Quench Me: Daniel Lewis
Former songwriter, actor and recording artist, Daniel Lewis has turned his considerable energy toward fixing what he felt was missing from one of his other passions – the tea industry. It “really lacked [the] ‘WOW'” factor, he believes. Daniel immersed himself in a path of study that taught him the “history, health benefits and varieties of tea.” Now, with his company, T by Daniel, he educates customers, transforms diehard coffee drinkers into tea aficionados and creates a level of interest in the industry that it hasn’t seen … perhaps ever.
What inspired you to launch a business that sells tea?
In my second year of Franchise training at Domino’s Pizza, I began to ponder and wonder, “What if I started my own business! Doing what? I had no clue. Where to start? No idea. One thing was certain, I absolutely love people, I love providing outstanding service, I love to talk and I really need to stop eating pizza. During that pondering period I stumbled into a few new tea companies… Yes TEA!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see T By Daniel as a local household name that one would definitely consider when looking for a delicious cup of tea paired with an unforgettable and adventurous in-store experience. I can see about two established T By Daniel tea bars in the GTA, which are running extremely well while still remembering our regulars by their first name. Cozy, modern tea bar/café, delicious aromas of jasmine green tea and cocoa black tea in the air… To be continued!
What challenges did you overcome in starting or running your business?
Everything about starting or running my own business was a challenge.
How do you decide what tea and combination of teas to sell?
I am a big part of the selection of our teas of course because I kind of own the company… Makes sense. However, the actual selection process is a very simple formula. I taste tons of tea while searching for the flavours that correlate with consumer’s “everyday favourites”
What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in the world of tea?
My advice is to wait for about 5-6 more years. Start your company in the farthest country from Canada. Don’t sell online and definitely stick to tea bags… (Just kidding) My advice is to visit every tea house in town, talk to current tea business owners, tea masters and tea blenders. Do your own research, attend lots of tea cupping sessions and drink a lot of tea. My golden nugget is to be yourself and brand you! Never let an industry change who you are, what you stand for or what you enjoy… In other words don’t let the singers change your song.