Author: Tea Collection

Jessie tweets & chats her days away working in the social media and public relations departments of Tea. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Jessie moved to New York after college to work in the fashion industry. Still new to San Francisco, she's constantly discovering new sushi spots and hidden boutiques. She's still dreaming of her last trip to the Caribbean and hopes one day soon she can play on the beaches of Thailand.

Boutique of the Month: Kissui

Kissui

Kissui’s Owner, Laura

Did you know you can find Tea in 300 boutiques around the U.S.? In our new Boutique of the Month series, we’re celebrating the hometown heroes who bring Tea to your community. This month, we’re featuring Kissui from Redlands, CA. We spoke to Kissui’s owner, Laura, and asked how she brings a bit of magic to her community.

What inspired you to open your boutique? How long has it been open?

 

I grew up with parents who were business owners. I always knew I wanted to own something of my own, but wasn’t sure what. I graduated with a degree in Entrepreneurship, but it wasn’t until having my first baby that I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I quickly learned there were no local shops that carried the items I saw online. Just after my daughter turned 1, we opened our store in Redlands and never looked back! I feel so grateful to have spent the last 12 years loving my job.

What makes your store special?

 

Kissui

Inside the Kissui Store

Kissui is not just a store full of products. Kissui is a place where families come and lasting friendships are made. I have raised my kids in this store. Employees bring their babies to work. Customers know there is always a place for them here regardless of whether they are here to shop or just need a break. The products we offer are products we use in our own lives. To us, this is a community. As we venture into having a website, we know it will allow us to grow and have positive impacts on families outside of our small town.

What was your favorite Tea destination and why?

 

Italy! The delicate florals… The ruffles…. It was perfection.

What was the last trip you and your family took together and what made it special?

 

Our last family trip was to Tulum, Mexico. Life can be hectic with 3 kids and 2 stores. Having the opportunity to slow down and just relax as a family was so needed.

If you happen to be in Redlands, CA, be sure to stop by Kissui and say hello to Laura! Of course, you can always shop Tea at TeaCollection.com. Follow more adventures like this on our Instagram @tea_collection.

Hear from Our Team: Celebrating International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the amazing women (and men) of Tea! Hear what our employees have to say about balance, teaching their kids to be little citizens of the world, and celebrating themselves.

Tea's Leadership Team

International Women’s Day is a day to recognize the incredible women in our lives. As a female-founded company with a majority female leadership team, Tea is rooted in the accomplishments of women who are passionate about what they do. This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter, asking us to reflect on what we’re doing to create a more balanced world. We sat down with some of our team to hear what they had to say about this year’s theme and more.

One of the first questions working parents — particularly working moms — get asked is how they balance having a career with children. Some of the team compared it to walking across a tightrope; others thought of a seesaw.

Our founder and CEO Leigh Rawdon spoke to the inherent bias that comes with the question, and challenged the notion of adhering to external standards:

Leigh Rawdon

Leigh Rawdon, Tea’s Founder & CEO

What does that actually mean to say, “Do you balance it all?” What’s most important to me is that I don’t use any external standard of what being a good enough mother is or what being good at my job is. I’m not playing a role on TV. I am who I am, and I do what I do. With my kids, I want to raise good, engaged citizens of the world. I want them to discover their purpose and feeling of fulfillment… I am here to shepherd them into this world, but I’m not here just to do that. I have my own sense of purpose, so it’s less about how do I balance one versus the other and it’s more about how do I have a full mix of richness in my own life.

We wear multiple hats, but are not defined by any single one. As we grow up, Leigh advised not to compare ourselves to others:

Measure yourself against your own standards and not against someone else’s external expectations of what success looks like.

 

Dreaming Big

 

Reflecting on what she would tell her younger self, our Senior Copywriter Symmi said to just go for it:

Symmi

 

No dream is too big or too small. In fact, the bigger the better. If you can think it, then there’s more than likely a way to do it. I would tell my younger self, and younger girls everywhere, to think about it and go for it. Don’t be afraid. There’s a quote that I like: “If you dream something and it scares you, then you’re going in the right direction.” – Symmi, Senior Copywriter

 

 

 

Amy, our VP of Finance, would assure herself that she has what it takes to go through the highs and lows that come with life:

Amy

 

 

Have confidence in the fact that life is going through some challenges and having successes, and it all comes together and that feeds into the person who you are. – Amy, VP of Finance

 

 

 

Raising the Next Generation

 

Tomorrow’s generation are today’s kids. Here’s how our team is teaching their children to be good global citizens:

Cindy

 

I think it’s super important to expose them early on to different cultures and what’s outside of their day-to-day. Both my kids were born in Taiwan. We travel every year to a new destination. I’m a big believer in going to different places, learning about something new, and exposing them to what’s different. – Cindy, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce

 

Vicente

 

 

I think one of the first things that separates us is language. My parents taught me Spanish, so I speak exclusively, or try to speak exclusively Spanish to my little guy. – Vicente, Creative Operations Director

 

David

 

The way I teach my son to be a little citizen of the world is how I conduct myself. He’s always watching me. He’s always around me. So whatever I do, he’s going to pick up. The way I would teach him to become a respectable young man is to try to be the best person that I can be. – David, Web Developer

 

 

Ansley

 

I think one thing I’m always focusing on is trying to encourage my daughter to be curious. There’s no silly question out there, and I want her to be comfortable to ask me anything she has a question about. – Ansley, Sr. Director of Operations

 

 

 

Celebrating and Taking Care of Yourself

 

We ended on a lighter note, asking our team how they celebrate themselves:

Spend time with my girlfriends laughing, cocktailing and enjoying each other’s company. No one builds you up like your gal pals. – Tina, VP of Product

The way I celebrate myself is making sure I have time for my own hobbies… It’s important for me to foster other parts of creativity, whether it’s through hobbies like tap dancing or making time for my friends. – Kim, Senior Graphic Designer

For me, holding space for experiences that engage and strengthen my support system is the ultimate act of self-care. – Sarah, Head of Community

What are you doing to #BalanceforBetter this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Get Crafty: Make A Paper Plate Octopus

Octopus Craft Finished

March 3rd marks World Wildlife Day, a day aimed at celebrating and raising awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. This year’s theme is “Life Below Water,” which aligns perfectly with the eight-legged friends we encountered during our travels around Southeast Asia.  We teamed up with Amy again from Start Creative Studio to create the perfect under-the-sea activity for you and your little citizen of the world to participate in World Wildlife Day.

You probably already knew that octopuses have eight legs, but did you know that octopuses live in all of the world’s oceans and can change colors to blend into their environments? While we made our octopus purple, feel free to make yours in any color you like!

Materials:

 

  • Paper Plate
  • Black, White, and Colored Card Stock of Choice
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Stapler
  • 1 Inch Hole Punch (Optional)

Instructions:

 

Step 1: Trace a circle approximately 3 inches in diameter in the center of the plate. We used a mason jar to trace the circle, but a large cup works well, too!

Paper Plate Circle

Step 2: Cut four equal sections of the plate around the edge of the circle.

Paper Plate Octopus Plate Four Cuts

Step 3: Pull two sections together and staple the ends (we recommend adults handling this step). Continue until all four sections are stapled together to form the body of the octopus.

Paper Plate Octopus Body Formed

Step 4: Paint the octopus body and allow to dry.

Paper Plate Octopus Body Painted

Step 5: From white card stock, cut out circles (or use 1 inch hole punch) to form eyes. From black card stock, cut out half circles to form pupils. Glue black circles to white circles to complete the eyes.

Paper Plate Octopus Eyes

Step 6: Glue eyes to octopus.

Paper Plate Octopus Eyes Attached

Step 7: Cut eight 1 inch x 8.5 inch strips of card stock.

Paper Plate Octopus Legs Cut

Step 8: Using a pencil or finger, wrap one end of a strip and curl. Continue until all eight strips are curled.

Paper Plate Octopus Legs Curled

Step 9: Glue strips to underside of octopus body.

Paper Plate Octopus Finished

Find more octopus-themed looks and more at TeaCollection.com. Did you make this craft? Be sure to share it on Instagram with #teacollection, or tag @tea_collection and @startcreativestudio.

Journey to Vietnam: Behind Our New Spring Holiday Collection

Spring blooms bring idyllic days and dressier occasions. During our travels in Southeast Asia, we found that Vietnam evoked a magic and romance perfect for the season of renewal. Our new dressy styles celebrate a country rich in culture and history. Journey with us as we take you through places that sparked inspiration.

Ha Long Bay

Each season, we travel around the world to find inspiration for seasonal collections. For this spring season, we traveled around Southeast Asia, incorporating elements we found along the way into a collection as diverse as the regions we explored. In our newest capsule collection, we bring the romance and vibrant colors of Vietnam to life. As we traveled along its coast, we discovered places where the past meets the present and a myriad of cultures come together in new and unique ways. 

 

Hoi An: The City of Lanterns

 

Lanterns of Hoi An

Our first stop was Hoi An, a port city located along the central coast of Vietnam. In its past, Hoi An was used by Chinese and Japanese merchants for trade. As a result, the city has become an assemblage of cultures, reflected by the diversity of its architecture, food, and art. At night, the city is illuminated by the glow of hundreds of lanterns, leaving you engulfed in a dreamy rainbow of colors. 

Find this majestic village brought to life in our City Graphic Trapeze Dress. We reimagined the Hoi An cityscape as a unique print on a Tea favorite silhouette.

 

Hue, Ha Long Bay, and Hanoi: Folklore Galore

 

Next, we traveled up the Vietnamese coast, stopping in Hanoi, Hue, and Halong Bay. In Hanoi, we crossed the Huc Bridge on Hoan Kiem Lake, or “Lake of the Returned Sword,” to visit Ngoc Son Temple. Legend has it that King Le Loi of Vietnam was given a sword at this lake by the Golden Turtle God, which helped him defeat the Chinese in the 15th century.

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Outside spiritual structures and along vibrant boats in Hue and Halong Bay, we found fierce foo dogs and dazzling dragons. Foo dogs symbolize prosperity, success, and guardianship, while dragons are often used for celebrations.

Find our interpretation of these mythical beasts in the form of whimsical prints in new Boy tees.

Boy's Tops

 

Mai Chau: History Preserved

Mai Chau

Our last stop was Mai Chau, a rural village town located in Northwest Vietnam. As if untouched by modern civilization, Mai Chau immediately transported us to a time centuries ago. The calm, grassy fields and rice paddies tucked between the valley’s mountain ranges starkly contrasted the hustle and bustle we experienced in Vietnam’s metropolitan cities. We met with locals who showed us the 700 year-old tradition of hand embroidery, which results in a brilliant kaleidoscope of colors and patterns.

Vietnamese Embroidery

This centuries-old embroidery technique inspired the detailing in our new dresses and rompers, bringing a piece of Vietnamese history back to your little one’s wardrobe.

Girl's Dresses

 

Be sure to check out more stories from abroad on Instagram @tea_collection, and find all the new arrivals mentioned in this piece and more at TeaCollection.com.

Get Crafty: Make A Tiger Mask

Tiger Mask

Amy is a life-long crafter who shares modern kids crafts on Instagram @startcreativestudio.

During our travels abroad in Southeast Asia, we discovered that tigers are considered a symbol of bravery and protection in many Asian cultures. To celebrate this mighty animal, we created dresses, tees, rompers, and more featuring unique tiger prints as part of our Tiger Cub Club. We also teamed up with Amy from Start Creative Studio to create the perfect craft to work on with your little citizen of the world. For all the brave, little tigers out there, this tiger mask makes for a fun activity and creative play afterwards. All you’ll need are some painting, gluing and scissor skills.

Materials:

 

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper Plates
  • Black Card Stock
  • Glue

Instructions:

 

Step 1: From cardboard, cut out large heart shape.

Tiger Mask Cardboard Heart

Step 2: Paint cardboard heart orange. Allow to dry.

Tiger Mask Orange Heart

Step 3: Cut textured edge off of paper plate. Use the center portion to cut out ears.

Step 4: Paint the ears orange and allow to dry.

Tiger Mask Painting Ears

Step 5: Cut two white circles (from the center of your paper plate or from white card stock) and two black circles from card stock.

Tiger Mask Eye Cutout

Step 6: Glue black portion to white portion to form eyes.

Step 7: Glue two pieces of textured paper plate edge on each side of the tiger’s face. Trim as needed.

Tiger Mask Paper Plate Whiskers

Tiger Mask Whiskers Trimmed

Step 8: Cut a black circle shape for nose and glue to tiger face.

Tiger Mask Nose

Step 9: Cut stripes from black card stock.

Tiger Mask Cutting Stripes

Step 10: Glue stripes to tiger face.

Tiger Mask Stripes On

Step 11: Glue ears and eyes to tiger face.

Tiger Mask Complete

Step 12: If desired, cut out black portion of eyes to make them see-through.

Use for dress up or as artwork in your child’s gallery! Pair it with books about tigers for a book and craft kind of afternoon. Or, wear it with your favorite tiger print from our new collection.

Tiger Mask On

Did you make this craft? Be sure to share it on Instagram with #teacollection, or tag @tea_collection and @startcreativestudio.

We Go There: Stepping Into Sunny Southeast Asia

This season, we travel to Southeast Asia to celebrate this beautifully diverse corner of the globe. It’s a land of tropical terrain and timeless traditions, where intoxicating colors and a welcoming spirit greet you at every turn. Discover a destination made stronger, more vibrant, more alive and more wondrous thanks to the abundance of cultures that call it home.

Southeast Asia

At Tea, we want to give children the world, inspire discovery and exploration. We aim to spark a moment of connection between that which feels foreign and make it newly familiar. We travel to dream, inspire, and connect the world around us – both around the globe and across the street. Wherever we go, from Morocco to Japan, Australia to India, we take in all that we can and bring it back to our headquarters here in San Francisco to design globally inspired clothing for little citizens of the world.

Last year, we looked to our neighbors: to the cultures, people and friends that make up the vast United States. We celebrated what we all have in common and what unites us from coast to coast – from the Pacific swells to the towering Brooklyn Bridge. With your help, we shared your stories, tours of hometowns, and the beautiful communities that surround us every day. We discovered caring neighbors, inspiring teachers, and loving families that make everyday life unforgettable.

 

This spring, we returned to our roots of traveling abroad.

 

We’re looking forward to warm seas, bustling cities, and soaring dragon boats in Southeast Asia!

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Join us as we celebrate curious tigers, bold and bright hues, local artisans, and charming folklore that make this region of the globe enchanting. Get ready for tasty pho, zooming mopeds, soft water lilies, and curious sea creatures as we journey through Southeast Asia!

We can’t wait to share all that’s in store for you this season! Follow along our adventures here at Studio Tea, or check in on Instagram @tea_collection for more stories and discoveries!

And of course, don’t forget to check out our newest styles at TeaCollection.com.

Native Artists x Tea Collection: Meet Crystal Worl

Artist Crystal Worl, based in Juneau, Alaska, is a child of a Thunderbird and from the Chilkat region in Southeast Alaska.  From her mother’s side, she is Deg Hit’an Athabascan from Fairbanks Alaska.  She is co-owner of Trickster Company with her brother, Rico Worl, which promotes innovative indigenous design focused on Northwest Coast art.  We were thrilled to partner with Crystal for several winter product collaborations including storytelling tees featuring her original artwork.  Read on for more of her story and the inspiration behind her work!

Crystal’s original artwork is featured on storytelling tees this winter

 

You were introduced at a young age to traditional arts, practices and storytelling from your parents’ tribes.  Can you share more about these experiences as a child?

My family recognized and nurtured my interest in art.  My mother showed me how to bead, sew and encouraged my creativity. Every Saturday morning, I would watch my favorite cartoons.  And, I would also watch the artist Bob Ross on the public TV channel.  Because I loved watching Bob Ross, I would often get a Bob Ross painting kit.

I was raised with my Athabascan family in the Interior of Alaska during the winter months.  My mother has a big family so we were surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins for family gatherings, potlatches, traditional dances or harvesting berries and/or salmon and meals.  Moose soup is my favorite!  My mother nurtured our interests in dance, gymnastics and art.

When summer came, we headed to Southeast Alaska to stay with my father’s family and my Tlingit grandmother. Visiting with family and playing with cousins was the highlight.  Our Uncle would take us out on his boat to fish and harvest traditional foods like salmon, cockle clams, and gumboots.  We would also learn more about our clans, family history and traditions through storytelling and hearing and speaking Tlingit.  It was important to my grandmother that her grandchildren know their tribal identity and how to introduce themselves in a public event, especially when attending sacred ceremonies.

Looking back, I see how valuable my unstructured time with my brothers was in nurturing my creativity.  We have great memories of building intricate cities made of Legos that even included telephone poles with wires.

All my family supported me in different ways.  My dad’s skills are finance and management.  He is teaching me about business and art.  He would get excited about my art and encourage me to create a business.  It helps when you have parents that tell you that you can do anything and everything is possible.

In our collaboration pieces this season, you highlight stories of animals: deer, raven, porpoise and polar bear.  How do these stories resonate with you personally?

Tlingit and Athabascan people have identified themselves as unified with the land and animals that gives them life.

Tlingit kinship is based on a clan system or extended family groups.  Tlingit clans are associated with specific animals, birds or fish.  Oral traditions and songs record the interaction between humans and animals and how clans obtained the right to use their images as crests on their ceremonial regalia or jewelry.

In Tlingit and Athabascan culture, we maintain both physical and spiritual relationships with the environment and animals.  Animals have given us life through feeding us, clothing us, and teaching us to co-exist with the environment.

The paintings with the Deer, Raven, Porpoise, and Polar Bear are used in the Tea Collection collaboration. I hope that when a viewer sees these paintings [see original works below] that they gain an insight into the relationship that I have to my culture and the connections we have with the land and animals.

 

 

 

 

 

You work with many different types of media in your art.  What are some of the materials that you have been most interested in recently and why?

I have explored multiple mediums from jewelry, sewing, beading, glass-making and even film production and more.  My favorite is painting. Recently, I explored tanning fish skin for various uses.  I taught myself how to make resin molds for bangles and earrings.

Fishing is important subsistence activity for our family and I have participated in helping on the boat and processing the fish. I explored the use of using natural dyes, like berries, to dye my fish skins and my wood laser cut earrings.  I am following my heart and the heartbeat of my ancestors that tanned fish skin for everyday household objects like bowls and used berry juice to create color in their life.

What are some of the themes and issues in Native culture that you are most interested in highlighting through your work?

Trickster Company was started by my brother quite by accident.  He was hand-painting skateboards for our cousins with Northwest Coast art formline.  Rico saw a way for youth to connect their culture through the use of  everyday objects such as skateboards, basketballs and playing cards.  Trickster Company was born to bring culture and pride into everyday experiences – our culture is alive and thriving today.  It is not just symbolized by relics in a museum.  It lives in our hearts, minds and daily activities.  We show our pride by wearing our clan crests and art every day.

Trickster Company is proud to partner with the Tea Collection to honor our ancestors, our culture and the beautiful gift of Northwest Coast Formline Art.