Newbury St has been a favourite destination for my father and I to walk through on the weekend. The history and beauty of the area have formed a legacy which has inspired countless artists, of which I occupy a rather small but comfortable position in the midst of it all. On any given Saturday we might stroll by several special shops, but one, in particular, was grabbing my attention several months back — with its elegance, its playful, punny sense of humour, its magnifique marquee.
A Bit Of Background & First Impressions
Tea Forte, on 91 Newbury St to be specific. The first time I went in, the marketer and designer in me were simultaneously impressed by the layout which was organized but not in the least unapproachable; gallery-like precision in fact. The aromatic effects of a fine tea shop are as you’d expect, with floral and herbal scents strewn throughout the air. Even the lighting was lovely — nothing harsh and, if anything, calibrated comfortably. Dad turned to me, saying: “This is nice…” which for someone as soft-spoken and sincere as he is was a star-studded compliment, as there was a depth to the simple phrase conveyed by how at ease he was in general.
Alicia and Kimberly, The Art Of Hospitality
During my initial visit, we had the pleasure of interacting with Alicia and Kimberly who pretty much helped to seal the deal of my consumer approval. They did this by combining skillful knowledge, genuine hospitality, and high-level marketing qualities. It isn’t enough simply to sell something, or even to sell it well (often and in vast quantities). It’s how you treat the client, how you sell them not just the product but the brand, the experience, the lifestyle.
We were treated like VIPs, even though we were newcomers. We were given samples to try which not only introduced us to the great flavour of the Tea Forte family of teas, but also opened up the lines of communication further into pleasant, courteous conversation…which is something rare to be sure. Both Alicia and Kimberly also gave us tons of interesting information about the store, the different types of products and varieties of teas, and all the while I was noting how this must also be a reflection of a superior management style which rewards such professionalism.
The Monday Moment
Prior to reopening this blog, my primary platform for writing was Linkedin. I still publish a few segments on there including “The Monday Moment” which is specifically targeted towards highlighting and celebrating truly special people, places and things. Having enjoyed ourselves so much over the weekend, dad and I decided that I should devote my Monday Moment to Tea Forte. Doing so allowed us to share such a positive experience with our networks, but it also connected me with Allison DiCarlo who happens to be the manager.
The Launch Party
Some weeks later, customers were invited to the Jardin Launch Party, a celebration of the new spring-inspired collection, curated for the New York Botanical Garden and helping to benefit its research and conversation. There would be cocktails, light hors d’oeuvres and a chance to meet fellow fans. I was thrilled at the chance to attend.
To put it simply, this party was extremely fabulous and fun. All the associates: Alicia, Kimberly, and Jisoo did a spectacular job along with Allison as hostess. It was a gathering of friends and visitors from all over the place, and for someone who enjoys hearing stories as much as telling them, I was so pleased with the chance to hear new tales and share some of my own. I enjoyed an exquisite tuna tartare and refreshing Oolong Rose which was made with rose champagne, the new strawberry hibiscus tea, and dragonberry liquor.
Steeped In The Right Stuff
The Launch Party helped to cement what had already been settling in: a deep, lasting appreciation for this business and the brilliant people who make it possible. Having faith in products and a brand isn’t just about algorithms or fancy campaigns. You still have to get in touch with the people you’re selling to, and you have to show that you care not just about the potential transaction but about the business relationship…which can either be built solid, then and there, or scrapped as a result of missed opportunities.
Tea Forte, from its popup origins to its brick-and-mortar present state, has helped to do two things for me in particular: It’s reinvigorated my appreciation for the tea lifestyle…and it has reaffirmed my faith in the right kind of marketing as well. Do me a favour and check this place out if you’re in the neighbourhood!