Menopause has met its match with Denise Pines, and she is even getting men talking about it. She created Tea Botanics and the Hot Flash Tea Blend as she searched for natural remedies to her own peri-menopausal symptoms – namely, severe hot flashes, insomnia, and fatigue. Denise reached back to her childhood daily tea ritual in England and collaborated with Dr. Pei Vuong, a detoxification specialist, to get this life-changing product into women’s tea cups. What’s more, she has created more life stage products, along with an active menopause community called WisePause Wellness where health experts share midlife wellness wisdom.
Today, with the wisdom of several years as the CEO of Tea Botanics, she shares with TheWMarketplace her advice on starting a small business.
Why did you start your business?
Tea Botanics was birthed from my own experience with severe hot flashes and my desire to treat it naturally.
I’m a runner, do triathlons, eat pretty well, and my mom never experienced hot flashes, so it wasn’t even on my radar that this could happen to me. But when it did, I realized I was like so many women who were blindsided by menopause and needed information that was often unavailable even from their own doctor, including treatment options. As a natural remedy seeker, I first went to my functional medicine doctor who specializes in healing teas and we co-created Hot Flash Tea.
What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you started your business?
The language of money beyond profit and loss like gross profit vs. operating profit. You need to get a really good accountant early on, and one who knows the business model of your industry will be invaluable.
What has been the most challenging thing about getting your business up and running?
Marketing consistently across platforms as technology changes and new tech emerges.
Describe something rewarding that comes from owning your own business?
Fostering your own ideas without someone saying, "That's not what we do," or "We don't have the budget." If you come up with the idea, you can figure out how to get it done and it lets you be as creative as you can be. This is true self-esteem building 4.0.
What has been pivotal to your success?
The biggest challenge was learning about tea and the unique functionality of GABA tea, the core ingredient in our product. Exploring this healing herb in a country where I did not speak the language or look like anyone else, and where the business culture is radically different from the U.S. way of fast deal making, was quite an adventure. Fortunately, my partner is Taiwanese, and he taught me how to align as a partner with our suppliers.
Our next challenge was getting women to talk about menopause. For generations, women have suffered in silence. No one had created safe spaces where women could exchange experiences with those on similar journeys or connect with practitioners who are midlife experts. That’s why we created this life-affirming resource through a series of in-person and online experiential events called WisePause Wellness.
How long have you been in business and how has it changed since you started it?
We've been in business a few years now and what's changed is we now know our product development process and what it takes to introduce a new tea blend. When you're starting, you're sourcing everything and trying to find the right partners. We now have the right partners to scale, and that's so important as we go from DTC [direct to consumer] to retail.
What items, photos or mementos do you have on your desk?
Post-its are my world, and they are everywhere, but the ones I see/read daily are stuck to my computer-- "Think beyond the circumstances," "Show me everything I need to know in everyone I come into contact with," "Manifestation is your superpower," and because I'm Catholic, Hebrews 11.1 keeps me sane. The others are my top three rocks I must get done this week, no matter what.
What advice do you have for women who are getting started in business?
You are not alone, join a start-up group, share best practices take small breaks every day, it could be a walk for 10 minutes, watching a funny Tik Tok video or doing some breath work, but give to yourself daily so you don't get burned out.
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Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a nationwide e-commerce marketplace for women-owned businesses to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 4000+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more. The Her Story Q&A is one benefit TheWMarketplace provides to sellers.