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International Women’s Day

Being a female-run and founded company, it’s a big priority at Tea to take every opportunity to inspire, uplift, and support the further empowerment of women. This month we celebrate women who have inspired us from all different backgrounds and walks of life. We asked seven of these women our pressing questions about life and empowerment. 

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Anna, Lila Ruby King: Fake it, till you make, is totally a thing. The adults are doing it, all the time.

Kristin Guy: It’s okay to say no…and don’t burn your candle from both ends.

Mitzi Rivas: 1. Honor your intuition: If the path that is presented to you doesn’t feel true to you, step off of the well-manicured path and into the unpaved terrain where the wildflowers grow and the thickets are untamed. 2. Realize that we are interdependent: don’t undermine your talent but don’t believe your achievements stemmed from you alone. We stand on the shoulders of so many- acknowledging this truth is critical to achieving great heights. 3. Practice self-compassion. I learned this skill in my 40’s (I wish it had been sooner) and it makes the delicate balance of giving and receiving an act of ease.

Miranda Anderson: I tell my current self the same thing I would tell my younger self and it is this: You have plenty of time. You don’t have to be in a hurry. Take it slow. Enjoy each moment. Breathe deeply. Embrace the present with gratitude.

Rebecca Gross: I would probably advise my younger self to look within and not outwardly for comparison and approval. It is, of course, easier said than done, but in this season of my life I am slowly learning to live by this, and I think it would have been helpful understanding it on a deeper level earlier in life. 

Calli Kelsay: There are no boxes that you need to fit in so do you for you. Don’t worry quite as much because things will still work out one way or another. Failure is just another way of saying I haven’t figured it out yet, but there are a million and one ways that I can try again. Then get up and try again. Having self-compassion will pull you through all of the things life will throw at you. All of the hardships that will happen are opportunities to grow stronger. Never shy away from giving to others when you can and where you can. Try new things, often. Use your talents and strengths for the greater good. It’s okay to stand alone when you’re standing for what you know is right. 

Leigh Rawdon: I would like to send a message to my younger self before I had kids: make the most of your weekends! You think you are so busy, but you have so. Much. Time. Exercise, sleep late, linger over coffee with friends, spend hours in the kitchen mastering a recipe, travel, re-learn how to play the piano, organize your house, read a million books!  (I should probably remember to give my older self this advice when my kids go off to college!)

 

What do you hope for your kids’ futures—both boys and girls—and their approach towards equality between genders?

Mitzi Rivas: My hope for my beloved children, Luca and Maya, is that they proudly stand on their father, Carlos’ shoulder and mine. May they deeply appreciate the blend of the masculine and feminine and realize the harmonious impact for good that arises when both are given expression.

Leigh Rawdon: I always wanted to have a daughter so I could help her develop into a strong, kind, and independent woman. That didn’t happen! I have two incredible sons. So instead I am raising my boys to be good men—men who grow up seeing and believing that women are leaders and CEOs. They are surrounded by women who are confident and compassionate. They read books and watch movies with female protagonists without thinking twice. I might not get the chance to raise my own daughter, but I’m doing my part to nurture two sons who will respect and value women’s perspectives and equal participation.

 

How do you navigate motherhood and career goals? 

Kristin Guy: When I was very new to the working mom role, I made the decision to leave a senior-level corporate position over six years ago to go freelance and start my own business. I wanted the opportunity to have flexible hours and the potential to work from home. Now as a self-employed working mother, I am grateful for that decision because[…]it is very important for me to have the ability to control that balance of time spent between my family and my career. It was initially a terrifying leap into the unknown, but looking back I don’t regret a thing because I’m able to do what I love while being more creative than ever and still spend quality time with my family. 

I decided to consider my children my greatest asset in my career. They naturally create scheduling boundaries that I have to navigate, which means more efficiency, creativity, and flexibility. They are so imaginative and wonderful examples of living in the present an

Miranda Anderson: Years ago enjoying the moment. I truly believe that one of the best gifts I can give them is a mother who is fully living into her dreams, which for me has meant writing a book, traveling to speaking engagements, and hosting workshops all over the country. I show them, by example, how to live their own best lives to the fullest.

 

Besides finding a work-life balance, what was the most difficult thing you experienced in your career as a woman and how did you overcome it? 

Rebecca Gross: The most difficult thing for me was working under bosses/a company that did not value or appreciate me or my artistry. I had a constant feeling of why have they even hired me if they won’t let me have a voice? Why am I here? Comfort and familiarity will keep you stagnant for as long as you let it. As much as leaving that situation was uncomfortable there was no opportunity for growth in a space where I wasn’t valued. I think women oftentimes feel undervalued but I can tell you, I have THRIVED when I have demanded my place in spaces where I felt I belonged.

Mitzi Rivas: Over the years I have chosen to honor my own voice instead of bowing down to the more dominant and imposing voices in society. Being a Salvadoran woman, it is sometimes hard to depict the source of the challenge. It has taken much of my life to find the courage to step forward with my perspective, passion, and talents amongst the undercurrent of unspoken messages designed to keep me in place. The struggle is real, but so is freedom and opportunity to infuse my truth and purpose into my daily life and work.

 

What qualities make a great leader?

Leigh Rawdon: Curiosity. Great leaders know that the key is to search for and discover the right answer, not to have the right answer.Believing that every person has something important to contribute—and helping them find it and embrace it.

Kalli Kelsay: Empathy, kindness, compassion, passion, connection, vulnerability, strength and love. I have seen, first hand, what happens when we acknowledge and honor the feelings of others[…it] creates a stronger and more powerful community.

Lila Ruby King: When I think of the leaders I really admire, probably the quality that stands out the most is empathy. I think that when our leaders display things like empathy, kindness, thoughtfulness, it filters down into the environment in which we live in or work in.

Kristin Guy: Transparency and trust in others.

Mitzi Rivas: Being able to lead with authenticity is the greatest strength of my leadership. 

 

We appreciate all of these women for passing along their words of wisdom and will continue to admire the innovation and inspiration that they poignantly demonstrate through their work and within their life. 

 

 

Artist Feature : Lila Ruby King

Guide to Athens by our Artist Collaborator, Anna of Lila Ruby King

By Leigh Rawdon

 

Whenever we travel, we always aim to work with local artists for a number of key prints for Tea’s seasonal collections. This season, we were lucky to work with Athens-based illustrator Anna of Lila Ruby King to develop two Mediterranean-inspired designs for our Spring line (the King Sardine and the Barbary Lion).

While we were in Greece for our photoshoot, Anna was kind enough to spend her Friday afternoon walking through Athens with us, as she answered our endless questions and gave us a memorable tour of the local area. After sharing a lot of laughs, she parted ways with us to meet her mom who was visiting all the way from Australia.

In fact, our local tour guide was originally from Australia herself! She moved to Athens over a decade ago for love (she’s now married to the Greek man who got her attention all the way from down under), and in the process, she has fallen in love with  Greece as well. Anna’s love runs so deep that her drawings for Lila Ruby King are entirely meant to celebrate the country that stole her heart. Her art feels like a multi-faceted love letter to the country she now calls home.

[Two prints by Lila Ruby King featuring her favorite Greek cheese and foods]

Much of Anna’s work features Greek food. Even if she keeps her creative focus on cheese alone, she’ll likely never run out of material—unique cheese choices are neverending in Greece! 

Anna also loves sardines, and it so happens that we do as well. So much so that we featured her sardines in our Spring collection (with more coming for Summer!).

 

[In-process sketches of Lila Ruby King’s sardine print and a set of charming puffin mobiles.]

Where to eat?

After wandering through Plaka, we stopped for a bite and a drink to cool off at TAF (The Art Foundation). It’s housed in an ancient building with nooks and crannies that are all worth exploring. Enjoy a Freddo Cappuccino or a cocktail in the inner courtyard. Afterward, we walked through Plaka to have some gelato at La Greche near Syntagma Square.

 

Where to shop?

[A poster for the Museum of Greek Folk Art. Anna standing in front of Heroes with the signage that she painted.]

TAF is not just for tasty beverages, but has great shops too! After you grab a beverage, wander into the gallery upstairs or the tiny shops that feature all Greek designers. We also visited the charming Museum of Greek Folk Art, which highlights traditional Greek art and crafts.

Flâneur Souvenirs & Supplies is where Anna says you should go for more indie options, such as modern Greek pins to mark your backpack or charming prints for the home. Anna’s unique and much-loved thank-you card is sold here as well. She designed it for her cat’s pet sitter and had no idea that it would become so popular.

 

 

[Anna’s pet-sitting thank-you card and her mural at Flâneur Souvenirs & Supplies]

In fact, what motivated Anna to express her love for Greece in drawing was her need for greeting cards to send to friends back in Australia. Apparently, she had a hard time finding any cards in Greece so she just started making them herself. Then she sold them on Etsy, later to shops, and the rest is history.

In Athens, Anna’s work is also sold at Heroes and KouKoutsi.

 

What to see? 

Check out the street art! Anna recommends seeking out the talented Dreyk the Pirate. She always admired his work and encouraged him to start selling his pieces. They have a close friendship now, so much so that he came by to support her while she was painting her mural at Flâneur Souvenirs & Supplies.

 

Where else to visit in Greece? 

Well, I wish I could have pried it out of her. Anna’s relationship with Greece is private. She told us about a place up north where there are idyllic places to stay near a lake. But that’s all she would tell us. Why? Because she doesn’t want it to get crowded.

That said, she really wants people to visit Greece and to support local shops. When we asked her what she wanted people traveling to Greece to know, she said, “I want people to know how important it is to shop locally. If someone has to stay in an all-inclusive resort or on a ship, then please make a point to wander into town to buy something in a shop, even if it’s just a coffee or a snack. That one act can be what helps the shop owner break even that day.”

 

The Journey Continues

Dear Friends of Tea,

Today I am announcing my retirement from my day-to-day roles as Chief Creative Officer and member of the Board of Directors at Tea.

Seventeen years ago, Tea started as my vision for developing lifestyle products with context and meaning – actually creating products with the mission/vision built inside each piece. I co-founded this company for customers who want mindful choices about the brands they bring into their lives. I am immensely proud of how our products and brand create connection for the many. And I am most proud of the powerful connections made with just a few – with every person who has touched this power as an employee of Tea.

I was fortunate to have Leigh join me on the realization of the vision and to make it into the wonderful organization it is today.  Now, I confidently pass the torch to Laura Boes for creative and design leadership at Tea. She has been by my side for 13 years, upholding high standards. Leigh will absolutely thrive at the helm of our dynamic leadership team. She is driven to work hard and succeed! I am excited for the magic the leaders will create together, and I’m profoundly inspired by the opportunity to build the future of Tea.

Recently, I embarked on a new journey of training for non-profit and civic leaders. Over the past few years I have volunteered in my children’s elementary school, specifically in a program that focuses on the social-emotional development of kids, building positive connections and relationships by reading theme-specific books and leading classroom activities. I have loved it. I’m excited to grow and learn and lean into my aspiration of supporting this work for children and families.

I cherish the opportunity to have paved this path. Most of all, I am grateful to have been on this journey with all who have touched Tea, from employees and customers to partners and investors. I appreciate the epic adventure this has been, for the forum of creativity we have built, and for my own personal and professional growth. It has been the experience of a lifetime!

I will always be a part of the brand’s DNA. And it, mine. I will always be a founder and advocate for Tea. And I have faith that the brand and business will continue to excel.

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving Tea,

 

Everything But the Sunscreen: Suit Up in Spring Break Essentials

Spring Break Essentials

Spring is here, which means families everywhere are getting ready to suit up for spring break! Whether you’re headed somewhere tropical or sticking around town in hopes of catching some backyard rays or a little sprinkler fun, we’ve got everything you’ll need to outfit your little citizens in style.