Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The art of balancing your needs with your world's needs

My great uncle, the last of the 100% Gypsy blood passed away a couple of months ago and as he departed the earth, he left the perfect message to us who remain: "Be Passionate about your life, do not sit on the fence- God rewards and provides for those who are passionate one way or another." His last words to me. Such a Gypsy way of seeing the world.

I am passionate, otherwise, I would not do what I do. I love our products, the subtle and aromatherapy enhanced blends infusing in a cup of boiling water- the battles for shelf space make me feel alive- as we are changing the world with each tin we put out into the world. I am passionate about my kids, my dear husband who accepts my altars on every flat surface in the house and the constant adventure my schedule holds for us.

Reflecting on a moment with my uncle, I remember when I was working at the Solvang Antique Center (age 21!) selling outrageously priced, but world class collectibles and rare music boxes from Sweden. My uncle, a few days after retirement, waltzed into the store, fell in love with a sunny brunette who worked with me and proceeded to buy a $10,000 music box so he could, "sip wine and listen to the constellations." He and the brunette spent months courting and that music box brought him the greatest pleasure- such a testament to who he was.

Thank God for this heritage of mine, as crazy as it makes me, I am proud. And if Sarkozy wants to kick me out next time I am in Paris- like he is doing to the Gyspies now, I would welcome him to spend a little time getting to know us. We are so much the same, one is just slightly more poor at this stage in life...but we both love wine, music and love...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Definition of Gypsy

My Grandma Maria was the result of the love between a precocious Gypsy boy and a shy Jewish girl who married amidst the tumultuous 1920's Lenin era of Russia. My great grandfather, a fiddler and son of Moscow Circus trapeze artists, fell in love with a saintly and strong, blue eyed girl named Prisia at the creekside while both families washed their tattered clothes in the clean waters; a legacy of passion and profound perseverance was born with their first child, Zena (my great aunt), and their second, Maria (my grandmother).

The theory/history of the Gypsy/Rom people is that we were originally from northern India, escaped Attila the Hun and ended up roaming ever since through eastern Russia, through Ukraine then into Europe, ending up in Spain. The originators of Flamenco music, the Gypsy/Roma people are the only culture in the whole world that do not see any one country as their home, but the whole world as their home. So fitting for a business model and product line in the age when globalization and localization are the models to be reconciled and implemented, borders are falling, flavors are melding on plate, in cups and food is becoming the communication of our young country- finally.

Gypsy Tea had an almost mythical beginning, an idea founded through the hardship of a single 25 year old mom who had no financial support to fund an operation for her infant son (not sure it's super healthy to talk about myself in 3rd person, but I see "her" from a distance and admire her strength). I fell to my knees one day when I was at my wit's end and asked the Universe what I could do to cure my son and find my path. Gypsy Tea answered me like a whisper and quickly became a passionate path, an obsession to save the mothers of the tea fields the incredible hardship from poverty that I was experiencing at that time in my life.

My grandparents survived 5 years in concentration camps to come to America, they were very secretive about being "Gypsy"/Roma, I felt the culture embodied such a celebration of life, that I would name the company Gypsy in order to elevate the beautiful aspects of a culture that is both mysterious and dynamic.

I figured money wasn't important enough to dedicate my whole life to the receipt of it alone, but ending poverty for my global tribe- primarily the women in the tea fields- would be something that would inspire me to work when money was not enough to keep me inspired. I have found that the mission to end poverty while providing exceptional teas for tea drinkers' health and happiness is fuel for me to work passionately for long periods of time, and the creativity of designing blends and packaging, sourcing teas & herbs and working with essential oil companies in Europe has been fun, exciting and proven to never hold a dull moment for me. Traveling to the tea fields several times a year is the greatest gift my Gypsy spirit could ask for.

The tea company's first rendition was a humble tea cart, and with Sage in his baby carrier, we served cup after cup of tea to women in the Ventura/Ojai area, my twist on tea was to add essential oils so that they would have added health benefits and that resonated with women. Today we are in over 6,000 stores and selling in 11 countries.

First Blog, Earth Day 2010

The theme of this blog will be personal balance, creativity, entrepreneurial endeavor and the celebration of life through a cup of tea. I will start out with a tea that I am sipping, the story behind that blend, where I was in my life when it came about and the often humbling experience surrounding it.

My intention is to be as candid as humanly possible in order to help you, dear readers, find a sip of courage through my own hard knocks and incremental successes. May I inspire you to follow your wildest idea to the edge of the world, where you will find the ability to make that thing you have in you happen. We all have struggles, so let's get through them together, quickly so as not to lose time in getting what we want! Grab a cup of tea and join me for some musings, can't wait to share all of my most useful tips for mistake recovery and tea making with you, Dear friend.