Hamilton Wenham Chronicle (MA)
June 2, 2011
Tea For Two And Two For Tea At Jolie
Jolie Tea Company Enjoying First Months In Business
Author: Lucy R.; Sprague Frederiksen; email@example.com
Estimated printed pages: 3
The Jolie Tea Company opened two months ago in Hamilton, but it has been a journey of many years and changing paths to reach that opening for owner Amy Job of Wenham. "It's been my dream for 20 years," confessed Job, as she poured freshly brewed green tea for two. The business is strictly retail, not the Victorian Tea Room she first envisioned years ago. Instead, she has a sleek, contemporary store and shop front designed to appeal to a broad range of new and long-time tea-drinkers: "Taking an old product and making it contemporary," she said with a smile. In her store on Bay Road in downtown Hamilton, one can purchase over 75 varieties of classic black, white, and green teas, herbals and blends, plus teapots, tea travel mugs, gift baskets, tea information and literature (including children's books) and goodies, imported from France or made locally. And more is on the way.
Job herself has been through several careers before becoming shop owne! r and connoisseur of tea. With a degree in biology from Bates College, she started her professional life as a cancer researcher in both university and hospital settings. Later, she chose to attend the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, studying both to be a professional chef and kitchen manager. After that, she had a stint in food sales and corporate catering. "I found I loved the business aspect of it," she explained.
A native of Beverly and five-year resident in Wenham, Job found her shop opportunity when upscale clothing store French Lessons moved across the street and railroad tracks into the Hamilton Shoppes. With the help of a contractor friend, she changed the dressing rooms into an office and a behind-the-counter tea table, and added custom-designed counters, "tea bar" and shelf cubbies to display teas, tea ware, and cookies and jams. She chose the name "Jolie" for her company because, according to the art book where she read it, the word in French means "aesthetically beautiful," a guiding an theme in her decisions on décor and presentation. "I love all things French," she admits, explaining that she had studied French tea companies for models for her own. Her décor is black and white and green, with simple, even stark lines; she and her staff wear black Jolie Tea Company T-shirts, also for sale, and floor-length black cooking aprons. Her motto, "Is the tea in you?" ! can be found on the store's black business cards, and comes from her response to an ancient Japanese proverb, "If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty." "I believe tea, when done thoughtfully and artfully, is a vehicle to truth and beauty," she explained.
She hopes her shop and her products will appeal to young and old, and so far, it is and they are. "We had a real surge for Mother's Day," she commented, and added that young people under the age of 12 have been bringing their parents in because the kids want tea. Her staff comprises college students and recent college graduates, who all drink tea; she said a lot of college students are turning to tea, for both health and social benefits. "Tea and the process of making it can be reflective if you are alone," explained Job, "It promotes social exchange with others, and tea is portable. If stored properly, it lasts for years, and you can dress it up or down." She doesn't sell tea bags at the moment, but is looking into developing a line to sell to restaurants, especially after being contacted by local restaurants seeking a local vendor for tea.
Job describes her opening as "soft," with family, friends, and word of mouth. However, she has lots of plans for the future. As her business grows, she plans to increase her hours, by opening on Sundays, and having extended hours on Friday or Saturday evenings. She is already working on a web-site, then "Face Book and a blog, they're good ways to communicate with customers," she said. And a good way to educate people about tea: "People in general don't know a lot about tea," she added. As well as growing her business and its hours, she has plans to increase her products.
Jolie1. Owner Amy Job at the "tea bar" at the Jolie Tea Company in Hamilton.
If you go:
The Jolie Tea Company 26 Bay Rd, Hamilton Phone: 978-468-5654/888-956-5654 Every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. there is a tea testing that includes a free sample.
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Record Number: a97ddb7f1c5e52de8df9117adb0c45d7