I’m certain I’m not alone when I say that one of my favourite attributes of people is when they are so energised, passionate and motivated by their work that they radiate an energy we all desire. And this is the exact reason why I wanted to interview Millie and Sarah about their journey to creating a business they both love; Tea & Tequila Trading.
One of the main things that I tell my clients when we are trying to figure out what career path it is they want to take, is to pause… Listen to what it is they really enjoy doing and where their passions lie; because within this is a fire waiting to be ignited. And this is exactly what these two have done, they’ve created a company that set out to share the best of Mexico with the best of UK and vice versa.
How did Tea & Tequila come about?
We have a very close friendship, we have always spoken daily even before we started our business and whilst living together at Bristol university we always dreamed of creating something together.
Tea & Tequila began as a result of Sarah moving to live in Mexico and Millie visiting her regularly. It wasn’t long before we both fell hopelessly in love with all things Mexicana and it was then that an obvious pathway opened in-front of us. After four months of brainstorming and conversing Sarah asked Millie to be the Tea to her Tequila.
Am I right in saying that Tea & Tequila has gone from a trading business to a fashion label? What made you change this?
Yes, you are right! When we first launched, we had fallen in love with a number of products indigenous to Mexico and the UK which we believed would be well received by the other country. So we established ourselves as a platform trading tequila, Mezcal, Acapulco chairs, jewellery, and artisan trinkets from Mexico and gin, tea and chocolate from Britain.
Over the following year, we got to know our market’s preferences and desires. Together we travelled the many states of Mexico discovering incredibly intricate, beautiful craft, from this we decided to work with local artists and integrate their designs with our own vision. We began creating products to showcase Mexican craft and designed to be both stylish and appeal to people at home. This is where Tea And Tequila as a brand was born – the name reflects our fusion of mexican indigenous craft (tequila) with our inherently British / London style (tea).
How do you keep yourselves motivated?
We motivate each other! We keep our-long term goal plan and vision clear on the horizon and at the root of all our day-to-day jobs. We are always brainstorming fun and innovative ways to achieve it.
We wish to continue creating and developing a brand with beautiful products crafted in an ethical way with the hope of contributing to the ethical fashion wave sweeping the nation, and encourage brands to promote transparency with their production teams.
We have fun, playful designs that represent and promote the Mexican culture we have fallen so in love with. Honestly, because we share such a passion, there isn’t too much motivation needed to keep us going, we love what we do.
We plan international trips to introduce our products to new markets worldwide, expanding our awareness, meeting buyers, and seeking inspiration along the way! We plan campaigns for specific designs with crowd-funding initiatives in collaboration with charities and artists.
One of our favourite strategies for staying motivated on top of all the above is our trips we organise together throughout the year. The purpose of the trips are to discover craft, see the world, spend quality time together and have some fun. The same incentive as your average team building exercise or office excursion, however we happen to be a duo-team of best friends and so this trip is something that keeps us invigorated and motivated all year long. The trips fill us with motivation and drive to progress the company so that we feel deserving of a break and that there is something to celebrate. Last time it was New York – next up we are looking at Istanbul or Greece!
How do you stay balanced when on the go / travelling / not working the usual office ‘9-5’?
We try to keep a good balance by working out 3-4 times a week, this can be an hour off for a pilates class when possible if we aren’t in meetings and feel it will give us a quick refresh and rejuvenate!
Likewise during the week we try to not go to bed too late and eat as healthily as possible as it definitely helps to keep a clear mind.
However running your own business does often mean the lines become blurred between work and relaxation, especially working in two different time zones it is difficult for us to switch off- we are working on trying to keep more of a 9-5 schedule and separate work (especially computer work) from our evenings and moments of peace.
What advice would you have for someone starting their own business?
Keep at it… it’s not easy – try and find someone that you can work with that can keep you motivated. Sometimes I think the biggest fear of many (quite understandably) is not having someone to discuss your ideas with – which is why we have been incredibly lucky to have each other as support.
Also, it’s important to be very organised from day one, keep all your admin and paperwork under control and it will make everything run more smoothly.
What’s your favourite Mexican restaurant in London & Why?
El Pastor in Borough Market – the best tacos – handmade fresh tortillas daily and the best Mezcal on tap – Mezcal Amores is the house pour.
Next up we want to try Temper, we’ve heard amazing things… and we’re still holding out for a real Mexican seafood which is our all time favourite food!
S H O P N O W !
Lots more here. These are just a few of my favourite clutches, but the jewellery is amazing too!