Monday, September 23, 2013

The Kickstarter Process

A lot of you have heard of Kickstarter. A great platform for what they call "crowd-funding". Basically, if you have an amazing idea and need funding to create thing epic thing... Kickstarter is for you.

Well I wanted to share the Kickstarter process that Dryad Tea goes through in order to create our tea-based Kickstarters. 
First, you dream up the plan. In Dryad Tea's case, it's a line of teas. I do a ton of research, try to figure out how many teas, what the inspiration is, how I can blend them, what my costs are going to be, what I can offer for rewards etc. I write all of this down.
Then I start working on what I want to say in the video. Videos take me forever, I'm not going to lie. Often times one of the Dryad Tea Pups will end up barking in the middle of the video, or I sneeze, or I space what I'm saying. I try to always have a bullet point note on the side of my laptop when I'm recording the video so I have that tiny reminder. 

After the video, there's the cover photo. I try to find something that is a good photo of my teas. If people see good photos they often look inside for more information.

After that it's a matter of writing up all the levels, all the rewards and making sure that everything actually makes sense. At this point I send it to family and close friends for them to look over. 

The most exciting part (at least until a Kickstarter is funded) in my mind is the moment you push that "go live" button. I feel a small rush every time I do it!

Hopefully this gives you a small view into how Dryad Tea does Kickstarter. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Zen and the art of Making Tea

Howdy folks - TeaMonkey here

I read an article not long ago about meditation, and how the Modern Person just doesn't have enough hours in the day for such a thing.  Between Kids in the morning, Traffic getting to work, 8-12 hours at the office, Traffic coming home from work, Putting dinner on the table, Spending some quality time with the family/spouse, and 4-6 hours of sleep per night, it is no WONDER that you don't have the time to sit down for 20 minutes and clear your head.  Just writing about that makes me feel claustrophobic in the clock.

The article put out by the Huffington Post, offers up that in some traditional cultures (IE: eastern, specifically Japanese) people use their daily actions to meditate.  Taking the time to do SOMETHING with a clear mind, and intent on JUST the action.  Not planning on what is for dinner, or the business meeting that afternoon, and certainly not how they can afford Little Suzy's dance lessons.  Just Being.

So how does this relate to tea?

Set the Wayback Machine, Sherman.  We are off to Feudal Japan.

Imagine yourself sitting in a room - you can see everything going on, but the world doesn't notice that you exist right now.  You are simply a fly on the wall of a VERY well appointed room.

A man enters, very stern faced, from his dress and carriage he is a lord of some sort.  He kneels on a mat at a small table and calmly waits, not moving.

Presently, a woman enters.  She is dressed well for the time, she carries a tray with various cups and pots on it.  She is also silent, as she sets herself to the side of the table and places her accoutrement just so.  A silent bow from her to him, and the Service of Tea begins.

The entire process is silent, except for the gentle rustle of clothes, or the clink of the crockery. As you watch the process, you realize that The Lord hasn't acknowledged anything about the room around him, or the actions in front of him at all. He just sits, with a passive look, his eyes mostly closed, as though dreaming.  The woman, simalarly, seems to be either paying no attention at all to the preparation of the tea, yet doing it flawlessly. Or, her focus is her actions at hand, to the exclusion of everything else. Could two people, from the complete opposite ends of the caste system be doing the exact same thing, simply because of a cup of tea?

Lets come back to right now.

Have you ever gotten so involved in doing something, that you weren't actually thinking about it, but just doing it? And the moment that you finished, the rest of the world came into sharp focus - the colors just a bit brighter, the smells a little bit richer, your mind feels like it was just scrubbed clean? Well done. You just brought me to my point. Meditation is is not avoiding activity so that you can just think of nothing. More, it is a state of COMPLETE activity to the exclusion of worry.

It's time to get practical.

The next time you make a cup of tea, go through the entire process with a complete and whole intention.  Fill your kettle with water, and then stand there and do nothing except watch it boil. Don't think about lunch, or dance lessons, or the football game. Just wait for the water to boil. Then get your cup. Feel yourself reaching for the cup, the weight of it, the texture. That cup is everything you need for this moment. THIS moment. Don't worry about what tea you are going to put in it, that is for the next moment.  RIGHT NOW it is just you and the cup.  Breathe.

Now is the moment for the tea.

Pick a tea.  Any tea.  Especially Dryad Tea.  But any tea will do in a pinch.  Same as with the cup, THIS is the moment for your tea.  The moment for the cup and the water has passed, they are already dealt with, so you don't need to think about them anymore.  Just the tea.  Smell it, feel it, stick the bag up to your ear and LISTEN to it.  Everything in this moment is sbout the tea.  

Now we bring everything together.  Tea in Water in Cup.  Three perfect moments that you have experienced, leading into another.  Wait.  Watch the tea steep into the water.  Don't worry about the dog, or taxes, or about Little Johnny's spelling test.  Right now, it is just you, and the culmination of a series of beautiful moments.  Keep breathing.  

When it is time, take the tea from the water, and enjoy.  Feel the world come into that nice sharp, fresh-scrubbed focus.  You have just taken time to meditate, all while doing something that you would have done anyhow.  


Friday, September 13, 2013

Tea Information: Brewing

Tea Information: Brewing

It has been brought to my attention that some people are not as fluent in loose leaf tea as others. So I have put together a small "cheat sheet" if you will, and it will lead you on the path to great tea!

First off, you need loose leaf tea, a tea spoon (tsp or one purchased from my Etsy), a tea ball (or steeping ball. Again, you can purchase one from me on Etsy if you can't find one locally), a mug and hot water.

Now the fun tidbits:
When making any tea, be sure you begin with good water, if your water tastes really good out of the tap chances are it will make good tea. If there is any noticeable unpleasant taste in the tap water, e.g. Metallic, chlorine, earthiness etc. that taste will come through in the tea.

Different teas require different steeping temperatures. Using the wrong steeping temperature is probably the most common error people make when preparing tea.
You can buy a thermometer to gauge temperature or you can look for visual clues.

Black tea generally should be made with water at a full, rolling boil, 200 - 212 degrees. 3-5 minutes.
Green and white teas should be made with slightly cooler water, between 160 and 180 degrees. The steam should be wafting or gently swirling out of the kettle. 1-3 minutes. If your green tea goes bitter it's either steeped too long or in water that is too hot.
Herbal teas are also typically be made with boiling water, roughly 200 to 212 degrees again. 5-8 minutes or to taste.

If you receive a blend that is a mix of two tea types, I suggest doing a bit of playing around with temps and times. To err on the side of caution I would suggest starting with the lower temperature and time of the two teas as a guide.
I hope that helps! If any of you have questions feel free to ask :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Custom Blends

In the past, when I was first starting out with Dryad Tea I would often take custom blend requests and over time the demand increased to the point that I just don't have the time to do them for "free" anymore. Besides, a lot of the time I'd create a blend and the person it was for never bought any (I'll admit, that was very discouraging).

So I created the Custom Blend part of the Dryad Tea Website! Yes, there is now a cost but you get 4oz of tea no matter what.

Here I wanted to talk about custom blends and the way that I generally do things. When someone fills out the survey with a custom blend often times I'll then send a followup email asking further questions just so I have an idea of what the customer is looking for.

Then the blending starts.
I take the base ingredients and work out a good tasting ratio. Sometimes this is the hardest part, and there are blends that I will take upwards of a week just to get the ratio perfect. I let the blend sit and mellow for a few days and do the final tasting. If I feel the blend is what the customer is looking for I send another email. If I feel it's off then I start over.

I take custom blends very very seriously, and it is my ultimate goal to make the custom blend requester, the customer happy. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

FAE Team Fantasy Art Exhibition

What a great theme for this month's FAE Exhibit!
FAE is a group of fantasy artists on Etsy who support each others' handmade shops in the effort to bring a bit of magic and whimsy into everyday life. Go take a look at their amazing offerings!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The importance of a great support system.

Hi. My name's Rubiee and I'm a complete loon.

Well, I would be a complete loon if it weren't for the amazing support system of people that I have in my life. Not only have I managed to find amazing friends that support me and keep my head above water when I decide to take on three projects at a time (*cough* seven *cough*) but they are also the people that I trust to help with Dryad Tea.

Some of you may have seen them at shows, or seen their postings on the Dryad Tea Facebook Page...
This is TeaMonkey and Dame Ursula Wiffenpott.

These two are the people that catch me the most when I stumble over the things that I didn't expect, they are the pair that give me inspiration or tell me to sit down and have a drink after a really long day selling tea. I could probably do all of this without them, but I might not be as happy as I usually am!
So here I am, telling you all how very important it is to have a support system in a small business. It keeps you grounded, helps you brainstorm (with more than one brain!) and overall keeps the insanity at bay. Everyone should have one.

The end. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Of things and stuff

Hello Blogger-land!

I hope that your summers have been going well? I've been busy working on Kickstarter launches, Kickstarter finishes, and everything else too.
Oh yeah, and I started making pottery.

I'm really enjoying all of the creative things that I'm able to move into. From infuser charms to pottery, I can honestly say there is never a dull moment here!

Dryad Tea is also working on its Holiday line up of shows. So far you can find us at these places:
September 27-29: MALCon (their Facebook)
                        Sheraton Denver Tech Center                        700 S Clinton St. Greenwood Village, CO 80112
October 18-20: Mile High Con
                       Hyatt Regency Hotel – Tech Center
                       7800 E. Tufts Ave. Denver CO
 November 8-10: Colorado Merchandise Mart Country Christmas Gift Show - Booth: G31                        451 E 58th Ave  Denver, CO 80216
                        (Visit their website for a $1 off entry coupon)
November 24: Holiday Tea Party
                        7680 E Arizona Dr, Denver, CO 80231
December 7: Grandview Craft Fair
                        20500 E Arapahoe Rd. Aurora, CO 80016
We're also working on a few more shows to sneak in there and are holing to hear back very soon! At shows we are looking to offer "create your own" gift baskets, pre-made gift baskets, pottery, infusers and charms, honey sticks and of course, tea! We look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces out there!