There are several things I’d like to update you on, but for now, allow me to tell you a story.
One day in early February of this year, the thought popped into my head about how much I enjoy Thai Iced Tea. I first had this deliciously creamy beverage during my visit to Thailand in June 2009. Not only did I love the tea, but the colors, culture, people and massages (oh yes) have all remained a part of who I am. Here are a few photos from that trip:
A dessert tea with a striking orange color, Thai Iced Tea is a staple at restaurants, cafés and local street vendors throughout the country. Few Thai restaurants in Sydney offer this tasty beverage, so I thought, “Why not do my part to change that?” (That’s often how my business ideas start, haha) I had also just discovered that I was pregnant, so full-time work for a company or organization wasn’t a viable option anymore. Starting a business seemed like the reasonable thing to do. 🙂 In case you’re curious, here’s what Thai Iced Tea looks like:
As the months rolled on this year, I researched, experimented and toyed around with different ideas surrounding the business. Soon after, a name developed: Tiger Tonic. In the old days (late 1800s-early 1900s), tonics were often sold by traveling salesmen to unassuming customers looking for cures to their many ills: dry scalp, liver trouble, crying baby… you name it, they wanted a cure for it. Over time, the word has become synonymous with anything that is refreshing, relieving or curing in some way. Tea certainly fits that description! And as far as the ‘Tiger’ bit goes – tigers are just cool. Am I right?
Following my 6-week trip to the States, I started to get a bit more serious about the idea. Bottling the tea didn’t look to be the best option for the time, so I considered serving the tea at my favorite local market instead. Glebe Markets is a funky little market in the Sydney suburb of Glebe (as the name suggests) that I’ve been going to for several years now. It was love at first sight. What really caught my attention was all the green surrounding the stalls, live music and tons of variety. It felt like Austin, and if you know me at all, you know how much I looooove Austin.
One Saturday in late June, I visited Glebe to have a chat with the owner. Thankfully, I caught him just as the markets were winding down and was able to present my concept. I was originally thinking of October as a potential start date, but he had a spot right at the front that was available ASAP. Well, I couldn’t pass that up. I gave him a call that week and booked it in for the Saturday three weeks later. What followed was three crazy weeks of intense research, online ordering and shop hopping, brainstorming/designing, photo-shooting and general decision-making… It was madness, but I loved it! Nothing like a deadline to get your tush moving on an idea.
Tiger Tonic officially launched on Saturday 2 August at Glebe Markets and we couldn’t have been happier with the response! We gave out over 200 tea samples and sold 70 cups of both our signature tea, Traditional Thai, and our feature tea of the month, Creamsicle Oolong. Check out our website to read up about our teas, the causes we support, our philosophy and, if you’re in the Sydney area, where you can come say hello and try it out for yourself.
I must close with a HUGE thank you to our housemates (for putting up with long hours of tea-making in the kitchen), friends (for the encouraging words and support in these very early days) and family (for lending us a larger vehicle to transport our stall setup to the markets, among other things)… We couldn’t have had such a strong start without you. Follow @drinkthetonic on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to stay in touch and get updates on the new things we’re brewing up (pun very much intended). 😉
Thanks for taking the time to listen to my story. Cheerio for now!