Friday, May 15, 2020

Tea Travelling forward

Greetings, tea friends!

This week in SoCal we got word that Los Angeles county is still advocating folks stay "safer at home" and thus the return of tea service as we know it may not be likely this summer. What exactly will transpire is anyone's guess, but the current curbside pick-up situation is definitely affecting the tearoom industry, as well as our little communitea. Most of you know that Tea Travellers is a social group, not a "business." Some of you are aware that we run at a deficit, meaning I personally cover all costs that exceed what events bring in. 

In addition to expenses like our P.O. Box, Meetup group, website et al, there are niggling costs that go into the events such as paper and ink for trivia quizzes, prizes ... even the ribbon, tissue, and wrap for party favors as applicable. Sometimes I've elected to charge less for an event than I pay the venue, with an eye toward keeping costs down for guests. I've been happy to do so, and again, this has all been by choice.

Things have drastically changed in the last two months. The business I was to have launched in March (and sunk all my money into) was unable to materialize due to the health crisis. As it stands, I no longer have an income, and thus I can no longer subsidize Tea Travellers. With that in mind, I've come up with a couple of ideas to keep our communitea travelling along. Here we go:

Become a Patron!

Elements Tea Sampler available via Patreon
I'm going to do my darndest to "pivot" and get my 10-years-in-the-making biz going through Patreon to get some funds flowing back into the coffers. For those who are unfamiliar with the platform, it offers folks the opportunity to be like the de Medicis and play patrons of the arts. Pledge levels start at $1 per month and may be cancelled at any time. When you pledge, you get freebies and early access to all sorts of goodies that (henceforth) will be unavailable to the public. Please check out all 8 pledge tiers when you get a chance. I can't put into words how much I would appreciate your joining me on Patreon.


  

READ!

Many of you have heard me refer to the Tea Cozy Mysteries series by J.S. Devivre in less than glowing terms. This is not because of false modesty. It's because the first book especially is not all that good. It was written while I was battling illness and writing was not a pursuit I took seriously at the time. That said, the characters do grow on you if you can stick with it. 

My assessment of my new series, Peyton Drake's Omni Tale by J.S.D. Johnston (family name), is very different. I'm ever so thrilled with how it's shaping up and am regularly in tears of gratitude for getting to be part of it. The first 3 novellas are out now and should be read sequentially: Marked for Adventure, Destiny by Design, and The First Crack. The 4th releases on 21 June.

If you join Patreon at the $3 level you get novellas for free!

Order Theme Kits

I'm doing some major spring cleaning in search of things I can up-purpose to make delightful kits intended to put tea in your cup and a smile on your face. Over the next few months I'll be turning the following rough ideas into something swishy. The funds for supplies will come solely from Patreon memberships (hint hint):
  • The 2020 Tea EtiKit - Far be it from the Tea Travellers to resort to plasticware when enjoying afternoon tea in public. The EtiKit enables you to take tea at a tearoom or park with the graciousness you crave while being public-health-protocol compliant. It comes with a choice of 2 styles of carrying case to house a tearoom-style stainless steel knife-fork-and-spoon set, a petite spoon to stir your tea, a cloth napkin, gold sugar tongs, a packet of loose tea, and room for your own saucer. A leather pouch is included for your teacup. (We'll see what other trifles I can fit inside once the prototypes arrive.)
  • The Pink MarTeaNi kit will be available this summer when we host a park tea event and interactive Old Radio Show reading of a script featuring Pete & Patsy Charleville, characters from the upcoming Social Bluebook Dispatches cozy mystery series, sequels to Penelope Price's Tea Cozy Mysteries. This kit will brim with '50s kitsch, including a MarTeaNi glass, cat eye sunglasses, a lipstick case, a chiffon scarf to wear when motoring in the convertible, a pair of fondue forks (for dining and self-defense), peach tea (for serving iced), a martini glass charm (for those who have one of our charm bracelets) and some other fun sundries, all packed into a choice of 3 sizes of petite decorative suitcases. 
  • Aunt Dee's Adventuress Appurtenances - a Victorian kit for the explorer on the go, by request this kit will come out with the November release of Le Chat Noir, the first novella in the Dorothea Tate's Marvels & Mysteries adventure series, the prequel to the Tea Cozy Mysteries. Tea and the novella to be included as well.
  • The White Glove Consortium's Perfectly Proper in Service kit, with a copy of the turn-of-the-century upstairs-downstairs spoof novella, The White Glove Consortium versus The Garderobe. Kit will be released down the pike (once the book is done) and will include a white pinafore apron, maid's cap or headband, white service gloves, a cordial glass for your end-of-the-day sherry, a copy of the novella, tea, membership in the consortium, miscellaneous treats, and so on.
  • Additional kits to include logo teapot & tea tidy packages from the Tea & Sympathy Investigative Agency, a Tea Passport with teas-of-the-world kit, collectors copies of the Tea Traveller's Constant Companion tearoom guidebooks before an unprecedented number of tearooms are removed 😔, and some other fun things as inspiration and time allow.

I'm open to all suggestions, and very much look forward to seeing you again in person when we're able to do so according to best practices. Much love to you all.

Cheers,
Joy