Ivy’s Tea Company's Shanae Jones Gives Us “The Tea” on Herbalism, Entrepreneurship, and Trap Music

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Ivy’s Tea Company’s Shanae Jones Gives Us “The Tea” on Herbalism, Entrepreneurship, and Trap Music

By Christine Pembroke

After leaving the non-profit world, to pursue her dreams as an entrepreneur and legacy builder, Shanae Jones has become the successful owner of hip-hop holistic health brand, Ivy’s Tea Company. All of her products carry names fondly influenced by and for the culture with products such as “OG Chai,” “Red Bone” and “Pusha-Tea” just to name a few.

This month, we connected with Shanae to learn more about her journey to entrepreneur, and why tea is so important.

What inspired you to be an entrepreneur and to bridge the gap between tea and hip-hop?

Honestly – I just love them both. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur because I wanted to be in control of my schedule and my ideas. Hip-hop has had an influence on my life since I was a baby, and tea has done the same for just that long. I came to understand the benefits of tea and wanted to find a way to bring those benefits to our community.

What are some of the health benefits from tea that you've witnessed?

Personally, I’ve used Jamaican Dogwood and Chamomile which has significantly reduced the amount of times I get migraines. Valerian root has been proven to help overcome trauma and insomnia. I’ve also seen teas reduce the size of fibroids. I will say, however, that there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to herbal remedies. In addition to my hand-crafted products, I also offer consultations to help people find out which herbs are best for them. 

What's the message behind the "drink like an adult" hashtag?

Drinking tea like an adult simply means acquiring the knowledge to make smarter decisions about what you put in your body, and how you spend your coins. When you use teabags, you’re purchasing grinded-down leaves that are sitting in texturized plastic made to look like cotton. Does that even sound right? Nope! I want our community to be more conscious about the fact that it’s not about what’s cheapest or most convenient. Drink like an adult by choosing wisely.

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Product pictured above is “Sister- Sister”. Ingredients include German Chamomile Flowers, Spearmint, Rose Petals, Lavender and Cinnamon.

So, I’ve gotta ask…who are your favorite rap artists?

My favorite rapper of all time is Nas. I’ve listened to him since I was a little girl. However, I love Gucci Mane and a close second would be Migos.

What would you want our TSB readers to know about entrepreneurship?

I’d want them to know that it’s not easy…at all. When I was starting, some of my mentors told me I’d have hard days, but I didn’t realize just how hard they would be. There are days you don’t make any money, or worse, – you lose money. As a small business but particularly as a new business, people try and take advantage of the fact that you’re still learning. The biggest surprise about entrepreneurship was how lonely it could be.  It requires extreme focus and tunnel vision so there are many times that you feel like you’re losing your social life. When I was first starting the company, I went six months without seeing my mom – and she’s my absolute best friend! I sacrificed that time because I so strongly believed in what I was doing and knew it wouldn’t be forever.

Did you ever question the validity of your idea? How did you overcome it?

Of course! In the beginning, I certainly didn’t believe in myself as much as I should. For the longest time, I put a lot of my self-confidence in academic excellence and my achievements at work. When I left my job to be an entrepreneur, much of that became irrelevant. As I began to practice a more wholistic lifestyle, I came to realize that those things were not the only testament to my value as a woman and I was the one who had to see the value in me. My family wanted me to become a lawyer, so that pressure at times made me question if I was on the right path. I overcame my doubt when I won a grant from the non-profit Buy from a Black Woman (BFABW). I applied only expecting $250 and was granted $500! BFABW believed in me and that further promoted my belief in myself.

What would you like our readers to know about Ivy Tea? What’s next?

Our products are hand-blended, and the recipes are my own. Our herbs are obtained from herb farms and even farmers markets. In the future, I plan to open my own tea shop, so stay tuned!

In addition to running Ivy Tea Co, Shanae is working on a book, and has also launched “Philanthropy Fridays” – an initiative that gives a portion of Ivy’s Tea sales to charities. To learn more about Shanae and begin “drinking tea like an adult,” visit www.ivystea.com, or follow @ivysteaco on Instagram.