Category: Behind the Scenes

Jess’s Adventures in Bali [Part 1]

To help everyone at Tea go there, we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Welcome to part 1 of Jess’s Bali adventures. Let’s go there!

Whenever I travel, I really enjoy going on runs as a way to explore a new place and orient myself. My trip to Bali, Indonesia was no different. After arriving at the beautiful Villa Santai where I would stay while in Tenah Merah, Ubud, I put on my running shoes and left to go check out some nearby villages. I had no idea that a casual run would turn into such an adventure.

I started uphill through a village filled with temples, homes, and snack stands.

There were also a few stray dogs lining the streets. I had been warned about Balinese stray dogs and the recent case of rabies that had been reported on the island. I had been advised to carry a stone or stick with me to throw at them, as this would surely scare them away. Although I try to avoid confrontations with animals, especially stray, untrained ones, I thought it best to carry a little stick with me just in case.

As I made my way uphill, I pondered how beautiful the day was. The sun was shining on the rice fields on either side of me.

The hot, tropical air felt lovely as I ran past. I waved hello to a group of children, smiled at the lady running the snack stand, and greeted an old man passing by with “Selamat Pagi!” (Good Morning).

Then, in the next moment, I came across a large pack of dogs in the path ahead of me. Instantly, I thought to myself, remain calm, no worries. Sing ken ken! But then I noticed a few ears perk up and several heads rise. A couple of them stood up and faced me.

Now I’m scared. They started to approach. I glanced around at the villagers, with a worried, helpless look on my face. That’s when they started to bark at me. At this point, I realized that I had completely stopped moving. I swatted my lame little stick around a few times, accomplishing nothing.

Finally, a little old lady came up to me and scared the pack of dogs off with a shout and a few swoops of her hand. She then came upto me and took the little stick from my hand. She chuckled, mumbled something at me in Balinese, trying to communicate that if I swat at the dogs, they grow more aggressive, thinking I am trying to attack them. She patted me on the back and sent me off, meanwhile still warding off the dogs for me as I made my way through the village. I thanked her, “Terri makahse bankyak!”, and carried on uphill, away from the village.

I would learn later that the Balinese believe stray dogs are re-incarnated ancestors and family members who have behaved badly. That is why they are treated so poorly by the locals.

As I continued up the road, I heard a big commotion. I noticed a little soccer field, so I made my way toward the voices to see what was happening there. I saw a few kids playing soccer, but looking beyond, I noticed a large group of people gathered. I made my way there, curious to see what was taking place. As I got closer, I saw it was a rooster fight. Even though I am vegetarian and also dislike violence between animals, especially for sport, I decided to put judgment aside and check out the tournament. What I saw was better than what I had anticipated. It seemed like every man in the village had joined.

Each male had a pet fighting rooster. They’d wait around, and then enter their rooster into the main fight. There were a few little kids there with their dads, but no women. I was the only woman there, dressed in a pair of running shoes, shorts, a workout shirt and an iPod. I thought they would shoo/send me away, but they were quite welcoming.

After a little while, I moved on and continued my run, only to encounter even more dogs. This time, my village lady friend was not there to help me. I panicked a little until I saw a group of bicyclists approaching. They saw the look of terror on my face and said, “Run with us!” So I started running and they surrounded me in a protective circle of bicycles as we passed by the rabid dogs. It was fun!

The return trip was no less exciting. The locals were burning their fields, blocking the road with dense smoke. Fortunately, a number of them helped me around the smoke by showing me where I could run through some rice fields.

I also managed to dart into a few homes whose owners had left the front door open. Balinese homes tend to be a collection of smaller buildings in a courtyard. There are living quarters along with a small open-air temple people build in their homes. I got a few laughs from some of the women and kids, smiled, and continued my adventure.

At one point, I started missing the bicycle gang. Instead, a man from the village had me run alongside him as he made his way through the dog packs on his scooter. That resulted in a good workout. Again I thanked him, and he responded “sama-sama” (you’re welcome).

When I returned to the villa, my friends asked me how my run was. I replied simply, “It was good!” . . .And jumped straight into the pool.

Inside Studio T: Activity Book Art

Every Friday we share a weekly behind-the-scenes photo taken in our offices at Tea. This could be anything – great employee outfits, our sources of inspiration, shots from our parties, or photos of us hard at work. For more sneak peeks behind the scenes at Tea click here.

Have you ordered from Tea recently? If so, you may have received an extra little something in your package – our first ever Tea Activity Book! Entitled “Let’s Go There” it is a visual journey into the world of Modern Mexico, with word searches, puzzles, and a bounty of images to color. Some of them you may even recognize from our collection of clothing, such as our Cool Coyote.

The book above was colored in by Avalon, age 5, who did a spectacular job. Great work Avalon! You are well on your way to becoming a little artista. We’ll do our best to bring you more Tea Activity Books every season.

Inside Studio T: Sample Sale in Action

Every Friday we share a weekly behind-the-scenes photo taken in our offices at Tea. This could be anything – great employee outfits, our sources of inspiration, shots from our parties, or photos of us hard at work. For more sneak peeks behind the scenes at Tea click here.

Last week we mentioned we were hosting a Sample Sale for our local Tea fans. It was a wonderful success, with crowds of people showing up at T2 in San Francisco both weekends to buy clothes from past seasons.

Tea fans braved long lines with their children, starting early in the morning before doors were even open. Over a thousand people turned out over the two weekends.

We loved the opportunity to meet our local customers face-to-face, and meet all the kids that showed up:

A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped us set up and break down our Sample Sale! We couldn’t have done it without you. And thank you to our customers, who after hours of waiting in line still greeted us with a smile when they walked in the door. You are why we love doing what we do.

Pont des Arts Bridge

Every year Tea employees receive a dividend from Tea to use towards international travel. On Studio T we’ll be sharing travel stories of our employees as they travel around the world.

Earlier this month I returned from a vacation to England, Paris, and New York. I went to England to visit family (I’m English/American), Paris for my birthday, and New York to reconnect with old friends and neighborhoods where I used to live. The whole two weeks was a beautiful blur of old cities, family, English vocabulary, French language, Parisian fashion, and the bustling streets of New York.  But somehow what I have the most photos of on my camera is a bridge over the River Seine where I spent my final morning in Paris.

The Pont des Arts bridge was finished in 1804, and was the first metal bridge in Paris.  Connecting the Left Bank with the Right Bank, and leading directly to the Louvre, it gets a lot of foot traffic from visiting tourists. It has held up valiantly despite two World Wars, but succumbed to a 60 foot barge that ran into it in 1979. Now reopened and more beautiful than ever, it has become a strangely surreal landmark. The criss-crossing metal siding of the bridge has become covered with thousands of padlocks, placed there by lovers who then threw the key into the water of the Seine below. Initials of the couples and sweet notes are written on most locks. The twinkling and sparkling of these locks can be seen a block away, and one can spend hours reading the sweet inscriptions.

After spending 5 days in the city of romance, and being somewhat superstitious, I couldn’t help but want my own piece of the Pont des Arts ritual. But where to find a lock? I searched everywhere for une serrure and finally found one at the Bon Marche department store. My mother and I celebrated the end of the treasure hunt by purchasing tarts and pastries from their exquisite supermarket on the first floor, and we ate them in Luxembourg Gardens while watching little Parisian children push their sailboats around the pond.

I waited until my last morning in Paris to add my lock to the bridge.

Newspapers around the world are hinting that Paris is not such a fan of these locks – one article threatened that the city was going to remove the locks as they were defacing a public monument. The article was written in May of this year, but when I was there a few weeks ago many of the locks looked old and rusted shut, and there were so many that I couldn’t imagine they were just a summer’s worth.

What do you think? Are the locks a sparkly homage to superstitious lovers, or are they an eyesore on an old monument? I encourage you to walk along the Seine, with the morning sun casting long shadows along the cobblestones, a hot crepe wrapped in paper in your hand, and witness the bridge in person before you make a decision.

Inside Studio T: Sample Sale

Every Friday we share a weekly behind-the-scenes photo taken in our offices at Tea. This could be anything – great employee outfits, our sources of inspiration, shots from our parties, or photos of us hard at work. For more sneak peeks behind the scenes at Tea click here.

Last week we hosted a Tea Sample Sale at our offices to clear out stock from previous seasons. Before we opened the doors to the masses (who were lined up around the block), I took a few shots of some girl’s and women’s clothes that were hanging on the racks. I love our Sample Sales for the opportunity to see patterns and styles from past seasons that I loved, and have forgotten about.

And there’s another Sample Sale this weekend, at our offices in San Francisco! $5 entry, with all entry fees going to the Global Fund for Children. Details are as follows:

Location: 117 Wisconsin Street, San Francisco 94107

Days: Friday August 26th, 9am – 3pm and Saturday August 27th, 9am – 1pm.

Inside Studio T: The Pond

Every Friday we share a weekly behind-the-scenes photo taken in our offices at Tea. This could be anything – great employee outfits, our sources of inspiration, shots from our parties, or photos of us hard at work. For more sneak peeks behind the scenes at Tea click here.

We have two offices at Tea, right across the street from one other. Our home base is located at 1 Arkansas Street, where we do all our thinking, designing, marketing, merchandising, and customer care. The second, affectionately called “T2”, is used for big meetings, hosting fun events for retailers or bloggers, and photo shoots. We love that T2 is in a building that mainly caters to architects, as it includes a huge landscaped courtyard garden. And in that garden? This pond, filled with goldfish. I love walking by it when commuting from office to office. Wouldn’t you?

weeDecor’s Tea-Inspired Wall Motifs

We’re happy to announce a new partnership – with our local friends weeDECOR! weeDECOR makes wall decals for nurseries and children’s rooms. Our designers collaborated with them to create the wall decals above (clockwise:  Whimsical Birds, Origami Elephant, Tori Bird & Flower, Origami Bird).

“Tea, a leader in children’s fashion, is well known for their gorgeous and sophisticated prints and colors. We are thrilled to turn those prints into wall decals for children’s rooms”, said Pam Webber, CEO and founder of weeDECOR.  “We are especially honored to work with a fellow San Francisco company to offer parents more eco-friendly decorating solutions in the prints and palettes they have known to love from Tea.”

All weeDECOR products are made with a biodegradable fabric, and are reusable if you want to move them from room to room.

We’re totally charmed by them – arem’t you?