2008 was a whirlwind and such an incredible year for me personally and professionally! Starting with my trip to China in March/April. Traveling in the mountains, choosing exceptional teas and having the opportunity to cup with masters throughout China is incredible.
What most people didn't know was that I signed a lease for a much larger office, production facility the night before I left the country. And with little done while I was gone I jumped in after being back 3 days and completed "green" renovations. With an aggressive move date of May 1st Cody, Penelope and I, along with others worked overtime to get done, and we did.
The move was exhilarating and really paved the way for the growth that was to take place ahead. Even I could not have imagined such amazing growth and industry recognition.
Right after the move World Tea Expo (WTE)and the New Business Boot Camp (NBBC) was held in Las Vegas. With our energy high the Teas Etc team made its way to Vegas and was excited to have such positive feedback and results. The NBBC was an awesome experience, very emotional and fulfilling. Becoming a new WTE Advisory Board Member gave me an opportunity to get even more insight into our complex and very small industry. Hopefully I can be a part of positive change for the industry that I love.
A personal high for me, for all of 2008, was being the only female owned company to have a winner in the World Tea Championship Hot Tea Category!
Without missing a beat we returned home and the pace didn't seem to slow down. You know how you always think and/or say "I will relax after this" well I have yet to get my "after this".
With a gift show in September and lots to fill the time inbetween. Many hours spent developing our new product line to be launched in the next couple of months. Planning marketing and out reach for the months ahead. Appearing for Macy's Martha Stewart tea event in late summer. And of course the exciting opportunity to be featured on QCV in November and Decemeber both of which far exceeded our expectations.
Our success at the September show spearheaded our decision to lease a permanent showroom at the Atlanta AmericasMart which opened January 2009. That show was unbelivably sucessful!! The Friday marTEAni party. The Sunday Tea Presentation in the main demo kitchen, the one that Tyler and Rocco appeared in just a day before! Lots of fun stuff and the showroom really is lovely, pictures to follow this week.
The success of the January show was 2 fold for me personally. Having that time out of the office and being with potential customers really let me see that it is time for me to get back to my roots, sharing my enthusiasm for our quality products with others. That is what I Love and I work hard so I can do what I love, important to remember.
Atlanta was truly a great start to the year of the ox, the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival which begins this week. Happy New Year of the Ox.
Next is the tea cruise which sails January 24th heading to the western carribean, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios. I will be teaching several marketing classes for tea professionals on the cruise as well as sharing my personal tea journeys abroad with stories, photos and teas. I am looking forward to some down time with Newman, my husband who works just as hard as I do in the background at Teas Etc. Believe me I could never accomplish 1/4 of what I do without the help of many friends and coworkers behind the scenes.
Tomorrow I have the chance to spend the day with my girlfriend Barbara at the spa for some much needed R&R.
O.K. so on 1/1/09 I made a resolution to commit to blogging more regularly and here it is the 17th and this is my first post! Progress is a good thing, at least it's not February 17th!
Until next time, Beth