It was the Fourth of July and I found myself at the new DAVIDsTEA location at the Prudential Center on an Boston Bites mission. Equipped with my Moleskine, my camera, and the thirst I worked up on that summer's day trek, I was ready to try some tea and learn more about the business - one I definitely owe my sanity to during finals last winter (thank you, Snowy Day tea!).
Right off the bat the store drew me in with its vibrant color palette and meticulous displays. I had been set up to meet with the New England district manager, Jim, and arrived a few minutes early enough to hear him speaking with a mother and her daughter - first time tea shoppers. The genuine care and nurturing nature with which Jim spoke to these customers really captured me. I instantly knew I'd be in good hands.
Within the first minute of meeting Jim, he offered me some tea (an expert tea salesman fully aware that the way to anyone's heart is through their stomach). I picked an iced Fruity Oasis tea with agave, per his suggestion, and happily sipped as he walked me through the brand.
DAVIDsTEA began in Canada on Queens St. nine years ago (in November), founded on the premise of fostering empathy, education, and innovation in tea making. This mantra instantly resonated as I fondly recalled the times in which I received free teas at the Harvard Square location on days in which I figure the workers must have felt my stressed out vibe. Jim validated that this was in fact part of their mission: to treat customers with kindness, even if that means a free cup of tea every now and then.
I then learned that the teas are broken up and displayed by mood: classics, feel good, sweet & indulgent, and fresh & fruity. The organizational portion of my brain let out a calming sigh of relief. But wait, there's more! The teas are also color coded to enhance the visual nature of understanding the different teas. Another functional implementation of making education accessible - like coloring caffeine free tea orange/yellow for immediate, visual reference.
Jim also explained that in this particular store the set up was more "grab & go." If the customer is a frequent one, they can keep their headphones in and just select what they came in for, but if it's their first time, there are several people on staff eager to help. As soon as you walk in, you are greeted so warmly and genuinely, a testament to their family-like work ethic and positive environment. Jim even noted that they love doing "matcha shots" with customers in the store.
Then came the goodies: Jim talked to me about the innovative side of tea making - namely the custom developed mugs, bottles, and pitchers. He showed me the Matcha Shaker, a creative, fun, and educational way to make matcha on the go. My personal favorite had to be the color changing iced tea bottle, though. Of course, no surprise there that the color loving gal loved the color changing cup. Jim even pointed out that the general color scheme of the store is white and bright as opposed to the traditional dark walls and cast iron materials of other tea stores.
Mid drink demo, Jim whipped out a "perfect spoon" from his pocket. No, I'm not joking. "You've gotta have your perfect spoon on you. I mean c'mon, this pants pocket is just perfect for one." And he was right. Every tea lover needs their perfect spoon at their disposal (and yes, I went home with one of my very own - it's peach colored). Next up were the new Iced Tea Pitcher Presses, an absolute must for instant tea at all of your summer festivities.
"I didn't invent them, but I can sure sell the heck out of them." And if Jim hadn't already promised to send me home with some free goodies, I probably would have bought the pitcher right then and there. It sure helped that a customer interjected, "These are awesome, I have one!" as Jim showed me exactly how they worked.
Before I left, Jim asked me what kind of tea I liked. I said Jasmine, and he proceeded to show me their wide array of options: from hand rolled tea to green teas left for five days with blooming jasmine in the room, I quickly felt both informed and excited to make my new tea at home!
With such an emphasis on a culture of empathy, it's no wonder that Jim, and people just like him, are the face of the company. Jim told me about his first experience with tea purchasing and how it quite literally left a "bad taste" in his mouth after he spent tons of money on a bunch of equipment no one told him how to use. Here at DAVIDsTEA, not only will you know exactly what you're doing, but you'll feel like you're now part of a family - one that'll give you a warm cup of Snowy Day tea, scooped from a perfect spoon, on a day you definitely need a pick me up.