Before our hiatus, I was contacted by the lovely Shanae Jones, the creator and owner of Ivy’s Tea Co., an online-based tea shop focused on holistic remedies and wellness. Her positive energy was contagious as she worked to promote her brand, and I just had to check it out for myself.
Shanae works hard to handcraft each of her teas, paying special attention to organic ingredients to make sure each product is as clean and nourishing as possible.
Luckily, I was able to snag a few minutes of Shanae’s valuable time to ask her a few questions about her business and such.
Let’s start simple. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Shanae. I am an herbalist and the owner of Ivy’s Tea Co.
What sets your shop apart from other shops like yours? How do you stand out?
Ivy’s Tea Co. is different from other tea shops in two ways: 1) It is owned and operated by an herbalist. Every tea has been handcrafted by me from a holistic, herbal perspective, and 2) The pop culture references typically associated with everything but holistic health are put to use at Ivy’s Tea Co. – we didn’t get the hashtag #TrapTea for nothing.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Starting Ivy’s Tea Co. came as a result of my being frustrated with my job as an Executive Assistant and a desire to be held accountable for my social activism.
What sort of challenges have you faced along the way that you wouldn’t have expected?
Entrepreneurship is a lot of work. One of my biggest challenges has been building a brand. Using social media and networking and updating my website and blogging – they’re all so instrumental in building my business. I focused so much on design, packaging, language, products, and building my knowledge as an herbalist – I thought I had all of my bases covered. Ha! The hard work was connecting with my customers and making sure I find the sweet balance between the behind the scenes work with my product and the work in the forefront.
The indie scene tends to be pretty white dominated. As a black woman, have you faced any noticeable aversion within the community?
This is a great question. Many in the indie scene are quite supportive of my work and the mission of Ivy’s Tea Co. I also find that the Black community of herbalists is quite supportive. There’s a lot of uplift in the herbal and holistic community in general.
“Start where you are and start right now.”
Going off of that, how has you experience within the indie community been so far?
My experience has been a very positive one. I am constantly encouraged to keep going by the indie/holistic community.
Obviously, as an online shop, the internet is greatly important to you. Besides being the vessel through which you run your business, how has the web impacted your clientele and business as a whole?
The Internet is a gem. I’ve been able to connect with customers and other entrepreneurs so easily. The best part is that s much information is readily available and it’s easy to share what I know with others. This helps others see me as a reliable source for info regarding holistic health and herbalism.
If you could change anything you’ve done so far, would you?
Yes. I would have started my business sooner.
And finally, what advice do you have for anyone who may want to start their own business.
Start where you are and start right now. You’ll never find the right time, it will never be comfortable, you’ll never be secure enough, so just start and watch all of those things fall into place.