Moving Forward

Building out: April 2012

Building out: April 2012

Opening a retail tea store has been a dream of my husband’s and mine since the late 1990s. A New Leaf began as an assignment to prepare a marketing business plan for an MBA class I took at Hofstra University (I got an A). We waited quite some time until [what we thought was] the best time and then jumped in feet first. Living locally, we honestly believed that Seventh Street was the location in which we wanted to open our first store. Once a site opened up, I got up my nerve to leave a 24-year career to start my own retail business. At the age of 42, I showed my three beautiful daughters not to be afraid, to follow their dreams, and to take a chance. You only get to do this once – live life.

Clearly as a result of our customers’ loyalty, and the great growth of our online presence, A New Leaf has recognized double-digit growth nearly every month of its operation. However, after nearly three years on Seventh Street, A New Leaf has plans to relocate to new retail space this fall.

Reading The New York Times

Reading The New York Times

The decision to relocate is not related to lack of growth. As a result of creative marketing efforts, loyal customers, and fantastic publicity, A New Leaf has grown to happily serve the niche tea market in Nassau County. A New Leaf has a heavy social media presence (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, WordPress, LinkedIn) as well as an ecommerce Web site. Additionally, in just over two years’ time, A New Leaf has been written about in The New York Times, Newsday (twice), Long Island Woman, Long Island Pulse, the Malverne-West Hempstead Herald, and was used as a location to film the season premiere of “Long Island Medium.” Impressive for a “three-years-young” small business.

Life IS Good!

Life IS Good!

Fighting the battle of a fast-moving society also turned out to be quite the challenge. Tea has a lot to do with being mindful. “Tea time” is a time for relaxation and peace. For centuries, the tea ceremony has been one of reflection, meditation and simply “being.” In today’s society, no one stops. Very few people relax for extended periods of time to just “be.” Trying to encourage people to slow down and relax is a challenge not easily fought by one person/business in a community where most people are running to work or running to do errands, or running to schools to pick up children. If I could fight the battle alone, I would.

I am grateful to those customers that believe in me, the store, the tea, and the business model. For those customers that thought A New Leaf wouldn’t make it (and especially to those who told me I wouldn’t make it, for one reason or another), I challenge you to patronize a small business today and find one nice thing to say to the owner. Perhaps you can thank them for boosting the economy. Thank them for employing people (A New Leaf employed six local college students). Thank them for trusting in your community to believe that it was strong enough to allow them to follow their dream. Tell them how beautiful their store is. Tell them how helpful their staff is. Find something nice to say to brighten their day. Rather than express an opinion on what you would do if you were in their shoes (especially if you’ve never been in their shoes), perhaps simply take a moment to thank them for their effort in the small-business sector, and give them words of encouragement for believing in your local economy. Trust me; they will appreciate it. Those truly are the moments that can help someone get by.

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Store design

A New Leaf has received so many great compliments over the course of the three years we’ve worked on designing, building, and operating the store. From the layout of our space, to the courtesy and knowledge of our six wonderful staff, right down to the calming atmosphere – compliments came frequently, and nothing pleases a business owner more. I lost count on how many times I was asked if A New Leaf was a franchise – we spared no expense on making this, our first location, the most appealing and relaxing spot we could think of.

A New Leaf also received its share of advice from customers. From, “You should serve food,” to “You’ll never make it because you don’t sell pancakes,” we’ve heard it all. It is my firm belief that Seventh Street is predominantly food-oriented. This is very challenging for a retail business. Through no fault of its own, this local community craves more eateries. In order to preserve the original plan for A New Leaf and to hold true to my business model, A New Leaf did not enter into the restaurant or food business. There are plenty of other people who could do that a lot better than me, and who would love the opportunity to do so.

Tea with Seniors

Tea with Seniors

A New Leaf is proud to have provided Garden City High School with tea for three “Tea With Seniors,” events since 2013. We’ve donated to wonderful charities, non-profits, and causes when we were able. We’ve helped people sleep better, cleanse their bodies, and start their mornings with tea. We’ve provided tea-tasting classes, had guest speakers and converted “coffee-only” drinkers. We’ve helped provide relief from colds, allergies, insomnia, and the occasional not-so-common illness. I’ve spoken at events and lectures, all in the interest of tea.

10628438_791923067497838_372141737129996260_nHow wonderful it is! I beat the odds; I am very proud of the 33 months that I worked tirelessly both in the store and at home to share my love of tea with all of you. What I am most proud of, however, is that I was able to do something that very few people could say that they did. I followed my dream. I took a chance. How many people will look back at their lives and say, “I’m so happy I did that?” Not many. Most will say, “I wish I did that;” but not me. I have no regrets. What a life lesson I learned and what an example I set for my three daughters: take a chance; what do you have to lose? Money? You can always make more money. But you can’t get back time or an opportunity. What do you have to lose? Whatever happens, you’ll have a great story to tell.

I look forward to my next location, and details will be disclosed soon.

As of August 1, our inventory will be available online from ANewLeafTeaCo.com, and we will continue to restock our most popular teas.

Any questions and/or comments to this open letter can be directed to me at info@anewleafteaco.com.

Good luck to all of you! A New Leaf looks forward to serving you online at www.ANewLeafTeaCo.com.

Kimberly Orlic

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Mindfulness and Tea: Remember to Take Time for You!

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As we quickly approach the holiday season, it seems that everyone starts to move at an even more frantic pace. The first day of Chanukah starts at sunset on Wednesday November 27; the night before Thanksgiving, November 28, 2013. It’s never happened before, and it will never happen again. Thanksgiving is falling at the latest possible day it can, only leaving only four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Rush, rush rush.

However, we have to remember to take time for ourselves. Not just now, but every day of the year.

Mindfulness can be defined as “being completely in touch with the present moment and being open to experiences as they come.” Mindfulness has been around for quite some time, but has become more popular, in large part due to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Recently, Dr. Kabat-Zinn spoke at Harvard Graduate school of Education, indicating that mindfulness is becoming an increasingly important tool in education, from top-level leaders to elementary schoolchildren. We see many business who incorporate mindfulness awareness into their wellness programs in the workplace.

Two great primers on mindfulness can be found here and here.

I’ve been through a couple of mindfulness training exercises over the past year, and it certainly does take practice. However, it’s not difficult to see that if one were to incorporate some kind of mindfulness activity into their everyday life, stress reduction could occur.

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Tea is a great way to introduce mindfulness into your daily routine. Green teas are shown to have high levels of L-theanine, which binds to GABA receptors and induces changes in brain waves indicative of relaxation. Our Serenity herbal blend contains camomile, lemon balm, lemon verbena, linden flower, passion flower and oat straw, all natural stress and anxiety reducers.

I challenge you to give these mindfulness activities a try:

  1. Make and sip tea mindfully. 
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    The enjoyment of tea goes back thousands of years. When you drink tea as a mindfulness ritual, think about the connection to others who have had ceremonial tea over the globe. Create your very own tea ceremony. Boil your water mindfully. Focus on the kettle warming the water as you measure out your loose tea. Listen to the noise the water makes when you pour it into your cup. Watch the steam rise from the kettle. Watch the water turn color as the tea steeps to perfection. Sip your tea mindfully, focusing on the way it feels when you sip it, the warmth it spreads through your body, and the calming effect of its properties. Pay attention, be mindful, and feel the warmth of the cup in your hands. Taste the subtle flavors in each sip. Leave all of your other worries behind. Don’t read e-mail, don’t talk on the phone. Just sit and sip tea. A New Leaf carries some great herbal tisanes to help you relax, and delicious oolongs, black teas, green teas and white teas for that mindfulness release.
  2. Brush your teeth. ToothbrushAndPaste
    I know that when I brush my teeth, I’m usually running through the laundry list of things I need to do before I walk out the door, or thinking of whether or not I’ve gotten everything I needed to get accomplished done before bed. Try, for two solid minutes to focus on each stroke of the toothbrush. Try fully concentrating on the action of brushing, on each stroke of each tooth, going from one side of the mouth to the other. You end up doing a better job, and it helps you realize how much we do on autopilot.
  3. The Game of Five
    Take an opportunity to notice five things in your day that would typically go unnoticed. These could be things you hear, smell, feel or see. For example you might see a tree, listen to the wind, feel your clothes or smell food cooking. Of course, you may already do these things, but are you really aware of these things and the connections they have with your world?
  4. Walk mindfully
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    Oftentimes, especially in bustling cities, people are walking with headphones plugged in to their ears, or texting frantically onto a smart phone. I would challenge you to take a simple mindful walk, either around your block, or something as simple as walking to or from your office each day. Take a few deep breaths, try to be aware of your environment and your internal state (e.g., thoughts, feelings, sensations). Notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground. Notice the comfort (or discomfort) of your shoes. Notice which muscles tense or relax as you walk. Notice where you are stepping, the lightness or forcefulness of each step and the feel of the ground beneath your feet or shoes. If your mind starts to wander to the past or the future, try to bring it back to the present moment. As you walk, what do you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel? How does the air feel on your skin? What do you notice around you? Notice the thoughts that cross your mind as you walk. As you finish your walk, congratulate yourself, no matter how many times your mind was pulled away from the walk.

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IMG_0620Kimberly Orlic, co-founder and chief operating officer of A New Leaf, LLC is a new entrepreneur, with over 25 years’ experience in the workforce. The mother of three daughters, she is an avid tea lover and developed the idea for A New Leaf along with her husband over 15 years ago while obtaining her master of business administration degree. She holds bachelor of arts and master of business administration degrees from Hofstra University. Kimberly has over 15 years of management experience and significant experience in process improvement, systems implementation and enhancements. While at Hofstra University she demonstrated the ability to adapt to changing environments and learn different operations. In every role, she left a better organized and more efficient department. In her most recent role as the University Bulletin Editor, she recognized the potential of digital media and migrated a labor-intensive, print-only process to an efficient print, online, and mobile app product full of previously unavailable features. As a member of Hofstra’s Public Relations department, she was a member of the team that hosted the 2008 Presidential Debate and worked extensively on the program. A New Leaf is her first business venture. As founder, owner, and COO, Kimberly’s responsibilities focus on running the retail operation, marketing, and promotion.