The Love Tea Company was born after a family trip to Victoria, British Columbia, on New Year's Eve of 2016. Who knew a sweet request for afternoon tea from an 11-year old would result in such a profound idea for social change.
While on holiday vacation founder Julie Costello's 11-year old daughter Ainsley requested "afternoon tea" at the historic and luxurious Fairmont Empress hotel. Of course! What tweenage girl doesn't love a tea party, right?
At that time, Julie had been involved in a prolonged legal battle related to a family trust that dealth with her mother's mental health (and untimely and premature death.) Throughout the legal ordeal Julie would learn details about how mental illness had affected her family experience and how stress and strain can dramatically impact our own mental health.
Julie explains, "when we arrived at tea that day it was at the height of the legal battle. There was an unreasonable amount of stress in my life at that time and I absolutely found myself questioning my own mental health because of the situation. When we arrived to tea that day, the chamber music was playing and the historic room transported you to another place and time. I felt a unique sense of calm and peace. There was this very strong connection to my grandmother (my mother's mother) who was Canadian born and had loved the city of Victoria. She had even visited the room we were sitting in many times. I most definitely felt like she was there with me that day. During the tea I was experiencing a strong sense of peace that I had not felt in quite some time."
Shortly after the Canadian vacation Julie began trying to understand what was so unique about the experience of high-tea.
Julie says, "Part of me thought it was some sort of sign from my deceased grandmother, the other part of me recognized that the taking of tea is an almost spiritual act. Tea is a uniquely slow act. And American's don't like slow. Our culture is so driven by fast food, fast drink, fast cars, fast technology. But that technology that is supposed to connect us, I think, it is actually disconnecting us. It was as if, that single cup of tea, shared with my husband, daughter (*and grandmother) saved my mental health. If even for just for that moment. It absolutely provided a much needed reprieve."
That's when the idea of Love Tea began to take shape. As the legal battles tredged on Julie would uncover additional facts related to her mother's death and mental health. Some of those details would prove to further the connection between her mother's health and her own feelings of sadness, anxiety, and depression. That is when the simple act of sharing a single cup of tea would provide the impetus for a social purpose brand dedicated to making mental healthcare a mission in America.
The Love Tea Company was born.
Incorporated, in January of 2016 as a Washington State Social Purpose Organization, The Love Tea Company and its brand Love Tea have set out to raise awareness and money for mental healthcare.
Through a business strategy focused on "purposeful purchasing" - a consumer buying movement that has proven that 90% of consumers will purchase from a brand that is choosing to do something good for the world - and a mission that was built around purpose, The Love Tea Company has committed to donating 25% of its net profit toward improving mental health awareness, access, and care.
With such a bold idea, the socially driven brand became not just one company but two. Named after Julie's maternal Grandmother, Margaret Brownie Flagg, Julie has pledged $10,000 to form a private foundation, The Flagg Foundation for Mental Wellness, that will work side-by-side with Love Tea to create a social movement for change through bold ideas and thought leadership in addressing this difficult social challenge.
At the time of launch Julie stated, "I think many people will agree, that today more than ever (especially in our current political environment) we need to come together as Americans to solve some of our most pressing social problems - without the assistance of government. For decades solving these complex social issues has been left to our government to solve and time and again we have seen that government is not equipped or organized to do so. I firmly believe that together, we are more than me and that the power of purpose can change the world"
Julie is inspired by purpose driven brands, like Toms Shoes and Feed Bags who are proving that consumer purchasing power is well, powerful.
A mission for mental wellness is a bold idea. Some have asked what makes Julie the face of such a bold movement?
Julie cautions, "I do not plan on being the face of a movement. I think of it more like a part of the engine. There are many smart people, doctors and mental health practicioners, as well as brave people with far more impactful (mental health) stories than my own that would be a better face. What I can be is a vehicle to help raise awareness and to impart a sense of urgency toward the dire need to stop leaving our most vulnerable citizens (the mentally ill) alone to struggle, suffer, and die under a stigma so stark that Patrick Kennedy has been quoted as saying, 'Mental Healthcare is the civil rights issue of our generation.' Julie says, "It is that important. Weather I sell one cup of tea, or millions, I will know that I dared greatly, and tried to do something bold and courageous. I think that we are all searching for our gift in life and I know that mental health is a part of mine. If I can help make a difference, I have to.
For Questions regarding The Love Tea Company Mental Wellness please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.