We had the good fortune of connecting with Margaret Gay and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Margaret, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I worked in the ‘corporate world’ for 6 years, but always felt a need for more. I never felt truly fulfilled with my work, and knew I wanted to do something that was my own. I started out with the basics, ‘what was something I truly liked and found passion in?” I also asked myself where I saw a need. I decided to follow my passion and fondness of tea, knowing there was a huge gap in the market for loose leaf tea options, especially in New England where I live.
My goal was that if I found something I truly enjoyed, working hard would come easy. That has proved true and I honestly can’t imagine working for a large corporate company again.

What should our readers know about your business?
27Teas was created out of a desire to find passion in my work, but also out of a need for loose leaf tea options (especially in the New England area). When I created the framework of the business, I wanted to be more than ‘just another food company,’ and a big part of that for me was creating a business that has a ‘give back’ component. We donate a percentage of profits to The Water Project, headquartered in Concord, NH. The Water Project helps provide water and sanitation solutions for those around the world without access to this basic human right. I felt that water was the best place to start, because after all, it is the foundation of life, and we can’t make a cup of tea without good, clean, water!

Aside from my ‘give back’ component, I am also on a mission to change the way people in New England (and beyond), drink tea. I want loose leaf tea to be the standard, especially in cafe’s. Often times, the tea lover is overlooked, or tea is an afterthought in cafes as they are mainly focused on coffee beverages. I want to show everyone how easy it is to make the switch to loose leaf tea. This includes how easy it is to make delicious tea at home, as well as how cafe’s can provide an elevated experience for their customer. To do this, I provide education to both the end consumer, as well as my wholesale clients. I also specifically try to have my teas priced in a “daily drinking” price range. Nothing that breaks the bank, but still a quality that is fantastic and delicious.

I am very excited to announce that my business just recently expanded into a production facility that also has a retail shop attached. This retail space is also set up for tea education seminars, as well as collaborative events with other small businesses. I plan to have a calendar of events lined up for 2023.

To get to where I am today has been a long time in the making. The business is almost 5 years old, and has been a total bootstrapping effort. I started by going to farmers markets nearly every day of the week and selling online through my website. This helped me understand what my customers liked and didn’t like, helped me tweak my packaging, and gave me lots of practice talking to others about tea. I hired someone to make my logo for me, but after that, I did everything myself. This meant I grew at a slower rate, but by doing this I had full control of what was going on, and knew every detail of my business inside and out. Now, we have our retail shop, our online shop, have a lot of wholesale accounts, and selectively pick a few weekend specialty markets to attend.

One of the biggest things I learned, and wish I did differently, was my labels. I started off printing them myself off my computer. They honestly looked terrible (looking back on it). I sent a few of my tea bags to big wholesale accounts and specialty food stores with these labels when I first started my business and didn’t have any take me on. I think a huge part of that was due to my labels not looking very ‘professional’. I wish I had made this investment right from the start.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take them to get smoothies at Laney & Lu in Exeter, NH. We would grab beers and dinner at Throwback Brewery. If it was summer we would probably go to the ocean or visit the White Mountains.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband was the person who encouraged me to quit my corporate job. He had so much confidence in me, knowing that I could make this dream a reality. I think he was more confident in me than I was in myself. Since the beginning, he has selflessly given me help on so many nights and weekends. I can’t count the number of times he has packed the truck up for a craft show or specialty market, nor can I count the amount of times he has gone to events solo, so I could do another event in another part of the state that same day. He is committed to my dream too, and I honestly think that has made all the difference for me and my success.

Website: https://27teas.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/27teas/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/27TeasLLC/

Image Credits
Jennifer Bakos Photography

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