We're taking a short break from our Upside-Down House series to talk about tea parties! Yay!!
I'm sure I failed to mention this in light of my long absence from blogging, but I'm going to start selling Steeped Tea! Steeped is a loose-leaf tea company based in Ontario that operates using a home party business model.
Now, as you may know, I currently sell Pampered Chef, and while I love the products, the company and getting out once in a while to do a party, the reality is that I can't keep up with the one-show-a-month minimum, especially once I have a newborn. So I decided to take a break from Pampered Chef and go 'inactive' instead of just doing a poor job of it. But I really wanted to still sell something that I could do parties for, and be considered active and do a decent job!
Enter the tea world.
I stumbled across loose-leaf tea home parties back in the fall and I loved the idea! I love tea parties so much! And goodness knows we like our loose-leaf tea at home - we went through a phase where we had a $70 budget every three months just for loose-leaf tea. Matt actually commented that it would be fun if I sold tea and I knew that it would be, but I kept thinking it'd be crazy to step back from selling one thing to step into selling another. Well, that mentality only lasted until December, by which point I had resolved to take a break from Pampered Chef and I started looking seriously at selling tea. And then I met Steeped, which has no monthly sales minimums and consultants can get 40% off products. So basically I could have parties when I felt like it, take whole months off at a time, AND keep my house well stocked with tea for pretty cheap! The more I looked into it, the more I loved the idea, and I had a number of friends who loved the idea too - so I had a loyal customer base established a month before I officially decided to sell it.
Turns out, the way you get started as a consultant is by hosting a party that another consultant leads, and 45% of the show sales go towards paying for your consultant kit. That, or you can pay around $250 yourself for two mini-kits and get all the same stuff. So clearly the party is the way to go. So last night, I hosted my Steeped Tea Starter Party!
I invited everyone I could think of and crossed my fingers that at least some of them would show, and then prepped some pretentious little party foods that would go well with tea: mini Chocolate Pot de Cremes, White Wine Jelly and Grapes, Blueberry Brunch Cake and Single Bite servings of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. I usually entertain mixed groups and I feel like I can't serve tiny portions to big burly men (seriously, you should see how big some of these men are!) so I never get to serve anything in my verrine cups or on my hors d'eouvres spoons. But at a tea party? Perfect!
The Wine Jelly and Grapes are quicky becoming a favorite of mine to serve as well. It's an even simpler recipe than the Pot de Cremes: set a pack of gelatin with 2 tbsp of water. Dissolve sugar in wine in a sauce pan, remove from heat and whisk in the softened gelatin. Let cool and then pour over ramekins of small, fresh grapes. Chill, garnish, serve! Awesome, hey? And they taste incredibly fresh and light! I top them with a bit of whipping cream and they are just sweet enough to be called dessert, but by no means 'rich' or overpowering. Perfect in summer, fyi.
When my consultant showed up we got some tea ready (those brushed metal Henley pots keep things hot for 2 hours - not just warm, hot.) and then people started showing up. Actually, people kept showing up all evening! I was hoping for 7 people, but worried not even that many would come, but by 8:30 I had 12, not including Matt and I. We sampled a green tea called Hawa-ya-doin (pineapple, papaya, bamboo and coconut), a rooibos called Toffee Crunch which Matt adored, and a weird little one called Cinnamon Hearts Pu-erh (a black tea that is fermented underground) which smelled just like the candy hearts and tasted earthy and hearty. They were all great, and even my devout coffee-drinking friend who only came for moral support loved them! It was nice watching one show before I had to go do my own, too! I got a few really good ideas and saw what people typically ask for at a show.
When it was all said and done, Matt had picked out a number of teas that he is desperate for, and I had earned enough for my consultant kit in one evening! Plus, some of my friends wanted more tea than they could buy in one night so they've booked parties, and I'll have regular orders from them just to restock their tea shelves. I think the best part though was that last night was the most stressful part of all this, and it wasn't actually stressful. Sure I was nervous that no one would show, but my friends are awesome, and they came. And now all I have to do is order tea for Matt and I when we want it, and for my friends when they need it, and I'm a successful Steeped tea Consultant!
I'm really excited to get my starter kit now and try everything. They make tea soaps that range from stress relief, specialized ones for scrubbing after gardening and even facial bars. Plus, they have a line of jams and chutneys that I'm stoked to sample (especially their mango chutney and their Matcha Mousse). And Matt is a little desperate for his big bag of Toffee Crunch tea to come...
Mrs. VanderLeek ;)