As lovers of travel and culture (and the perspective it offers in our daily lives), we've long been fans of the mission behind Tea Collection: a line of kid's clothing that's as darling as it is globally influenced. And now, after sitting down with Tea Collection founder Emily Meyer, we don't just love the mission - we love the founder behind it all. Hear what Emily has to say about work/life balance and the importance of global awareness below!:
We love that Tea Collection is inspired by cultures around the world - we're firm believers that travel is so important to gaining perspective and wisdom beyond our backyard. What have your travels taught you personally? And how has this impacted the way in which you operate your business and help to manage your family?
My grandmother taught me that travel is the best education. And growing up, my mother, a foreign language teacher, shared her own lifetime of travel stories. As soon as I began to travel on my own, I discovered that no matter where we come from, we are all alike. We have much more in common than we think. That realization fueled my desire to tell the world, and served as the soul for what Tea represents – globally inspired children’s clothes for little citizens of the world.
At Tea, we want the value of global connection to influence everyone who shepherds the growth of the brand. One way we do that is providing a travel allowance to every Tea employee to go abroad, use their passport, and then learn and share with our community. It’s incredible to see where people’s travels take them and hear their stories afterwards!
At home, we can hardly avoid some sort of global awareness conversation every day. There are maps and globes in the most frequently used rooms, my husband and I are often referring to places where everyday items (foods, toys, books/stories) originate. My son is attending Galileo Camp this summer and this week's theme is "Down Under" – we had a field day talking about Australia and New Zealand where my mother actually visited last year.
What has been your favorite under-the-radar destination thus far?
Mali is extraordinary. The live music in Bamako, sunset on the Niger River, the awe-inspiring mud brick mosque at Djenne and the striking terrain of Dogon Country will forever capture that romantic sense of discovery.
Any smart travel tips for the jetsetters among us?
Our kids love giving us small toys from their playroom that we take on our business trips, tucked into our bag – it's fun to snap a pic of their toys in different "foreign" settings and text it back to them (their nanny or my mom).
Do you ever suffer from a post-traveling, back-to-reality funk? (We do!) If so, what are your tried and true tips for overcoming it?
Sleep is the best medicine! For any illness or funk.
What does work/life balance look like for you?
To me, every parent who works—female or male—should juggle to some extent. It comes with the territory. I commute at least 2 hours a day and use that time to the fullest—some of my best strategic brainstorms and most productive conversations happen when I'm driving home. I am also lucky because my husband likes to cook (and he’s a good cook)!
What are a few everyday products you wouldn't want to live without?
Tea to drink. My iPhone. Sunglasses. And possibly my Birkenstock Gizehs (I have had 4 colors over the years).
Clementine Daily's mission is to celebrate the many layers and facets of our everyday lives, taking special care to treat ourselves (and others!) with grace and kindness. How can you relate to this mission?
I started Tea to celebrate the beauty of cultures around the world and create a clothing collection with a deeper meaning. I relate deeply to Clementine’s mission as it is so closely aligned to my own. With each destination we travel to, we create an opportunity to share the story behind a festival, a local artist, an animal unique to the region. And my hope is that these learning moments will serve as a catalyst to more conversations – increasing love and awareness for all cultures.
What's next for Emily, and for Tea Collection?
For me, I really want to be in my sewing room more this fall. I got a couple of new sewing machines this spring and need to embrace their new technological capabilities. I'll probably start with some simple sewing projects for myself or my kids ... hopefully evolve into more serious draping, pattern making and tailoring. That's ambitious!!
For Tea, we have been working on a new store concept that I am so proud of and will be unveiled very soon. A number of our ambassador stores will have a completely new, Tea-branded experience within their stores. We have spent countless hours considering everything from the right stain of wood to the appropriate fixtures – it has been an enormous project for our team and we can't wait for customers to experience it.
p.s. So inspiring, yes? If you've got the travel bug like us, here's what to pack!