When Jessica Vidican-Neisius moved to Seattle in 1995, she was hard-pressed to find a cup of her favorite hot beverage: chai. But she had gotten a job at a Tibetan apothecary in the Pike Place Market, and with so many herbs at her disposal, she began experimenting with herbs and spices. Soon, she began brewing, adding eager customers. She opened a chai house, and now 26 years later, is still brewing hand-crafted chai. Morning Glory Chai is available in both a spice kit to brew at home or in several flavors already brewed for you. We caught up with Jessica recently and asked about what she’s learned over the decades and what her hopes are for the future.
What motivated or inspired you to start your own business?
I was in search of a delicious tea that I could enjoy every day that would power me up and provide tonic herbs to support my health. I had enjoyed a similar tea while in college, but it didn't taste all that great, so I made my own to share. I was 25 and on a mission to bring chai to Seattle, because there wasn't any there yet, and the town needed a spicy brew to power the amazing scene of early 21st century Seattle.
What motivates you or gives you joy in life or in business? Is there a person who has inspired you?
Meeting strangers who love my tea and are so excited to meet the maker. I love the stories I've heard about how they found their chai from our fans, it's such a lovely variety of adventures in tea.
What is one piece of advice you wish you had heard, and listened to?
The relationship between the financial reports, and how to calculate margin and markup, and breakeven numbers. I didn't learn any of that for the first decade.
What worry or concern - or excitement - wakes you up in the middle of the night?
Preparing for public events. I enjoy traveling and meeting new people and bringing chai wherever I go, but I get anxious. I stay up going over every little detail in my head and unknown scenarios that may or may not pop up.
What are your hopes for the future?
I really hope to be able to bring my chai down to LA, so I can take my family down there to enjoy the warm nights and show my son where I grew up, while visiting new customers and reconnecting with that part of my origin.
What is the one word that describes you the best, and why?
Optimistic- I always see the possibilities, and the work arounds, and the ways to create something magic with whatever is at hand, and the good in people when we come together in this life.