Your little teapot buddy here commenting on one of the ways you humans are looking to generate income. As the economy gets tougher and/or humans try to turn their passion for tea into a business (now or after retiring from their career), small tea vendors running their little tea shops as a sideline began springing up like daisies in a clover patch, dotting the landscape with their brilliance and promise. Many of these efforts were good. Many are now gone, having flared up with dazzle and petered soon after (any business is tough, and tea is even tougher).
A big issue is that some tea vendors are too hard-driving and defensive to win over customers. We have come across several like this. One vendor was especially bad. I hope you humans who are contemplating starting a tea business will take a tip or two here of what NOT to do. TOOOT!
Armed with a tea sommelier certificate from a group that hands them out apparently to anyone willing to pay their fee, a recent entry into this foray of sideline shops set up their site and their social media accounts, and contacted tea reviewers to try their teas. My humans agreed to try some and posted reviews. It quickly became apparent that this was one of those hard-driving, defensive types who pounced on every little thing said about their teas, probably fearful that someone would not want to buy from them. Their pouncing, however, was the deterrent. Our reviews were generally positive. They, like some other vendors we’ve dealt with, looked past those positive remarks and went straight to some little detail that they didn’t like. How would someone like this treat you as a customer?
In all fairness, it’s scary to start a new business, even a sideline. And jumping into tea, which seems pretty innocuous at first but then turns out to be very complicated, can have some humans flailing around like a novice swimmer in the deep end of the swimming pool at the YMCA. It’s especially unnerving to find that, unlike their long-time career as a programmer or insurance salesman or interior decorator, they have scant knowledge of their products and have to rely heavily on the honesty of their suppliers. They can feel foolish if something bad is posted. They can take it good naturedly and learn from it. Or they can take on a defensive posture.
Meanwhile, and the thing that really irks this little teapot, they do harm to the tea industry in general. This site has been around for awhile now, and is the successor to two previous sites. But writing about tea has grown into a one-teapot-army here to defend the good tea guys out there from those who happen to have a few good teas in stock but lack the real knowledge and experience to promote what they are selling. Add in that hard driving and defensiveness, and you have a real turn-off.
No matter which tea you drink, the enjoyment of it and the appreciation of all the hard work that goes in to bringing it to you need to be uppermost. As you learn and explore more premium teas, deal with those vendors who have that depth of knowledge you need to help you select the best. (See our site sponsors for starters.)
To the other vendors – like the guy who wanted me to pull an article giving some background on him that he didn’t want revealed even though he had it posted publicly on various Web sites – all I can say is “Learn from him.” TOOOT!
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Hi, humans, this site is under my editorial excellence. I, your lovable and sassy Little Yellow Teapot, authors articles on tea, etc., and edit the occasional guest article. All in the interest of helping you humans have a better tea experience. TOOOT!