We love TEAchers! (Sorry, we just couldn’t resist!)
We’re so grateful for all that our teachers have done for us over here at Tiesta Tea. In fact, they’re the reason we are here today!
Teachers are the reason any of us in this world have gotten where we are today- they are the wonderful people with whom we spend most of our waking hours outside of the home, and they shape us to be who we are. Luckily, our founders, Dan and Patrick, were fortunate enough to have teachers that inspired them to pursue their innate entrepreneurial spirit and do what seemed impossible: start a loose leaf tea company as college students!
If you’re not familiar with the story, let me break it down for you: Dan and Patrick are lifelong friends who studied abroad in college, and while in Prague they discovered loose leaf tea and wondered why the heck it wasn’t sold in the States. And lucky for us, they decided to change that by founding Tiesta Tea. What you don’t always hear is the behind the scenes of who pushed them to make those leaps and you guessed it: it was their teachers.
Patrick fondly recalls the memories of his French class at Wheeling High School and attributes his teacher, Mrs. Schneider, with encouraging him to even study abroad in the first place. And thank goodness she did- or we wouldn’t be here today! The story continues years later on two college campuses: Patrick at UIC in Chicago meanwhile Dan was in Champaign-Urbana at the University of Illinois. Shout out to both Illinois campuses for being our foundation!
In Chicago, Professor Sexton Dorvil inspired Patrick to seriously pursue this crazy idea of starting a tea company by creating a business plan. He recounts, “She pulled me aside after class and said, ‘Why don’t you start this business, what’s stopping you?’. So we used her class to write the business plan”. While the business plan ultimately ended up changing, it was a very important milestone in getting Tiesta Tea to become what it is today.
Meanwhile, in Champaign, Dan was studying finance and entrepreneurship and that’s where the business really took off. Once these two twenty-somethings decided to make Tiesta a reality, Patrick spent his weekends hiking down to the U of I campus where professors such as Amara Andrews, Dr. John Clarke, and George Krueger really took them to the next level. Patrick continues, “they really helped us learn about business, mentored us, took us under their wing, and let us use the resources available on campus to start our business”.
Thanks to the amazing resources these three mentors and teachers provided to Dan and Patrick, coupled with the Illinois Launch program and University funding, Tiesta Tea was officially born! Six years later, we are still here to prove it and are growing each and every day!
All of us here at Tiesta Tea are grateful for the teachers in our lives, from grade school through college, both in and out of the classroom and hopefully each and every one of you has had at least one fantastic teacher that has gone above and beyond in your life.
Patrick summed up our feelings best when he said, “Teachers have this unique ability to see people differently. They see sparks of greatness in students that other people just don’t see. My teacher believed in me when no one else did. Teachers have an ability to inspire change in students beyond what a parent, a friend or a family member can do.”
So, cheers to you, teachers! Thanks for all the love, sweat, and tears you put into us over the years day in and day out. We appreciate you! Happy World Teachers’ Day!