The Spot for Tea: Tea and Wellness Business Set to Expand
Whether it is paired with a good book on a rainy day or shared at a social gathering, tea possesses a singular ability to comfort and uplift its drinkers. Local tea wholesaler and retailer Good Karma Tea Co. is taking tea even further by linking tea with wellness practices and giving back to the Lynchburg community in the process.
Cameo and Lyndsey Hoyle co-founded the company about four years ago while living in Colorado. “We knew we wanted a small business of our own and tried many avenues including chocolate and cookies,” says Cameo.
“After thinking about our true loves and passions, we landed upon tea. It helped that one of our very good friends owned her own tea company. She taught us the basics about blending, and we knew right away that tea was the perfect fit.”
The Hoyles opened a small shop in October 2015 in Riverviews Artspace.
The name Good Karma Tea Co. derives from the owners’ desire to give back to the community. “We were trying to decide on a name as we began creating blends, and several of our blends give a percentage of profits to local organizations such as the Anne Spencer Garden House, local forest conservation and community arts,” Cameo says. “We wanted a name that would represent not only the relationship we have created with Lynchburg as a company but also begin to usher [in] a lifestyle brand.”
The lifestyle that Good Karma Tea seeks to promote and support is one of conscious well-being. “Good Karma Tea Co. is dedicated to holistic healing through herbs, tea and wellness practices,” Cameo says. “We strive to foster a community of tea drinkers who live a lifestyle of mind, body, spirit balance and well-being.” According to Cameo, tea and good health go hand and hand: “Tea has many health benefits, and we hope to foster a relationship with avid tea drinkers who sip for more than the already relaxing benefits and who understand its diverse healing properties.” The company currently offers about 30 different teas and continually adds more; half of these teas are the owners’ own recipes. Cameo’s favorite tea is their chai and Lyndsey’s favorite is their White Hart tea, a spicy black tea inspired by the White Hart Cafe in Lynchburg.
After winning a $10,500 grant from Virginia Business Launch during Lynchburg Innovation Week in June 2016, Good Karma Tea Co. has moved to a larger space in Riverviews Artspace as of September. “Our first day [was] September 2nd, during the First Friday Art Walk. We [enjoyed] tastings of our newly added teas and celebrated our newly expanded space!” Cameo said. With a Grand Opening slated for October, this expansion allows for a full service urban tea bar, larger retail space and the integration of Good Karma Mind and Body, Cameo and Lyndsey’s wellness business. “Our space before was so small, there was barely room for more than three people at a time, and certainly no space to sit and enjoy our offerings,” says Cameo. “This space allows customers to come in and have a seat with a cup or pot of tea, expands our retail section, gives us the opportunity to have bulk herbs for patrons, and we’ve added a room for wellness services.”
Cameo, who has practiced herbal care and body work for more than 15 years, says that adding these wellness services “just made sense.”
“Our personal interests and passions in alternative healing really steer the direction of the company,” she says. “And our philosophy of taking care of the body, mind and spirit as a whole is our foundation. In addition to offering the teas and tisanes that help with common ailments, strengthen our immune systems and promote cognitive preservation, we decided to pull in body wellness also by offering massage, reflexology, reiki and services that would promote a holistic healing environment.”
Downtown Lynchburg has proven to be an ideal environment for Good Karma Tea. “Lynchburg is an ideal place to start a business,” says Cameo. “The Department of Economic Development has put an enormous amount of effort into bringing small business commerce into this city. Their outreach and resources [for] small business owners is incomparable to anywhere we have been. Riverviews Artspace is a nurturing environment for artisans, and we have found it to be an ideal community for our growth. We are surrounded by other creatives, crafters and entrepreneurs who support unique ideas in business. Riverviews gives us the built-in cultural community of people who already seek out businesses like ours.”
Details on upcoming events are still to come, but Good Karma Tea has several offerings in the works for this fall. “Although not currently scheduled with specific dates, we will have tea tastings, pairings, herbal classes, reiki workshops and care-for-yourself body work classes, to name a few. Our events will be listed on our Facebook page, web site and the Discover Lynchburg Calendar,” Cameo says. In the meantime, she suggests visiting the company’s web site (SipGoodKarma.com) for “recipes on cooking with tea, tea pairing suggestions, herbal remedies and everything tea and wellness.”
Consumed alone or in good company, tea is meant to be savored as an experience, not merely as a beverage. Fittingly, Cameo and Lyndsey are savoring their growth and success as a veritable tea and wellness haven. “We are really enjoying where we are now,” says Cameo. “In five years, we hope to still be thriving and opening new doors for our company’s growth.”
By Emily Hedrick