If you were going to start a tea house...
I also dream of having my own tea-house, but it’s always in a different context. Often when I’m hiking in a quiet, forlorn spot, I’ll say to my beloved, "Oh, wouldn’t it be glorious to have a little tea house here? It would be someplace in the middle of nowhere that sees a few customers a year (if they’re lucky enough to stumble upon it). I dream of just a tiny place of calm and beauty on top of a mountain somewhere with a small room for yoga and meditation and a place for truly good tea and sweets.
At these reveries my husband never fails to point out that a person who has to travel around every weekend and gets antsy spending an entire week at home is not the right person to operate a mystical tea house on top of a mountain. Of course, in my reveries I’m far wiser, more patient, and interesting than I am in real life. (And I have an independent income stream, obviously.)
My mother and I have always dreamed about having a tea shop attached to a used book store. She would run the book store and I would run the tea shop. there would be a discount on a book with every pot of tea and vic versa. the tea shop would be cozy with quit classical/ oriental music playing and low lite (exept in reading chairs which would have personal lamps) I would serve only flowering teas in glass pots with one or two mugs and a tray of 2-4 tea cookies. I would also have open mike readings two days a week and live relaxing music on fridays.
My advice on a tea shop is focus on one thing (selling tea) and do it better than anyone else. Education is essential. Know your teas. Sell tea related products (i.e. infusers, pots, candies, etc) that complement your tea. Retail is where the money is, everyone has romantic dreams about the relaxing tea house with a full menu. This is a restaurant, not a tea house.
Serving teas that you sell is important for people to taste your product. “try it before you buy it” style. Folks coming back to refill their $12 tin of tea will yield higher profits than a $2 cup of tea.
We built our tea house on this service/retail model and it works very well. Our revenue is about 25% tea service and 75% retail. We also have a bakery case that I have outsourced to a baker to complement our teas (we even have chai tea biscuits!).
Hope this info helps out folks looking at living their dream. I’m living mine and I LOVE IT.