Know a business will cost you more than you think and plan for. There are always more costs than you account for.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexa Ricci.
Alexa launched Ricci Tea, a premium loose leaf tea company after being laid off from the rippling effects of Covid due to the restriction of travel. Alexa created a new business with a twist on an old concept, created from a former hospitality sales professional turned entrepreneur of a woman owned business. From a world of constant movement trying to balance a work-home life suddenly coming to a screeching halt, to a dramatic consciousness for individual wellness.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I come from a beautiful river front village 20 miles away from NYC. I love where I live because it is the right mix of being surrounded by nature and NYC is just a stone thrown away, knowing that the most eccentric, diverse and cultural capital of the world. I embrace the motto “never stop exploring”, I am a traveler, a “never give up” person, and I strongly believe that traveling is a great way to learn, discovering allows you to bring different cultures and experiences into your own life.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.”
This quote resonates with me, because through life you experience defeats that are challenging to overcome. This quote has been relevant in my life because I have had a few misfortunate situations alter my life entirely, from a financial stand point, to self worth and the fear of the unknown, all which have triggered a level of uncomfortable emotions and pain that was unforeseen. This quote reminds myself that you are successful, even more so, when you have to overcome multiple obstructions to get to a new beginning.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I am going to be honest, there isn’t a book, podcast or film that made a significant impact in my life so far. What is making an impact in my life is for sure the desire to create, grow and expand my own business.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Founded in 2020, Alexa decided she was going to start a small business when she lost her job due to COVID-19. She was a Corporate Business Travel Sales Manager for a renowned hospitality company, and when travel was restricted, she lost her position. From the world wide health crisis, the deadly virus and not being able to find work in her industry, led Alexa to have high levels of stress and anxiety. She could feel that her health was compromised, and she wanted to make a difference for herself and for others, leading her to drink more tea during the pandemic. She always was a tea fan, but she grew deeper into the health and wellness benefits that tea could provide. This led her to find and source the highest quality tea ingredients from many different tea harvests from around the world. She found relaxation and calming qualities when drinking tea with certain herbs. From this she wanted to share her self care and help others by starting her own loose leaf tea business to improve psychological and physical well being. And also the full flavor that loose leaf tea has to offer!
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
I decided to start my own business, due to the lack of work in my industry. All of the connections I had in my industry were also out of work and therefore my professional resources were impractical. Having this happen, I knew I had to start over some how, and with this challenge, led to a severe level of stress and anxiety. I had a lot of ideas, and was trying to see which one made the most sense. During this time I was drinking loose leaf tea for it’s calming qualities and that’s when I decided I should start my own loose leaf tea business, in order to enhance the lives of others as well especially during a time of turmoil, with the intention to enhance people’s everyday lives through the power of tea.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
I was always a tea fan, but I grew deeper into it, as I learned more about the health and wellness of the benefits that tea could provide. This led me to find and source the highest quality tea ingredients from many different tea harvests from around the world. I found relaxation and calming qualities when drinking tea with certain herbs. From this I wanted to share my self care and the desire to help others by starting my own loose leaf tea business to improve psychological and physical well being for others. It also caters to people who appreciate the full flavor that loose leaf tea has to offer!
How are things going with this new initiative?
Things are going well! Being an entrepreneur is a great feeling of achievement, knowing what you are capable of bringing an idea to something tangible and creating a business from scratch, has a lot to offer from feelings of excitement to the wealth of learning that you experience step by step. You think big picture all of the time! With that being said, at times, it can be overwhelming especially if you are wearing too many hats and are starting off yourself, but overall, my appreciation of small business owners and entrepreneurs have grown to a whole new level.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband is my number 1 supporter. He has supported me from the beginning when I was in complete despair. People who were not effected by Covid, did not know the levels of stagnation that some of us went through when our lives were completely capsized from the tragedy that was happening world wide.
He supported that I needed an upturn to happen, and if that meant that was going to be myself to make that upturn, he was standing next to my side throughout the entire process. He has been patient with me during my stages of disruption and agitation. Not only does he have the ability and compassion to calm me down, but has also significantly contributed to being my partner with new ideas and processes needed to make the brand that I envisioned.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
There are a lot of interesting stories that happened since I started in this new direction. To sum it up, you realize that you have to sweat for everything, and nothing is easy. Not that things should be easy, but you come to learn and experience first hand that the people who you expect to be supportive are not as supportive as you would have thought. Especially during a pandemic, you would think people would be more receptive in a time of despair. There are a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into building a business from scratch.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
5 things I wish someone told me before
1st would be to be patient. It takes time for an idea to come to life. It takes time for that idea to become a business. It takes time for the business to become an entity and flourish and grow.
2nd would to be, be wiling to wear many hats, as a sole proprietor, there are a lot of different jobs you will have to manage.
3rd would be to know a business will cost you more than you think and plan for. There are always more costs than you account for.
4th would be to keep going. There are times when you feel like folding because of the amount of tasks you have on your plate, which could be overwhelming. Instead you have to remind yourself of how much you have done, how far you have come, and envision where you still want to go, and to keep the faith that will happen, if you keep your focus and ambition strong.
And 5th would simply be to not give up. Building a business is hard. It is not a walk in the park. For most, there will be a struggle getting everything started and organized, as ideas continuously to flow, expanding on new ideas, it may seem never ending but can be very rewarding if you keep pushing yourself. That is the most joyous part of creating your own business. The results are endless.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
As mentioned earlier, feelings of high levels of stress and anxiety resulted from losing my job from the health crisis, knowing that people were medically suffering from the world wide health crisis from the deadly virus, and not being able to find work in my industry had a huge impact on feelings of stress and anxiety. I had never encountered such levels of anxiety or stress before. Because of this, I knew I had to do my own thing, as I knew my own mental and physical health was being compromised, and during this time drinking loose leaf tea was giving me relief and improvement throughout periods of the lengthy daunting days of 2020.
I then had the notion that I should share this natural relief system and self awareness for self care, to help others enhance their well being with the beauty and power that loose leaf tea has to offer. By transforming this idea to a business plan on paper, to implementing the different stages of starting a business, from logo design, to theme color, to research and sourcing of teas, curating categories of teas, to creating and building a website, gave me much excitement and something to look forward to daily while going through one of the toughest times, we all experienced. This gave me hope and a strong belief that I could make a difference, not only in my own life, but in others as well.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Steep into Tranquility is the tag line that I came up with for Ricci Tea. I came up with this because I wanted people to associate drinking tea, as having a peaceful break from whatever they are doing or facing anything that may be challenging. If I could start a movement, it would be an Equanimity movement, which is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind. We need transformation and perseverance to overcome suffrage. We all need to find a way to take a break from whatever we are facing, and simply have the opportunity to “steep into tranquility”.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I am not a VIP follower, but I would love to have a chat with all the women that are entrepreneurs like I am, pick their brains and learn from each other. Let’s organize a big brunch! And I will bring the tea!
How can our readers follow you online?
You can also find our tutorial “how to videos” on our Youtube channel.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!