Inauguration of Kumagama Clay Studio and Happy Earth Tea...studio?
There is a big story to break right now, and I am running late already. The story is - drum roll please - the inauguration of Happy Earth Tea’s first retail space. It’s a unique space. Nothing like you’d expect. No shelves full of barcoded merchandise. No checkout counters. No hours. No days.
We are in an artist’s gallery and studio. For those of you who read about our first experience of First Friday Rochester, you’d recall we had teamed up with Cody Kroll, a local potter who specialized in Japanese teaware. It was at his invitation we first made our public appearance, stepping out of the online world.
We are now in his spanking new studio; four times larger than his previous place and enough for Happy Earth Tea to set up its own corner. Cody offered the place up to us “instructed by the universe” for an amazing act of generosity.
The many people that came through that night - at least a couple of hundred - was beyond our expectations. People turned up well before the opening time, and stayed late. They enjoyed the pottery and sipping samples of tea. And asked aplenty and they shopped a lot too! We take it that Rochester has endorsed our unique collaboration. We are very thankful to every person who came through that night!
(We were actually so busy that we could barely take some good pictures. Mary, my wife, who was in charge of the camera hardly got a break from handing out the tea samples to the arriving guests.)
At one level the collaboration between Cody and I, although unique, is also very obvious. He makes the vessels and I provide the article to fill up them up with. However, for us what is most important is the original inspiration behind this venture - an inspiration founded on generosity. This is the bedrock of our business, our brand if you will.
The other person we would like to thank is Jen Rampe who designed our new logo, labels, business cards and helped me with the graphics on our revamped website. She is so creative. It is amazing how she makes it all look so effortless. We are blessed to have her talent and her generous support as a friend.
Both Cody and I are also thankful to Stacy Gittleman who did a feature on us in the Democrat and Chronicle. She captured the spirit of our collaboration and the title said it all - Perfect Blend. We were thrilled to see the article in the Sunday supplement! The majority of the visitors to the inauguration came because of the article, and we have received many queries from locals since the article was published.
At this point the studio is open between 4-7pm on most days. However, we suggest you call us before coming. We are open by appointment on any day.
This brings me to the question with which this blog started right in its title. What do I call this space for Happy Earth Tea at the Kumagama Clay Studio? Its not really a place where you can come order for a cup of tea. You can surely sample tea, chat about tea and buy tea. Or maybe even just sample and chat. You don’t really have to buy. We are here to learn and share the knowledge of this brew that is one of the oldest that mankind has known. One that has nourished both body and mind across civilizations.
For now I would like to call it the tea studio, Happy Earth Tea Studio. What do you think?
Our location: Suite #228, First Floor, The Hungerford, 1115 Main St, Rochester, NY