It’s time to start marking down 2019 on our blend logs, and we’re all left wondering—where did this past year go?! With a flurry of 14th anniversary festivities and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season behind us, you can hear a collective sigh of relief around the teashop. Read on as we ring in the New Year over a cup of tea and reflect on the happenings at The Jasmine Pearl these last twelve months.
2018 was full of transformation, forward momentum, and a reimaging of our mission for the days ahead—it was a year summarized by growth. For starters, many of our veteran staff members role’s matured into specialized positions, each taking on greater responsibility and carving out room for seven amazing people to join the team. In addition to these new hires, we introduced “Wayne” to the crew—our trusty weigh-and-fill machine!
An increase in wholesale partnerships and retail commerce meant our unfailing blend team had to continually meet the challenge of increasing blending pars month after month. In quieter times, twenty to forty pounds of each tea at a time seemed quite a lot; these days, forty pounds has become our blending minimum—our most popular offerings often exceeding 100 pounds! Last year alone, we blended over six tons of Matcha Latte, by far becoming our mean-green best-seller. For a small business like ours, this is no easy task—nor a tidy one!
In the spring, we launched a new and more robust e-commerce website, designed in-house with a clean, bright look and a handful of added features, including a Wholesale Portal. In return, we saw a steady surge in online orders, breaking previous records almost every month! (Most mornings, our order fulfillment lead is hidden behind a stack of boxes waiting to be shipped out!)
The Education & Events committee expanded our offerings with an array of fresh classes and series, including the
Global Tea Tour, Tea Leaf Reading, and Wagashi making. For out-of-towners traveling to our shop, hosting rare tea cuppings through
AirBnb Experiences proved to be an exciting way for us to meet tea lovers from around the world!
Throughout the summer, we gathered among friends and colleagues at TeaFest PDX and 2018 World Tea Expo—and we’re proud to brag (BIG TIME) that our president and co-founder, Heather, was appointed to their advisory board. Way to go, boss lady!
Most recently, we joined together with Arcane Chemistry, S.A. Plunkett Naturals, and Whimsy Chocolates to create a limited-edition Kashmiri Chai Gift Set. Using our aromatic and floral green tea chai blend, they created a range of tea-infused products including a scented candle, lotion bar, and vegan chocolates for us to feature in the shop throughout the winter season.
We’ve considered ourselves lucky to have opportunities to play alongside new and old friends through tasting/pairing events, co-branded collaborations, and to support local community partners like Growing Gardens, BackFence PDX, and Willamette Week’s Give! Guide who are making our city a great place to live.
One thing remained steadfastly true throughout this past year—the tea itself. It’s what excites us about coming to work everyday, and our commitment to offer the most interesting, delicious, and sustainable offerings is our driving force. Our tea producers inspire and invigorate our mission, and we strive to deepen our relationships with these trusted suppliers each year. Whether it’s traveling to Colombia to meet farmers, like our co-founder Chuck did earlier this year, or hosting producers here in Portland, we are so thankful for their hard work that allows us to do what we love every day.
Thank you for your continued support, enthusiasm, and love of tea. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve got brewing for 2019!