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ENTERPRISING JOURNEYS

How a cuppa launched a new career

A person with shoulder-length light brown hair is holding a white mug that says "Inspirational Tea Co." They are smiling and wearing a yellow blazer over a white top. The background is solid dark blue, radiating confidence—a perfect snapshot of women in business.

Tanya Boots

Inspirational Tea Co & Find the Growth

The Business

Inspirational Tea Co (2017);

Find the Growth (2020)

The Founders

Tanya Boots

The Concept

Online retailer selling an inspired range of teabags and tea products that make tea lovers feel good.

The Hard Part

“It’s a slog and whenever I’m feeling like, ‘oh my gosh, wouldn’t it be nice just to go into a paid job and relax for a bit’, there is something in me that goes, ‘no, I couldn’t’. It’s some sort of inbuilt desire to build something of my own and see it succeed.”

The Best Part

“My products are often sent to someone who is going through a hard time, or celebrating. So when I get a comment from a customer telling me how much of a difference my little product made to that person’s day, that’s when I go, yeah, this is cool, I love this.”

The lightbulb moment

“I just thought, that’s such a great idea,” the former marketing executive says.

It started with a cup of tea.
Tanya Boots had just received a Mother’s Day gift made at school by one of her children.
It was a tea bag and on the tag had been stapled a simple message of love.

From a family of tea-drinkers, Boots can remember the kettle being popped on each time she visited her grandmother.

“It’s about the ritual, it’s about taking a moment, so I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have some beautiful words to reflect on,” she says.

And so began the Inspirational Tea Co, although it was called Monji Tea in its first ideation, of which there have been many.

But that’s how you learn and that’s how you grow, says Boots, who went from gluing on her own inspirational tea bag quotes for family and friends, to the hugely-popular ‘Hug in a Mug’ gift sets that bridged loved ones during Covid-19 lockdowns and really saw her business soar.
What began as a “side hustle” became a full-time gig in 2020 when her family moved from Sydney to the Gold Coast and things have only grown since then.

A woman with short blonde hair sips from a teacup while standing in a kitchen. She is wearing a polka dot apron over a pink shirt, perhaps contemplating some business ideas for women. The kitchen has wooden cabinets and a tiled backsplash, with a framed quote and some kitchen utensils visible in the background.

The Learnings

Boots thinks failure is a great teacher and that “if you can’t look back at what you’ve done before and laugh at it, then you’re probably not moving quick enough”.
Her advice to others starting up is to try, try and try again, but not to over invest before you’ve tested the market.

Boots’s brand is built around encouraging tea-drinkers to take a break, but it was important to her that the product go beyond being a novelty and actually be a really good cuppa. That’s why winning two Golden Leaf Awards for her English Breakfast and Moroccan Mint flavours has meant so much to her.

“It was a real thrill to win those awards in the very early stages of the business. It vindicated my decisions on putting premium tea in.”

She’s since won Best Hamper for her Hug in a Mug gift box in the she.com awards and was awarded silver in the Roar Awards Best Lifestyle Business, both in 2022, among other gongs. But she wishes she’d learned to seek help sooner.

“I thought I could do it all myself, and you can learn a lot to a degree, but there are shortcuts with going with people who’ve trod the path ahead of you. I’ve just had my biggest Black Friday sale month ever and that’s because I pretty much followed, to the tee, a program from my marketing coach.”

A person with pink-painted nails, likely an entrepreneur, is seen holding a small blue package while threading it with a white and blue tag using a needle. Several similar blue packages and white cards are on the table, which has a white cloth covering.

The Mindset

When asked about barriers for women, Boots says she thinks there are a lot put up by women themselves. Entrepreneurial women often have commitments to families, and can feel guilty for investing too much time and energy into their business rather than their families.

Boots says she’s worked hard at expanding her mindset, which encourages her to tear down those internal barriers and encourages her to think bigger.

“I try to expose myself to both male and female entrepreneurs. I do listen to a heap of podcasts, read books and stuff, but to think big I think you have to really ask yourself a lot of questions around, well, what if? And I think I’ve had to really train myself to do that.”

The Next Thing

While growing her tea business, Boots has remained working as a marketing consultant, using the skills from her former life as a corporate executive. That has taken her to launch her newest product, grown from a realisation that her knowledge has value.

“I went with a friend to this random conference and it was full of people in the online, digital course space, people who were basically monetising their expertise,” she says.
“There were art teachers, there were people who knew great things about how to train pets, all sorts of things. It opened my eyes to this as a concept and I thought to myself, well I’ve got nearly 20 years of expertise, and consulting is great, but you can’t scale it, you can’t clone yourself.”

Deciding to create an online course, she had several goes at what the topic should be before the answer presented itself. Through her networks, she noticed many people wanted to know how to get their product ranged at a major retailer. “I thought to myself, gosh, I have a lot of knowledge in that space because I used to work really closely with major retailers across pharmacy, food and beverage and petrol convenience, and so that’s the topic I’ve landed on.”

Boots has now written a course, has produced podcasts on the topic and will provide one-on-one coaching sessions to help people create their product pitches to retailers.
“You know, when those opportunities come, you’ve just gotta grab them.”

A smiling entrepreneur with shoulder-length blonde hair is sitting on a stool against a dark blue background. She is wearing a bright pink blouse with puffed sleeves and high-waisted blue jeans. Her hands are gesturing gently in front of her, embodying the spirit of women in business.
A hand holds a box of English Breakfast Tea from Inspirational Tea Co., a brand proud to support women in business. The box features whimsical illustrations. In the background, there's a white mug with a floral design. The scene is well-lit and has a serene, morning vibe.

‘If i can do it, anyone can’: words of wisdom

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Understand the why: “Be really clear on what problem it is you or your product solves.”

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It’s ok to fail: “Fail quickly and try to fail without spending too much money.”

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Think big: “I’ve had to really train myself to do that better, and I think maybe that’s because I started as a side hustle. I think if I had my time again, I would really think big right from the beginning.”

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Plans change: “My path has not been linear and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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Seek help: “It’s kind of a concept I embraced in the corporate world which was, let’s look at best practice and then find our way that works from that. And that’s what I think coaching does, it gives you best practice.”

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Do good: “I would go into women’s community shelters and victims of domestic violence and homeless women would sit around the table and I would employ them to fold the tags, so it was quite a beautiful yarning circle vibe. It was a beautiful way to connect and just a really therapeutic thing to do.”

“You know, when those opportunities come, you’ve just gotta grab them.”

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