One of my favorite things to do is meet and hang with motivated and passionate female business owners and entreprenuers. I recently had the honor of having a tea party with Lauren Danson, the inspiring and passionate force behind Mizuba Tea Company. Lauren started Mizuba Tea Co. 2 years ago with a jump of faith and has been blazing her own path within the tea industry through her love affair with Matcha—a stone ground green tea—ever since. Today, I'm brining you an interview with Lareun about her company, what keeps her going and some advice for those wanting to jump ship and become their own boss. Name + Company: Lauren Danson of Mizuba Tea Co.
What do you do?
Have tea parties for a living. Support authentic relationships across the globe via Mizuba and tea. Always research, always learn. Love. And loads of e-mails. Loads and loads of e-mails.
Do you have a health and wellness philosophy?
Balance, love, prayer, honesty, humility and service. When it comes to food, balance is key. Enjoy what is good for the soul, but in moderation!
How did Mizuba come into fruition?
I’ve been infatuated with tea ever since my mom gave me Constant Comment tea everyday before middle school. I come from a “foodie” family who was very active in our hometown’s wine and food community, so I started tasting things critically at a young age. I realized there was more to life than Bigelow tea, so I started collecting teas pretty seriously in high school, researching and learning all I could. In college at Westmont, I began hosting tea parties twice a week in my dorm room! It became quite popular. Friends would tell me that this was what I needed to do with my life, but, I was an English journalism student so starting a tea business seemed like a pipe dream….
3 years later: I was visiting a friend who was teaching English and staying in a house church in Tokyo. We went adventuring, and found ourselves in Uji, Japan! Uji is the regional birthplace of the Japanese tea industry and iconic Tea Ceremony, so, I kind of had the best day ever. I met a tea farmer and…exclusively supply his Matcha to America for about 2 years now.
What is special about Mizuba matcha?
Mizuba itself became out of pure provision, blessing, and nothing but relationships. I met a tea farmer serendipitously in Uji, Japan (which only happens to be the birthplace of the tea industry and iconic tea ceremony, which I didn’t know at the time). But since then, I work personally and directly with my farmer and travel back once a year for harvest season. While Matcha is good for you, I come to the table appreciating it for its beautiful craft, tradition, history, and captivating, nuanced flavor between my four drinking grades. Our mission statement is: Mizuba is about how the love of fine tea creates connectivity, culture, and community from source to cup.
What keeps you going when the going gets tough?
My faith in the Lord, my incredible husband who has a visionary perspective beyond my own, my extremely supportive parents, and, well…a long run and a very good cup of tea.
Whats the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Ohhhh. Be relational! Don’t be stringent in your ways so you say no more than yes - flexibility within reason is helpful. Also I’ve learned to be BE A PHONE PERSON. Don’t be afraid to call - it’s so much more direct!!
What does your best day ever look like?
(YES I love this question!) Okay - I actually love waking up early, so 7 am, 7:30 a bit of snuggle time before eating exactly 3 medjool dates with almond butter. Get me those and I’m positively chomping at the bit for a 6-8 mile run, usually along the PDX waterfront. If no run, we’ll hike Forest Park in the afternoon, if it’s Sundays we’ll hit church and BRUNCH! Anyway, after the run, I like to hit the farmer’s market for produce and peony flowers. Head home for a hot shower and a super yum smoothie, then hit the coffee shop (Oh yeah! I totally also drink, uhm, quite a bit of coffee...favorites currently include Good coffee, Extracto, and Stumptown) with my man for an hour or two of sketching, reading, relaxing. Or, we’ll spend the afternoon in the garden. We’re big home people, so we’re in the season of solid projects. Husband happens to want to build all of our furniture, so he’ll most likely be out in the garage varnishing something. I’ll call up a friend or meet someone for tea, and then prep for an intimate dinner party with our family or loved ones! Then usually have a cup of tea after dinner with a bite of dark, dark chocolate. Sweet dreams! Is it the weekend yet?
What’s next for Mizuba? Anything big things in the works?
More tea parties!!! But right now I’m having a blast partnering with coffee shops. Coffee shops are my second home and admittedly most of my community, so my heart is so full when I get to train Matcha programs all up and down the West Coast. Without giving too much away, I’ve also had a blast contributing to the tea scene in Portland, and the Oregonian newspaper will be researching a story over the next few months about it…
Do you have any advice for women aspiring to be creative business owners?
Yes. Be beyond genuinely enthusiastic about what you do. I love shoes, I love chocolate—I'm not nearly as passionate about either than I am with tea! I never wanted a business. I never ever thought I'd be a "business person." But here I am. And it's tough. It's overhwhelming. It's very difficult. But, it's totally worth it. Also, definitely, definitely be a phone person. It's not as scary as you think. Also, live your life. There's an enourmous abundance to life besides just what you do to make a living.
How can we keep up with you?