A Tea Entrepreneur's Log by John-Paul Lee

the best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up

had a pretty rough day today and to top it off got a speeding ticket.  city is running dry on cash and trying to replenish by giving away absurd tickets.  i got mine right in front of the lincoln tunnel and the officer claimed that i was doing 60 in a 35 zone.  i have lead foot not elephantiasis.  then she marks off the court appearance is mandatory checkbox because its considered reckless so now i have to head out to court in a few weeks.  i’m definitely disputing this one and i’m going to call her out.  tomorrow is a big day and it will be better so not going to let this hold me down but it is a bit ridiculous.  on a positive note i charged up my old “treo” from 2006 and found all of my daily notes that i took in the early years of tavalon.  i guess a few qualify as diaries  and a few of them are pretty interesting so i’m going to post them as retro’s so i can reminisce on the good old days…

hello gym


hope 2010 is treating you well so far.  it has been a while, haven’t seen you since 2009.  lets catch up sometime soon and hang out more in the new year.  i’m busy building up our new sales team for tavalon but promise i’ll swing by to say hi in the near future.

i’ve been working on getting every restaurant establishment at Bloomingdale’s 59th street to carry tavalon teas.  well today was the day…  Le Train Bleu, was the last one holding out but they finally saw the opportunity and now carry our products.    so now we can say that every restaurant/cafe within bloomies in manhattan now carries our teas.  feels great.  now we need to work on getting every bloomies in the country to carry tavalon.

tomorrow is a big day.  we’re bringing on a new brand representative.  i’ve interviewed 23 candidates so far and narrowed the choice down to 2 but it is a tough, tough decision. i’m still 50/50 but lets hope the answer solidifies in my dreams tonight.

tea for haiti

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we participated in so many charities in 2009 i promised myself that we pair down the number of charities that we work with and focus more attention on the select few in 2010.  also just saw the footage in haiti and couldn’t ignore…  so i decided to donate 40% of sales our best selling tea blend called serenity to UNICEF’s haiti relief fund.  i know it is not much but they really need all the help they can get.  this whole ordeal is really putting things into perspective for me and helps me appreciate the little things in life that i take for granted and LIFE itself.

going green


had steak again tonight and i’m really looking forward to having a burger tomorrow during my lunch meeting.   i just might have to push back the no-meat resolution to 2011…

we’ve been making a few changes as part of our efforts to go green and become a more eco-friendly biz.  here’s a few ways we’re looking to make a difference… 1) we’re changing up our delivery vehicle to a hybrid. 2) we’ve removed paper reports for our weekly team meetings 3)cutting down on printed price sheets for wholesale 4)using recycled paper goods 5) changing up our current plastic containers to paper-based units 6) changed up all of the light bulbs in our office to CFL’s

going green definitely isn’t cheap but i must say it is rewarding and i feel good about it…  would love to hear suggestions on how to become a more environmentally responsible company.

hiring the best

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we’re in the process of hiring a new brand representative who will be taking over our sales/branding program.  this is probably one of the more important positions within the company because as the saying goes “sales cures all.”  i’ve interviewed over 20 potentials during the past few weeks and getting close to making a decision.  basically the dilemma is do i go for the younger/inexperienced/lower impact to p&l or the older/experienced/higher impact to p&l…  tis a tough decision…  trying to make the pick by the end of the week, wish me luck.   looking to raise some capital so gotta go update our financials now.

and so it begins…


i made 4 non-business new year’s resolutions for 2010; 1) cut out meat for 4 months 2) cut out alcohol for 3 months 3) work out 3 times/week 4) write a blog.  well…  i just had steak yesterday, got obliterated 2 nights ago, and haven’t seen a gym since December BUT  i am writing this.

i’ve never been diligent about keeping a diary but i think it is about time so i finally decided to write a blog.  i’m 31 right now and my memory isn’t getting any clearer so i thought this would be a good way to record my activities and keep my close ones updated.  my life is and has been for the past 5 years consumed by my business so most of my postings will reflect this…  my mentor once told me that “the closest a man ever gets to experiencing motherhood is when he starts up his own business.”  i truly subscribe to this theory and you’ll definitely be hearing a ton about my baby.  will try my best to post often and keep the postings interesting but no promises…  see you around.