My daughter Alea’s favorite outfit, by far, is a kimono-inspired dress, which she says reminds her of my travels. Although she hasn’t fit in it for years, she insists on keeping it in her room. The beautiful dress was created by Tea Collection, a company started by two mothers with a shared love for travel. Their designs capture the spirit of their travels and are inspired by the cultures they encounter along the way. 

In addition to their beautiful clothing, I love the sense of adventure that Tea Collection embodies and admire Emily Meyer and Leigh Rawdon for the amazing company they have created. I was delighted to have the chance to speak with Emily about the brand, and we are excited to partner with them for a giveaway: Enter at the bottom of this blog post for the chance to win one of three prizes: $100 each to shop at Tea Collection and Tatcha!

Q: Tea Collection partners with Global Fund for Children to transform the lives of children. How did you decide to become a brand that gives back, and what importance does that have to you as a mother?

A: As a brand, the mission of ‘making the foreign familiar’ is an integral part of Tea Collection.  ‘Giving back’ starts with encouraging the conversation of global awareness and appreciation in children and families.  We want to assure an appreciation for all places on the planet. From the beginning, in 2002, my business partner Leigh Rawdon and I began searching for the right philanthropic partner.  Leigh discovered The Global Fund for Children. We were so inspired by their efforts that she reached out to Maya Ajmera directly, GFC’s co-founder and then CEO.  After making that connection, we knew this would be a great fit.  In the spring of 2006 we sold exclusively-designed styles that directly benefit the organization.  Over the years we have created a variety of events, activities and products that contribute to their cause.  This year we started “Give Back Thursdays” – an event on the third Thursday of each month when we match all of our customer GFC donations at checkout on TeaCollection.com. As working mothers, it’s important that our children see and know that we are dedicated to creating something bigger than ourselves.  Not only through beautiful products that customers love, but also through building a healthy, strong business organization that is thriving in today’s competitive marketplace.

Q: Where do you find your inspiration?

A: I find that connecting with people of the world is incredibly powerful to understanding the way the world works.  I am endlessly inspired by cultural awareness and making the foreign familiar – educating “little citizens” of the world through our photos, cultural experiences and ethnic art from our travels.  Whether it is the art of a tribal textile or the symbolism of native wildlife, I’m constantly moved by the beauty of global cultures and sharing the story of discovery into our clothes. My family is a constant source of inspiration.  Growing up, my mother taught me that travel is the best education. My husband’s rich ethnic heritage is a way I see the global conversation at play.  And, my children for the infinite possibilities that are before them.

Q: To perform a ritual is to pause time for a moment to find peace. What rituals do you perform every day?

A: Every morning I take a moment to meditate before the day starts. Being centered and grounded is empowering and the practice makes it easier to access that power every other moment I'm not meditating. Reading to my kids each night before bed is meant to be a ritual, but getting them to calm down and focus on the story can be distracting to the spiritual experience.  

Q: What does it mean for a child to be a “little citizen of the world?" Why do you feel that’s important?

A: It’s important to encourage children to think about and know the world outside of our immediate community where we live and experience the day-to-day.There are tremendous advantages to exposing the youngest ages to different tastes and experiences, or even speaking a second language in the home.  And it’s easy to read stories from or about different cultures. Across the globe, we are all just humans wanting to find our path and connection in this great big world.

Q: How do you incorporate global inspiration with your own designs?

A: I incorporate global inspiration in my home by honoring the story and context of the objects we live with.  Many of my favorite pieces come from a journey. At Tea, each collection is connected to a global destination, where we have made an ‘inspiration trip’ journey.  Everything we design is inspired by the creativity in this world.  Every product has a story behind this connection.  We hope to share the story, celebrate its importance, and increase love and awareness for all cultures.

Q: What is your favorite kind of tea?

A: Earl Grey has been a long time favorite.  I also love Pu-erh from China.  

Q: There is a Japanese word, kodawari, that refers to the pursuit of perfection in the details. How do you find kodawari in your work?

A: Beautiful word.  I’m elated to learn about its meaning.  And that experience is kodawari to me.   The perfection of the learning moment, the inspired moment and the moment of connection is something I obsess about in everything we produce.

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Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

published December 2014

Ingredients, Interviews
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Photo 1: Tea Collection founder Emily Meyer at the company's San Francisco headquarters. Photo by Carol Vaziri.

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