My name is Jenny, and I am the owner of Sipping Streams Tea Company. I was born in Hong Kong and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. As a first generation child in Alaska, I grew up helping my mother sell vegetables at the local farmer’s market and picked wild herbs and flowers to sell to other tea companies.
During my last year of college, I made the switch to tea. My friends shared with me the health rumors they heard about tea, but none really knew. Since I was studying sports medicine I would come across case studies on tea in The American Journal of Medicine and other professional publications. Hence my journey of tea began.
After college, I traveled to different tea farms and taught about tea at my local university, and at a local high school. It also brought my family closer together. My family started sharing stories about tea from their childhood and I learned more about my family’s past and cultural history. Tea was a medium for my family to start communicating at a more intimate level. When I learned that others had their own personal stories about tea and how it affected their lives, I knew it was something that I really wanted to share.
In January 2007, I started Sipping Streams. I went to different homes teaching tea classes and hosting tea parties. During the summer of 2008, I opened my first store. It was a small seasonal shop in Fairbanks. Our customers were locals who begged us to have a permanent store. Our store was seasonal, so we opened our current tea house in April of 2009 to serve our customers in the winter.
Since then, we have featured in the Tea Almanac of Fresh Cup Magazine and won over 10 international awards for sourcing, blending, and preparing tea.
Sipping Streams Tea Company specializes in quality loose leaf teas and tea education. Our revenue streams include wholesale sales, restaurant sales and retail sales. Sipping Streams blends, packages and sells loose leaf teas and tea sachets. Customers can enjoy a pot of tea as well as unique tea foods like homemade steam buns, bahn mi sandwiches, tea pastries and udon noodle soup. We also have a full retail section in the tea house with our packaged loose leaf teas and tea accessories for the home. Sipping Streams currently supplies bulk loose leaf teas to a number of restaurants, cafés and independent retailers.
We also have a number of wholesale customers across the country, and have the opportunity to expand our production with new wholesale customers. A move to a new location will allow us to be more efficient in production, allowing us to sell to larger businesses such as Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Wilderness Express and others which have expressed interest in working with us.
The Tea House serves as a local gathering place for many community events. We host regular tea classes with special guests from different tea producing areas, tea parties, as well as Argentine Tango and the Interior Gamer’s Association events. Our menu features specialty homemade foods from around the tea world. We strive to provide a calm, welcoming atmosphere for customers to relax and enjoy company without the rush of coffee culture. We currently cater to the University community, and have a strong following from local community organizations such as Calypso Farms, The Folk School Fairbanks, Georgeson Botanical Garden members, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of UAF, and Northern Alaska Environmental Center members. A space with a better retail front and above ground entrance will facilitate greater restaurant sales.
This loan will help us move into a new location that has more exposure, is easily accessible to the public and has more efficient use of space to expand manufacturing.
We have been in our current location for 6 years in a high traffic area, but it is in the basement and signage and parking are very poor. There is no elevator and so accessibility is also an issue. We have also reached our limit in manufacturing in the basement. In order to be able to expand our wholesale production, we need more efficient use of space and the ability to load pallets of tea into trucks. ….AND most importantly, our devoted customers would like to have windows to look out of and not have to walk down about 15 steps to enjoy a delicious pot of tea.
A new location will allow us to expand our wholesale capacity by 200% and retail revenue by 300%. With a new location I know we can succeed at providing amazing products and provide a calm, welcoming atmosphere for customers to relax and enjoy company.
Sipping Streams Tea Company specializes in quality loose leaf teas and tea education. Our revenue streams include wholesale sales, restaurant sales and retail sales. Sipping Streams blends, packages and sells loose leaf teas and tea sachets. Customers can enjoy a pot of tea as well as unique tea foods like homemade steam buns, bahn mi sandwiches, tea pastries and udon noodle soup.
See Campaign: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/16918