Daniel Lewis Gives The Other Hot Beverage Its Due – T by Daniel
The story of T By Daniel is either amazing or just very interesting, depending on which legend you choose to believe. Some people tell of a pizza empire, with a charismatic, non-award winning actor at the head; others talk in hushed tones of ancient alleyways, a dromedary called Camellia and a magical tree.
The truth is probably somewhere in between, but the fact is that Brampton is all the more excellent now that Daniel Lewis’ tea shop has opened. Featuring made to order beverages, snacks and loose tea for taking home – as well as the equipment and instruction required to make the perfect cup, T By Daniel gives the other hot drink it’s well-deserved day in the sun.
We asked Daniel Lewis – founder and chief infusiologist – for the story behind his unique and super-fun enterprise. We also spoke about what it takes to start a business, keep it going and make it succeed.
Tell us about your business. Who are you, and what do you do?
T By Daniel is the fun, modern, stylish and FUNKY tea company, located in the heart of downtown Brampton. Our goal is to make tea as easy, fun and exciting, as it truly is, by adding personality and style to every cup! We primarily sell tea to go, but we also sell bulk loose tea and tea accessories that can be enjoyed at home. Our customers are mostly people who are new to the tea game, and are looking to explore this magical world for the first time. We cater to people of all ages,and all levels of tea knowledge.
T By Daniel is an open door to everyone who wants to come in and experience the excitement!
How did you get into this business? Is it a family legacy or are you a pioneer? Did you go to school for it or are you learning as you go?
We pioneered into this tea-licious adventure for two reasons. The first, tea is just way to exciting than what the average person thinks. The flavours, the infusions, the colours, the countries they come from… It’s literally an adventure in every cup- and we love adventures! We never went to school for tea, but took it upon ourselves to study everything about the beverage, from what it is, to what it does for the body and why it’s such an important part of a persons daily routine.
Secondly we are passionate about people, and wanted an opportunity to impact lives, in a small and special way. We figured that in Canada everyone loves either tea or coffee, and likes to have at least one a day. So when people make T By Daniel there choice spot for tea- we make sure to make them feel appreciated, special and loved- every time!
Why do you love what you do? What it is that drives you every day?
It is true what they say, that passion drives success. The thing that motivates us everyday is the people who make it possible for us to be entrepreneurs. In the business world these people are usually called ” customers” but at T By Daniel we like to call them family. Everyday, we get to meet new people, hear their stories, and share a good laugh with them. The more and more they come, the more they help us to grow, and become a part of our success.
We are thankful that we are truly passionate about people because it makes our job easy and our successes a benefit of doing what we love.
Was it all smooth sailing or have you had to overcome adversity to get where you are?
Like they say- a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor. We have definitely faced our share of adversity in starting this venture. One challenge is the crazy amount of never ending work that goes into starting your own business. On the outside it’s easy to say ” I can do that, I can work hard to be my own boss” but being in it is a completely different story. The first few months of opening our store, it was almost like having a baby. There’s no time to stop, no time to relax.
Working 9-5, you get up at 7:00AM work for 8 hours, come home, eat dinner with your family, wind down for bed and sleep. Owning your own business, you hardly ever sleep, you don’t have the time to eat, you don’t see your family for days, and over time, it can have a pretty strong effect on your physical strength. A typical day for us would start at 6AM and wouldn’t finish till about 2AM the next day! Lets just say, we had to drink a lot of tea to get us through this. also Luckily we have a super supportive family who kept us encouraged all the way!
We all know that crazy happens. What’s the wildest thing that’s happened on the job?
Crazy days are the norm at T By Daniel. If there isn’t random dance offs and salsa lessons going on, you may walk into Daniel dressed up as Elvis/One of the craziest experiences we had, was the wonderful amount of support we received for our Grand Opening. We did our soft open on December 21st and did our official celebration on Feb 13, 2014. We had only been open for 2 months and the turn out was overwhelming. Our 1000 sq ft store was packed from the front entrance to the back. People brought gifts, camera crews came out, we had singers, and a line up that would have went out the door if it wasn’t so cold that day. I’d call this the craziest experience at T By Daniel, because it was incredible to see so many people gathered together, all from a little dream we had a few years ago to open a tea bar.
What do you do with your time off? Are you familiar with that concept?
Time off at the moment does not really exist in our lives at the moment. But on days like Thanksgiving, or Canada Day we always spend the whole day with our family, gathered together in the living room, talking and laughing all day. It’s the greatest!
This is the age of the social network. How important is social media to your business and how do you make it work?
Social Media is huge for business and has helped us spread the word of T By Daniel immensely! We use social media on a daily basis, to promote our store, our drinks, our teas, an of course our mascot, Daniel, who loves making 15 second Instagram videos that will definitely get you giggling. Of course promotion of products is important, but we like to use social media as a means to communicate our personality and values to our followers. Our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is a little sneak peak into our fun crazy world and a way to get to know us.
Are you involved in your local community?
Whenever we can be involved with meaningful causes in our community we are. We donate tons of raffle prizes every year that go to help different charities. Also as consumers, we choose to shop local ourselves, preferring to go to our community businesses first before reaching out to anyone else.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
The future of T By Daniel looks, bright, colorful and tasty! We plan to open a T By Daniel express bars in every major city of the GTA. Stay connected with us and follow our adventure, and feel free to join us along the way!
Do you have any advice for aspiring business owners just starting out?
Yes! The first two letter of Business tell you everything about starting one. Just B U ! It’s a crazy competitive world out there, but you have one HUGE advantage going for you…. YOU! There is nobody out there that has lived your life and experiences, nobody that sees your vision (yet) and nobody that has the personality that you do. See the value in that.
Oh, and get ready to hustle, like a madman. You are about to work harder then you ever even dreamed was possible. So brace yourself. And, along the way, when you do eventually get the time to sit back and relax, have a cup of tea… on us!