In addition to Featured Artist Friday, I have met so many great makers of things that I am now starting Talented Tuesday!!! So now you will have a pick me up to help you make it to and over the hump. 🙂
Today’s talented Etsy seller is Teaman. I purchased his English Breakfast tea after discovering him in an Etsy forum and he sent me 25 bags of his fruit and nut tea and let’s just say I am hooked. I am gearing up for my next order as Tim’s customer service is great, his prices are great and his tea is d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!!!
Let’s meet Tim, shall we….
1) Tell us about yourself – name, location, any personal tidbits
My name is Tim. I grew up in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. In 1994 I began working for a large tea manufacturer and distributor in Windsor. I began blending teas shortly thereafter.
2) When did you first recognize/accept that you were an artist?
I was married in 1996 and relocated to Howell, Michigan. I still worked for the company even after the move up until 1998 or so when they relocated. I worked as a machinist and in a large automotive stamping plant for years after but never gave up on my teas. I continued blending them in small quantities for local folks and family and friends.
3) Describe your creative process – idea first or material first?
We use the bulk loose tea of any given origin, such as Ceylon, Indian, Kenyan, Assam, Darjeeling or a combination of two or more. With the base tea in place we added in pre-measured amounts of additional flavoring ingredients according to tested samples to determine the proper blending techniques for peak flavor. The same blending practices carried over, just in a much smaller scale when I began blending my own teas in my home. In my Chai tea for example the Assam black tea leaves are hand blended with a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and both black and white pepper. For my herbal fruit teas I blend with herbs and dehydrated pieces of fruit coated to keep them from becoming sticky inside the teabags which produce a fruity explosion of taste once the hot water is applied.
4) What made you take the leap?
Just over two years ago amidst the huge economic decline in Michigan I decided to try my hand at the tea blending full time and received a nice response. But I still needed an avenue to sell. My next door neighbor who I had supplied on many occasions, introduced me to Etsy and reassured me that I would soon find a home. She was right. After renewing acquaintance with my former colleagues in Canada they put me in touch with a wholesale distributor so I could purchase in bulk the herbs, spices and teas that were needed to continue this practice on a larger scale. I have been on Etsy about 10 months now and I have enjoyed over 1000 sales.
5) Besides Etsy, how do you promote your work?
I have a lot of repeat business and a lot of referrals so my business has continued to grow.
6) Any advice for other artisans?
I believe that customer service is what makes or breaks you so I strive to ship everything next day. Which is not always easy when raising three kids and keeping up a house at the same time. Also, whatever your purpose is in life, I believe you will know when you find it. Simply stick with it and make it happen. Sometimes it gets discouraging, but you have to fight through it if you want to succeed.
Thank you Tim for sharing about your wonderful teas. Please visit Teaman and pick up your own yummy teas, you will not be disappointed.