A creative married team introducing a healthy, lighter alternative to Victoria's bubble tea culture.
Anna & Issac, Owners for Flourish BeauTea
Back in early July this year, Thomas and I took a stroll through our old downtown neighbourhood for the first time since the pandemic began. As we walked down Fort street, I literally stopped in my tracks to the sound of relaxing jazz. I turned and saw this beautiful little cafe that we had not seen before.
We wandered in and instantly felt a sense of comfort through the music and atmosphere. As we walked up to the counter, we were warmly welcomed by Anna, the co-owner of Flourish BeauTea. We could tell right away how passionate she was about their products as she explained the different menu items to us.
Since then, we have met Anna and her husband Issac on a few occasions. They are one of the hardest working and inspiring couples we have ever met! We were honoured to sit down with Anna and learn more about how Flourish BeauTea came to be.
Where it all began
"I am originally from Hong Kong, China. I came to Toronto to study finance and business10 years ago. During that time I met my partner in business and in life, Issac. After graduation, we made the journey to Victoria and worked in the financial and hospitality industry for a few years."
Two years ago, around the time Anna and Issac married, the pair started to transition into entrepreneurship while still working full time. "We were not sure if starting up our own business would work or not, but we knew we wanted something different and more fulfilling in our lives." Anna explained that deciding to quit their full time careers took a large leap of faith.
While browsing around MayFair Mall one morning, Anna saw a bulletin for small business pop up shops. This is where Flourish BeauTea was brought to fruition. This opportunity was just the ticket for Anna and Issac to see if their business had what it took to grow.
"We grew an incredibly loyal customer base in a short amount of time while at Mayfair. When we were ready to set up our own shop and posted that we were looking for employees, the first person to call was one of our original loyal customers! It's been almost a year and she is still working alongside us. We are so lucky to have such a supportive community here in Victoria."
Deciding On The Product
"Originally, we wanted to open up our own bubble tea shop, but growing up with bubble tea in China, I found it to be a bit too sweet and quite hard on my stomach. So, Issac and I wanted to bring a healthier, lighter alternative to the bubble tea culture."
The dynamic duo got down to work and put their thoughts, ingredients, and recipes together to create beautiful, tasty delights.
"Issac, the most creative one on the team, came up with the beautiful presentation and flavours we have on our menu today. The first tea he created was one of our popular fruit teas! The more he made, the more I fell in love with it. I knew we were on the right track to something exciting."
From right: Carbonated Fruit Tea: Grapefruit Gravity - Rose Emeral (Flower Tea) - Carbonated Fruit Tea: Kiwi Karate - Peachnic Oolong.
"China has a huge tea culture. The way it is usually brewed in my home town is quite strong, but I prefer teas to be brewed on the lighter side. We wanted to take our favourite teas such as Oolong, and combine it with fresh fruit without the tea coming out too strong or too weak. At the beginning, we would create and test around 20 different drink varieties to get it just right."
Anna added that they only use premium quality teas for the best taste and health benefits. They also use their teas within some of their delicious house made cakes and pastries.
"I really enjoy making desserts, and I wanted to bring another unique element to Flourish BeauTea. We started to create house made treats that people could enjoy alongside our drinks. We now also create custom cakes and desserts to order, which has really taken off. Issac makes the base of the cakes, and I decorate. We have a lot of fun in the process!"
Photo to the right: Rose Emeral (Flower Tea) paired with strawberry cheesecake cupcakes & Fruity Mousse Cake.
Opening Flourish BeauTea During The Pandemic
"We quit our full time jobs and secured our downtown location before the pandemic hit - So we didn't have the choice to stop or turn back. All we could do is go forward. I think a strength in our brand that helped us attract new customers was our unique packaging. When we opened our downtown store location September 2020, we also had to adjust to what could work during the winter months. That's when we started slowly adding baked goods to our menu."
Behind Their Brand
-- "Our goal is to provide the community with tasty, healthy, beautiful drinks by using less calories, less sugar, less caffeine, and more creativity."
Recently, we caught up with Anna & Issac at the Esquimalt Farmers Market. Alongside their delicious cupcakes, they had all sorts of fruit flavours that were both lightly and non caffeinated, the latter being a major hit for the little ones. One of the best sellers that day was their mango sparkling tea, and I can tell you - it was SO delicious and refreshing on that beautiful end-of-summer evening.
As we walked around the market with our cans of sparkling fruit tea, many vendors and patrons asked us where we it was from, and that they loved the packaging. This is another huge element that originally brought me into Flourish BeauTea. Their branding and packaging is so elegant, well thought out and eye captivating. Anna gives credit to her best friend Shasa who helped her design the aesthetic of their shop and brand. Many elements of their shop are also DIY thanks to help from Issac's sister.
How did you come up with your logo design?
"We wanted to portray the elegance of a woman's body, mixed with the element of the tea leaf in the cup sprouting outwards into the beauty of a flower. All of these elements come together to represent Flourish BeauTea. Our logo designer did a great job coming up with exactly what we were envisioning."
What advice would you give to aspiring business owners?
"The greatest piece of advice I can give to aspiring or new business owners is to keep moving forward, and have patience even when it gets hard. If you push through the obstacles, you will become a success."
"Have at least one product or service that really stands out, and have the right packaging/branding to go with it. Even if there are many others pursuing the same business, you will always have your own unique flare within that industry. The greatest piece of advice I can give to aspiring or new business owners is to keep moving forward, and have patience even when it gets hard. If you push through the obstacles, you will become a success."
For new business owners in the food and beverage industry: "We have found that having a business in a fast paced downtown environment, people want simple and fast options which is why we have a set menu that we can explain in a simple and effective way. This is something that has worked very well for our business."
What's Next For Flourish BeauTea?
"We would love to expand on our collaborations with local restaurants in the future. We have collaborated with some really supportive businesses in the past year including Roast, Estevan Village, and a pop up vendor at the Sidney Market. They all have their own exclusive flavours of carbonated fruit teas.
We also want to provide more catering services, and start hosting more events in our shop once it is safe to do so."
Anna and Issac have a passion to teach people how to make tea, become professional baristas, and share experiences and tips for aspiring business owners wanting to open their own beverage business. They would love to one day open a workshop to provide education in this field.
"Flourish BeauTea is a little haven during the breaks in between life."
We are so happy to have stumbled upon Flourish BeauTea. Anna and Issac are a perfect example of what a mixture faith, trust, hard work, and perseverance can do when starting a new business - especially in these difficult times.
One of my favourite quotes from Denzel Washington that I live by is "there is no falling back. Choose to fall forward." And that is exactly what this team has successfully done.
Have you been to Flourish BeauTea yet? Let us know!
Follow Flourish BeauTea's journey on Instagram: @FlourishBeautea
Author: Kristina Kinzel All photos by: Kinzel Creative
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