and hearts to travel.

We were all there to make the collection come to life, but the blue skies and seas, the bonds that were created, and the memories that were shared are what we’ll never forget.

The kids declared themselves best friends within minutes of meeting—and these friendships only grew stronger over the next five days we spent exploring the coasts of Andros, our temporary home in the Aegean Sea.

For our Spring launch, we made our way to Chora, the picturesque capital village of Andros. We ran through alleys chasing cats—sweetened treats in hand—pausing in bright blue doorways to take shelter from the untamed Meltemi winds.

We’re so pleased to introduce to you our friends, who you’ll get to know over the next few months as we post more about our shared adventures. We only spent a few days together on Andros, but these are friendships that will last a lifetime.

Our Ocean’s Eleven

 

We had always heard that sibling rivalry was as real and universal as gravity. But not with these two. Tilly and Francis were like peanut butter and jelly.

 

Meet Tilly and Francis. They are two of the world-traveling kids on Quartier Collective. We had been drooling over their family travels on Instagram and were especially inspired by their work to organize group travel for families. Their Family Gatherings bring families together to explore new countries while connecting through shared curiosity and adventure.

A rare occurence of Captain Viggo sitting still, miraculously captured on camera.

 

This is Francis and Tilly’s little brother, the viking-pirate. Viggo—whose name means Viking—was often found running around with a hand-drawn pirate patch on his face (but no talking parrot on his shoulder).

These three adventurous siblings quickly befriended fellow world-travelers Amelie, Indi, and Lulu, who are the next generation executive team of the inspiring and sustainability-focused Joy Chasers. These six were fast friends, quickly bonding over their world-schooling lifestyles.

Amelie and Tilly were nearly inseparable and loved planning fun games and little parties for everyone. We’re pretty sure these two could have organized the whole trip without missing a beat.

 

Throughout our time together, Lulu made her rounds so that just about every kid was her best friend, at least for a day.

 

Indi, Amelie, and Francis taking a break from running through the alleys of Chora.

 

Everyone quickly embraced the sibling pair from northern Greece, Vasilia and Kostis. They arrived with Greek treats in hand for everyone: Greek eye bracelets for the kids and Tsoureki (Greek sweet bread) for the adults.

Vasilia helped us all learn a few words in Greek.

 

Kostis had style for miles. He has a long-time love of Vans and was especially into the Tea shirts with collars.

 

The next family to join us included the sisters from Florence: charismatic and cat-loving Mariú and her equally enthusiastic and charming baby sister, Luna (affectionately called Luna Banoona).

Indi and Mariú playing it cool by a pretty pink wall in Chora.

 

Sweet Luna took a pause from chasing cats to hide from the gusty winds with Vasilia, her new Greek friend.

 

Bringing up the rear (in age only) was 8-month-old Frances Lucille from San Francisco (aka “Baby Fwankie”) who is likely now known as the happiest and most loved baby who ever visited Greece.

Baby Frances sure did love the attention from Francis … as well as all of the other children. And let’s be clear, there was no shortage of attention for this olive-loving baby.

 

Wondering who took these incredible photos? We’re so thrilled that we were able to work with the endlessly talented Taryn Elledge-Penner (of Quartier Collective), who tirelessly chased this gaggle of children up and down Andros to capture our Spring and Summer collections.

Follow @teacollection and #teamakesfriends on Instagram to see more behind-the-scenes snapshots of our time in Greece.

Follow these amazing families and travel partners below. They’ll also be posting their photos and unique stories of our Andros experience this season!

@quartiercollective
@joychasers
@emikodavies
@effie_panagoula

Giving Tuesday: Giving Back for Good

Giving Tuesday

Giveback has always been at the heart of Tea. Since 2003, we’ve committed to donating 10% of our annual profits to make the world a better place for children everywhere. Giving Tuesday was no different, but we wanted to do something extra special for the holiday season. For every purchase made on Giving Tuesday, we committed to donating an outfit to a child in need. Additionally, for every new Instagram follower we gained, we would donate an additional outfit.

Thanks to your support, we’ll be donating 1,543 outfits (3,086 individual pieces of clothing) to children in need.

The Kelsays

Calli’s kids helping make gifts for the Door of Faith children

 

To ensure our efforts would make a meaningful difference, we searched far and wide for donation partners who expressed a true need for children’s clothing. One of these partners was Calli Kelsay of The Kelsays. A longstanding Tea supporter, Calli has made it a priority to get her four kids involved in giving back. When we reached out to her about our Giving Tuesday idea, she was ecstatic to jump on board and help the cause.

We sent her six full boxes with nearly 300 units of brand new clothes to personally distribute to kids in need. She then packed up her things, drove down to Baja, Mexico, and surprised kids at the Door of Faith Orphanage with Tea for the winter season. The children could not have been any happier. You can watch the full video of her giveback in action below:

Follow more of Calli’s do-good adventures on her YouTube channel, blog, and Instagram. We’ll be continuing to work closely with her throughout the rest of the holiday season to distribute more donations to children in need. Door of Faith is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and one of the largest orphanages in Baja. For over 50 years, they have served orphaned children and the poorer communities of the California-Mexico region. Today, they house around 100 children to provide them stability, love, guidance, and education. You can learn more about what they do and how to help here.

Door of Faith children

Door of Faith children benefiting from our Giving Tuesday efforts

 

In addition, we partnered with one of our boutiques, The Spotted Goose, to help children in need in Cincinnati, OH. Beloved in the community, The Spotted Goose knew the perfect place to donate nearly 300 units of brand new Tea. With five full boxes, they drove down to St. Joseph Orphanage to provide their kids clothes for the cold winter season. We are incredibly grateful to give back to the community of one of our national retailers.

Spotted Goose Team at St. Joseph Orphanage

The Spotted Goose Team at St. Joseph Orphanage

 

St. Joseph Orphanage is a comprehensive behavioral health and educational treatment agency that helps children and their families on the road to recovery and success. Since 1829, they’ve offered mental health services, education, and foster care. They care for over 3,000 children and adults a year who are struggling with mental health and behavioral concerns. You can learn more about what they do and how to help here.

We’re currently working to identify additional donation partners who have children in need of new clothes. Stay tuned for more updates. Feel inspired? Follow more stories like this on our Instagram @teacollection. #Teagivesback

Small Business Saturday: Celebrating The Boutiques of Tea

Small Business Saturday

It’s Small Business Saturday! To celebrate, we wanted to take the time to highlight a few of the boutiques that help bring Tea to you. From California to North Carolina, these tiny but mighty businesses help bring the magic and meaning of Tea to life. Read on to hear more from each store owner about what Small Business Saturday means to them, their holiday tips, tricks, and wishes, and what they recommend from Tea this gifting season.

 

Baby Bliss (Dallas, TX)

Baby Bliss

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

Bringing recognition and support to the local stores whose owners live in and contribute to your community.

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

I have learned to buy early or things get sold out! In general, I have no tricks. I just love the season… The decorations, the music, and the feeling of buying for others!

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

I’m dreaming of some very expensive tennis shoes that I won’t buy for myself… Really, I just want to be surrounded by my people in peace and happiness. And a day off of work where I don’t have to worry about emails and phone calls!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

We love all things Tea! For the babies, we go for easy rompers. For girls, fun dresses paired with leggings is a no brainer. And for the boys, we love the tees that can pair with any of the Tea pants!

Follow Baby Bliss @shopbabybliss and @shopminimedallas.

 

Little (Portland, ME)

Little

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

Small Business Saturday is really important to Little. It’s a day where small, local shops are recognized and people take a break from the big-box retailers. It’s also a day where we get to celebrate our customers! They’re the reason we’re here and we couldn’t be more appreciative of their support.

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

If you love it, buy it! This is especially true if you shop small. These stores spend a lot of time curating their selection. And with a lot of these items being made by hand and in small batches, once it’s gone, it won’t be back for awhile. Shopping this way also makes gift giving that much more special.

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

To travel… To anywhere new!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

Matching Family Plaid outfits! Match with siblings, cousins, best friends… Whoever! It’s so cute! But if you’re looking for something for a newborn, anything from the sherpa collection would be great to snuggle in this winter.

Follow Little @boutiquelittle.

 

Mockingbird (Charlestown, MA)

Mockingbird

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

Small Business Saturday means community. Living and owning a store in the same neighborhood, I love the chance to get to know my customers and neighbors and learn what they want and need. It’s a joy to watch families begin and expand.

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

I always ask store owners for their advice based on my friends and family’s style and interests. They always have the best suggestions!

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

I hope to find a Breville Espresso Maker under my tree. I need the strong stuff owning a small business and raising two girls!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

My two daughters and I are loving the Earth Red velour pieces. We’re having a hard time deciding which pieces to bring home!

Follow Mockingbird @mockingbirdstore.

 

Fox + Kit (Mashpee, MA)

Fox + Kit

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

I’m glad that Small Business Saturday serves as a day to remind everyone that small businesses are important, especially during the busy holiday shopping season. Shopping small supports families and communities. For me, when people shop at Fox + Kit, they are also supporting my dream. Small Business Saturday is a day for us to celebrate the power of shopping small. And since many small businesses have websites, you might not even need to leave your couch!

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

Shop early if there’s something you know you want. Manufacturers and retailers try to anticipate how much stock they might need for the holiday season, but oftentimes, products do sell out. Also, don’t underestimate the power of price matching. While small businesses are frequently thought of as more expensive, more often than not, their prices are the same as (or lower than!) online competitors. Don’t be afraid to ask your local shop to price match if you do find something online for a lower price.

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

A vacation 😂 After months of working 6-7 days a week, I could use one!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

My 3-year-old daughter would say velour joggers and leggings, for sure! She loves running her hands up and down her “soft pants.” The joggers also have pockets, which are imperative for collecting rocks.

I personally am loving the Baby Yeti Storytelling Tee and the Glow-In-The-Dark Leopard tee. And anything with a fox 🦊 Give me all the cute critters!

Follow Fox + Kit @fox.and.kit.

 

The Spotted Goose (Cincinnati, OH)

The Spotted Goose

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

Small Business Saturday is a special day for our team. Not only are we a small business, but many of our team members’ families own and operate small businesses. It’s really nice to have a day to encourage folks to shop small and support your neighbors!

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

Go with your heart – thoughtful gifts always make the biggest impression.

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

A trip to the beach – I need some sunshine in my life!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

We love the little leopard tunic paired with a fun legging, as well as the boys sweatpants with a plaid button up worn open with a t-shirt underneath!

Follow The Spotted Goose @thespottedgoose.

 

Polliwogs (Greensboro, NC)

Polliwogs

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

Start early! Take pictures of everything you buy and keep a list. It’s very easy to lose track of what you have and have not purchased!

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

I love anything that my kids make. It’s just so sweet to see that they took the time to create something special. Jewelry is never a bad gift either!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

I don’t think you can ever go wrong with pajamas. Tea PJs have always been a personal favorite in our home. They are very cozy and have the best prints! I am particularly fond of the boy’s Yeti Raglan pajamas this season.

Follow Polliwogs @polliwogsonline.

 

Keedo Kids (Oklahoma City, OK)

Keedo Kids

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

Small Business Saturday is a chance for people to slow down and get to know their local shops. We can’t do the big box discounts that you’ll see on Black Friday, but we can offer customer service that you’ll only find in smaller shops!

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

The best tip I can give is know your sizes when you head out to shop. All 3 year olds don’t wear the same size, and a picture doesn’t always help us. With shoes, you can trace the child’s foot and cut it out! Shoe brands don’t always run the same.

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

I want TIME for Christmas. My kids are all grown and busy with their own lives. I miss Sunday Family dinners! Time with friends also gets harder as we all start having grandkids.

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

Tea is such a great brand – you can’t go wrong! I love doing matching big and little sister. The Full Skirt Wrap Neck Dress for girl and Metallic Ruffled Romper for little girl in Golden Sun are my favorites! I love the blue with the pop of gold. For boys, I like to layer a button-up flannel over a t-shirt. My favorite is the Everest Glow-In-The-Dark Tee with the Hooded Bold Blue Plaid Button Up Shirt.

Follow Keedo @keedokids.

 

Kissui (Redlands, CA)

Kissui

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

I love small business Saturday more than any other day of the year! It’s when I get to see all of our most loyal customers. It gives us a day to show how much we appreciate them and their support throughout the year.

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

Holiday shopping can be overwhelming to say the least. I have always been a fan of the mantra: less is more. I try to purchase fewer items and instead focus on quality. I love the idea of giving gifts that I know will last.

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

If anyone would like to send me on vacation, I will gladly accept!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

As a mom to 3 girls, I am loving the velour options. They are SO soft and have just the right amount of stretch. For the boys, I would pick the Himalyan Ski romper or tee.

Follow Kissui @kissui.

 

Magical Child (Encinitas, CA)

Magical Child

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

It’s a way to gain exposure for our store and promote shopping small! Small businesses are known for exceptional customer service because we always try to do the most for everyone that walks in. Small businesses offer a more personalized experience, something we greatly value. Customers are our #1 priority, and we love the opportunity to highlight our specialized way of shopping!

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

Don’t wait for the last minute to get all your shopping done! Get your holiday shopping done as early as possible – a small sale isn’t worth your peace of mind!

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

A surprise flight to a fun destination!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

Tea pajamas are always a great gift – so warm and cozy! Also, the boys t-shirts are always very cute!

Follow Magical Child @magical.child.encinitas.

 

Sweet Pea (Traverse City, MI)

Sweet Pea

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

Small Business Saturday is a chance to show that we value our local customers!

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

Provide the best customer service possible! Become a personal shopper for each customer. Offer free gift wrap and make it personal; remember customers’ names and stories.

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

The greatest gift is time with family and friends!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

Dresses and leggings for the girls, and rompers are a must for infants!

Follow Sweet Pea @sweetpeatc.

 

Maya Papaya and Tony (Evanston, IL)

Maya Papaya and Tony

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

It means good old fashioned shopping. Set the phone aside. Shop with your senses. See, touch, and smell instead of clicking.

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

“The item you saw today and want to think about tonight will be sold later today to someone who saw it yesterday and thought about it last night.”

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

As corny as it sounds, I would love some peace on earth. The world has become very convoluted.

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

For girls, the Golden Sun print dress or romper; it has just the right amount of sparkle and twirl. You can dress it up or down as occasion calls. For boys, the Dueling Dragons popover – very unique with the dragon print along the sleeves!

 

Check out Maya Papaya and Tony at maya-tony.com.

 

Clothes Pony (Fort Collins, CO)

Clothes Pony

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate our community. We are so grateful for all the folks who come and play with us all year long. We know everyone has choices of where to buy their holiday gifts, but we believe in the power of meeting your neighbors, greeting travelers, and hearing each other’s stories; laughing together, crying together, admiring each other’s children, and making friends. Combine all of that with the process of going to market and finding the products that bring you the most joy and best meet your family’s needs. Our kid-friendly store is founded on our core values of fun, open-heartedness, and unique high-quality products. Every time someone walks in our door, we have a potential new friend!

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

We tell anyone shopping this holiday season to focus on clothes and toys that can be enjoyed for years and handed down to other little ones. Quality over quantity. Revel in your family and friends this year and focus on each other rather than the perfect holiday. This year more than ever, look for companies that reflect the values that are important to you.

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

Our dream gift this year is to spend Christmas day (ALL DAY) singing karaoke with our families – that and a cashmere travel wrap!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

You really can’t go wrong with the Tea brand. Kids love the comfy fit and colorful prints, while parents love that Tea washes and wears beautifully and is made by a company that cares about the world. Our current favorite is the Dragon Zip Hoodie that is perfect for Colorado winters and turns any kiddo into a fiery dragon. We also adore the Metallic Wind Horse Dress because we love seeing our horse crazy girls layer that dress over a funky pair of leggings and wear it from school to the playground to The Nutcracker.

Follow Clothes Pony @clothesponyanddandeliontoys.

 

Dungeness Kids (Sequim, WA)

Dungeness Kids

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

I love that it celebrates small businesses that work so hard for their communities.

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

I always appreciate the unique, quality gifts. Grab things when you see them throughout the year so they’re not gone when you’re looking for them during the holidays.

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

I’d love a trip to Hawaii!

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

I’m a boy mom, so my favorite picks this season are the Bear Snack Graphic Tee and the Forest Fleece Joggers.

Follow Dungeness Kids @dungenesskids.

 

Fiddlesticks (San Francisco, CA)

Fiddlesticks

What does Small Business Saturday mean to you?

 

It’s a marketing moment that reminds people to shop local. There can never be enough reminders to support the local community. Jump off your devices and visit your local stores! #shoplocal

 

Holiday shopping tips and tricks as an industry insider?

 

Shop early and avoid the weekends if you can. Get that list compiled now and start crossing it off early. Just think: the sooner you finish, the more time you have for baking and nog. #hayesvalley

 

What is YOUR dream gift this holiday season?

 

The best gift I could ever get is TIME with my family. Experiences together are golden. As my kids continue to get older, time with them becomes more valuable.

 

For the gift giver looking at Tea – what are your picks?

 

We adore the Himalayan Ski print! It’s available in boy, girl, and baby, so it can be for everyone. It’s such a lovely print that captures the fun of winter! Dress the adults in denim and navy, and you have a great family photo opportunity.

Follow Fiddlesticks @fiddlesticks_sf.

From all of us here at Tea, we can’t thank these boutiques enough! You can find your local Tea retailer here. Are you a boutique owner interested in carrying Tea? Send our Wholesale team a note at wholesaleteam@teacollection.com!

Tea Travels: Visting Colorful Oaxaca

Oaxaca

Jordan, our Assistant Textile Designer, in Oaxaca

Travel has always been at the heart of Tea. It’s what drives the inspiration behind each and every design we create. As such, it’s only appropriate that we give our hardworking employees time off to go on their own worldly adventures. We offer them an annual international travel stipend to help offset costs. Upon their return, they write a blog post to share their trip with all of us (and all of you). Today, we’re highlighting our Assistant Textile Designer, Jordan, who recently went to Oaxaca, Mexico. She’s been to Mexico many times, but only recently went to the very colorful state of Oaxaca. Read on to learn more about her trip.

As you may have seen in our Instagram stories, I recently went to Oaxaca, Mexico. Although I have been to Mexico many times, this was my first time traveling to the southern state of Oaxaca. My husband and I chose to go there because of its colorful and vibrant art scene, as well as its world-famous cuisine (both of which did not disappoint).

 

Oaxacan art

A relic of an ancient pyramid now integrated into the side of a church

 

In Oaxaca, art is everywhere. Just by walking down a quiet street, you can run into an artist’s workshop or gallery. I would recommend not only visiting the city’s countless museums, but also going to artist collectives. They allow you to see, firsthand, the artist’s process and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces. One of the best parts of my trip was visiting an artisan in their space.

During our trip, we went to the small village of Teotitlán de Valle. Only recently has this town been opened to tourists (previously, you could only get to the village via a mountainous path). Once we arrived, I met an artist named Josefina and her family at their home. There, they showed me their craft of organic dyeing and weaving.

Oaxaca artisans

The process of organic dyeing and weaving

 

Josefina demonstrated how to create dyes from the natural materials found in the family’s backyard, including roots, seeds, and the cochineal insect that grows on cactus paddles. When squished, the bug releases a bright magenta hue and shows up vibrantly in wool designs. Everyone in the family helps out, including Josefina’s children. They clean, comb, and spin the wool. Josefina’s husband then uses the dyed wool at the loom to weave rugs. He creates traditional patterns that date back hundreds of years and reflect the natural elements that surround him (seeds, water, land, etc.).

Oaxacan art

Left: Oaxacan Painted Pottery. Right: Oaxacan Embroidery at the Textile Museum

 

Finding and meeting a family-owned handicraft business like Josefina’s made visiting Teotitlán de Valle even more special. Weaving is only one example of a handicraft Oaxaca is known for. Traveling to different parts will lead you to villages specializing in pottery, embroidery, and many other crafts. With the help of a guide, getting around the surrounding parts of Oaxaca is easy and accessible.

Oaxacan tortillas

Freshly made blue corn tortillas

In addition to handicraft, Oaxaca is known for its unique dishes that wonderfully fuse its indigenous roots with a modern, elevated restaurant scene. From the Oaxacan string cheese to the more interesting chapulines (fried crickets), Oaxacans love to blend flavors and textures. Surprisingly, one of the best food experiences we had in Oaxaca was eating a quesadilla. It sounds simple, but the Oaxacans have really nailed the art of making the perfect quesadilla. We ate at a restaurant called Intanoni, which is known for its corn. All of it is organic and stone ground on the premises. From there, the chefs make delicious tortillas by hand, stuff them with strands of Oaxacan cheese, then cook the quesadillas on top of a comal (Mexican stove) until the tortilla edges are crispy and the cheese inside is perfectly melted. Wash it all down with an ice cold limónañada and you have, in my opinion, the perfect lunch.

I would go back to Oaxaca in a heartbeat. The only thing I would do differently is stay longer than five days. I would love to visit all of the handicraft villages surrounding Oaxaca to discover even more of the colorful art that makes visiting Mexico so special.

Feel inspired? Check out more stories like this on our Instagram @teacollection.

Tea Donates 12,000 Units to the Homeless Prenatal Program

Donation to Homeless Prenatal Program

A couple of weeks ago, we held a Sample Sale at our San Francisco headquarters. The event drew Tea fans from near and far to shop styles from season’s past. While it was amazing to see so many shoppers come through our doors, we recognize that not every family has the opportunity to shop Tea. We’re committed to bettering the lives of children everywhere, including those in our own backyard. We used the remaining inventory to make a difference in our local community, donating nearly all of the leftover clothing to our neighbors at the Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP). We’re proud to say we donated 63 boxes of clothing, totaling 12,000 units!

For over 30 years, HPP has empowered low-income and homeless families, particularly mothers motivated by pregnancy and parenthood, to gain the strength and confidence they need to change their lives. HPP partners with parents to address family health and stability during the transformative stages of pregnancy to kindergarten. As a holistic family resource center, HPP supports both parents and children in order to strengthen the whole family – and our community.

You can help HPP break the cycle of family poverty. You can make a donation to HPP at http://www.homelessprenatal.org/donate. Every contribution – big and small – makes a difference in a mother’s life.