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Among the 37 youth-owned businesses at YouthBiz Marketplace at Belmar earlier this month was 17-year-old Tania, creator of Special T Teas. Months of hard work helped Tania arrive at Marketplace, a story both inspiring and exciting!
As a child, Tania suffered a traumatic head injury that resulted in the loss of verbal communication and other learning differences. “School was a challenge, to say the least” said her mother Shyanne Richardson who decided to teach her at home, instead. “As we’re nearing the end of her schooling this year, we decided that Tania needed a job.”
The result? A part-time job as a Tea Master and a booth at YouthBiz Marketplace. Tania blends and packages her own teas, each named after a super hero in her life. “This is something that fits perfectly in her skill-set,” continued her mother.
To prepare for business ownership, Tania learned and perfected each step in the tea-blending process. Shyanne created color-coded recipe cards and measuring scoops that Tania learned how to use. Tania practiced pouring the loose-leaf tea into small, round tins and placing the correct label on each. Finally, Tania learned about sales. Shyanne programmed her iPad with buttons that Tania can use to communicate with her customers and talk about her products. For example, Tania can ask a customer “How may I help you?” Or, she can reply to a customer’s question about her favorite tea, “My favorite tea is Idenitea,” a tea she has named after herself.
At Marketplace, Tania’s talent and smile kept her booth busy throughout the day. Tania carefully handled her teas, which she neatly organized by flavor in a wooden box. Although looking her customers in the eye was challenging, she smiled as shoppers stopped to ask about the blends or which one she liked best. The most inspiring part is that as Tania transitions to adulthood, she has a business that will help her stay busy, focused, and productive. Plus, she’ll be able to earn a little spending money, too.
To purchase an order of Special T Teas yourself, contact Tania via email at email@example.com or visit her on Instagram: @specialtteas.