What started out as a journey for mental clarity, turned into a gateway of healing, mindfulness, and more. April Sheris truly believes that tea has the power to help us transcend the conscious mind that leads to healing the subconscious. It was the healing benefits that Rooibos tea provided, with origins in the Cederberg region of the Western Cape, that inspired her to share its benefits with the world.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I started in book publishing and fell in love with the industry. I was in a position to meet new creatives, work with them closely on bringing their dream to fruition, and watching the results of our labor play out at retailers. For nine years, I was excelling but was also burning the candle on both ends. At this time, I knew I needed to slow down and figure out how to realign my lifestyle so that it wouldn’t cause detriment to my health, peace of mind, and my business.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
It was through delving deep into tai chi methodology and the healing benefits of herbal teas that I found my work-life balance. Through my healing journey, Upland Tea House was born.
How did you achieve awareness?
How have you been able to gain funding and grow? We started very grassroots and grew organically. We simply shared our love for rooibos tea and the healing benefits to attract a community. We utilized social media and grew an emailing list that in return grew our customer base.
What are the key successes?
I have one: ‘slow down to catapult faster’. In business we are so quick to set the trend or move the needle to be recognized that we often miss the details in the journey. When you slow down you give way to learn more as a business person, build sustainable relationships, carve out a niche in your industry, and serve your community well. The sum of all these steps catapults you even further than rushing ever could.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
The biggest mistake I learned is not fully understanding the process to harvest, process, and care for my tea. It’s truly an honorable thing to witness – the craft to produce quality tea and tasting the difference on the side of the consumer. When I began, I over-steeped the leaves, didn’t conceal the tea properly after use, didn’t realize the type of pot or presses could yield a different flavor. After learning from some of the best in the field, I have much respect for the harvesters as well as the experience overall. Tea consumption is more than just an alternative to coffee. It’s a time honored lifestyle for some cultures and a ritual in others.
What are your plans now/for the future?
We are eager to get out in the community to host meditation hour and mindful moments in public spaces. As well as iced tea offerings in public spaces during the warmer months. We want to connect with as many people as we can to expand our community of tea lovers.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
If I could save someone a lot of time and startup agony then I would say: 1. There will be a lot of ‘No’s’ before you get to that ‘Yes’. Be comfortable with that. 2. Many things have been done before. So, sometimes reinventing the wheel is necessary. 3. The key to success is consistency. So don’t think what you’re about to do is any easier than a 9 to 5. 4. We are all just trying to find our way. Don’t let anyone make you believe they have excelled at that. 5. No matter what happens, keep going anyway.
Can you share you top tips for entrepreneurial success?
The sum of all lessons is confidence and consistency. When you lose confidence in something or yourself, then everything is downhill from there. But, to understand that you have to constantly remind yourself of where you stand among competition, and why you began then you will get you much farther when those rocky moments come.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
I find that I am inspired by Damn Dash, Steve Stoute, Shawn Carter, Rihanna, and Beyonce all for the same reasons. I admire their fearless creativity and ability to remain current while transcending business. Often we find something that works for us and stick to that one thing. We box our own self in when we are naturally ever-evolving.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
These aren’t inspirational quotes but are definitely beliefs that I adhere to and keep front-of- mind on a daily basis. Practice gratitude: Write down everything you’re grateful for at rising as well as everything you didn’t accomplish at the end of the day. We try but sometimes we don’t always achieve. And there’s nothing wrong with leaving something for the next day. So, acknowledge and be grateful of the things you did achieve at the end of each day.
And, Find one thing to do for someone else. As cliché as it sounds, we are better internally and externally by finding someone to pour into. These two have changed my life significantly in unimaginable ways.
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
I can be found at @AprilSheris on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. Please consider subscribing for updates on our website: www.uplandteahouse.com. We plan retreats, mindfulness sessions, and brunches as a means to meet one another in real life and form a bond the world over. We hope to see some new faces in the future.