Sometimes in life you meet someone who you know instantly is a good person, don’t you think? The first time I heard this gorgeous lady laugh, I just knew I was really going to like her. And just like her, that laugh was hearty, generous and honest. So I especially want to share her story with you all, not just because it’s an amazing story of how a business can spring from a change in career plans but also because there’s real meaning behind it.
Jodie Fergusson-Batte is not a native Daylesfordian, in fact she’s a Melbournian who has called the Gold Coast, Darwin and Sydney home, but like many of us, was drawn to Daylesford by the amazing village feel of our community and exquisite beauty of our surrounds. With the luck of having a friend living here, Jodie would visit but always leave believing this was where she wanted to be. And in what was a daring move, brought her husband here during their first year of marriage in 2005, with promises of an idyllic lifestyle only to encounter the most bitter winter that had been experienced in 43 years. Brrr! And considering John hails from the Isle of Wight, I can see how she thought he’d be ok with the rain, fog and wind?! Maybe…?
Soon after Jodie faced the dilemma many woman come upon when wanting start a family and find a healthy worklife balance realising that not all careers suit babies. So in 2010 The Slow Tea Company was born. Her colleague and now business partner Vanessa Carslake also recognised a desire to find a new path that could incorporate not only their dream lifestyles but also some core values that were important to both of them.
Family, Humour, Female friendships, Art and Tea were key elements they wanted to build into a business and what better way to incorporate them than when having a cuppa? A time to laugh, a time to share and a time to listen, what are tea breaks for but a time to release a little from the daily grind. The girls knew that this was what they wanted to do, in a way that was rewarding and ethical at the same time. Sourcing organic tea from all over the world the girls also developed fair-trade agreements with the Tea Plantations they used. Travelling to visit the plantations was important to Jodie in making sure everything was being done ethically, and standing amongst the tea pickers in Sri Lanka was a magical moment for both of them.
Together they've developed an amazing range of teas that include Daylesford Breakfast tea, Zen (chamomile), Happy Hippy (Organic Vanilla Chai), Abundance (Organic Lemongrass & Ginger), Last Drinks (Chamomile & Mint) and Booze Hound (a cleansing blend of herbal tea). All of which can be found in many of our local cafes, restaurants and hotels. But don't worry if you're not a local you can get your hot little hands on all of these products online too.
Now the first thing you’ll notice about a canister of Slow Tea is the packaging, every blend is decorated with it’s own individual design, painted originally by Jodie. The whimsical style is beautiful and makes identifying your favourite so easy, plus you always feel like you’re buying yourself a gift! Art is a passion Jodie has followed since childhood and the influence of Picasso, in particular his detail to eyes was something that has stayed with her and the influence is present in all of her work. Jodie’s instagram feed is a lesson in relaxed beauty, combining her love of tea and art, definitely worth following.
You might be wondering by now how Jodie does it all, run a business, find time for sketching and painting, be a mum? Well it’s all about sharing the load. Jodie admits she couldn’t do it all by herself but also insists on the importance of having a great business partner. Vanessa and Jodie both have attributes they bring to the business that compliment each others strengths and weaknesses. Also the importance of capital, which is key in being able to outsource the jobs that can be done better by someone else. Doing it all by yourself may seem like your saving money but the time wasted can be just as costly. Jodie has found that celebrating the mistakes is just as important as cheering the wins. Every time they hit a roadblock it was just another lesson in how they could improve what they were doing, which in the end was really a win. Finally 'Attitude is Everything', something that Jodie finds she lives by each day and has become quite a mantra.
What’s next for the Slow Tea Company you may ask? Well Jodie and Vanessa's new ‘tea baby’ called Green Tea in 3 has hit the market and what better way to measure it’s success than have Michelle Bridges endorse it for her 12 Week Body Transformation Program. Big! Huge! I know! Green Tea in 3 is 90% green tea and 10% pure fruit extract in a powdered form so it can be dissolved in 3 seconds in either hot or cold water.
The idea behind this new product is to encourage preventive health as both ladies are ex-nurses and could see the need to find a way to combat obesity and diabetes. What better way to hydrate yourself by drinking more water instead of ‘diet’ fizzy drinks, plus with a fresh hit of antioxidants flavoured with either apple, peach or blueberry (my fave).
Now I could go all ‘born again’ on you, as I’ve completely embraced Green Tea in 3 and drink it everyday but I’ll share my findings another time. The girls are so excited about their product and who wouldn’t be, when they've been backed by the likes Michelle Bridges, Lorna Jane and Dr Joanna Macmillan. In fact Lorna Jane has just announced for all it's Active Living program members, you can now earn Active Living Points when you buy Green Tea in 3! Woo Hoo! Fist Pump!
Jodie has really turned something as simple a cup of tea into an incredible business that shows real integrity in the way it's produced and also in the way they care about their customers, who wouldn't be inspired by that?
So now it’s time to share some local knowledge from Jodie Fergusson-Batte,
If a friend came to visit how would you suggest they spend their weekend?
A walk around the lake, Visit Wombat Hill and treat yourself to something special at Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat.
What does your average day look like?
A walk around the lake, Coffee at Larder on Vincent Street or Boathouse at the Lake, Catch up on Emails and then work from home doing Orders, Social Media, Research for Green Tea in 3 and Blogging.
Locals Only Secret?
The best mineral springs water location….on east st. That’s all I’m saying...
Now if you’d like to learn more about The Slow Tea Company or Green Tea in 3, you can go to www.she-tea.com.au and www.greenteain3.com.au You can also follow Jodie on instagram at www.instagram.com/shetealove/ for her gorgeous daily feed. Plus both companies can be found on Facebook.
Hmmm, think it might be time for a cuppa!
All images courtesy of Jodie Fergusson-Batte and The Slow Tea Company.