Category: Behind the Scenes

Our Fashionable & Tasty Neighborhood – Dogpatch

Tea is headquartered in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of SF. Our nearby neighborhood, Dogpatch is fast becoming full of creativity, food, wine and fashion! We can’t wait to check out this new multi-purpose collaborative destination featuring MAC, Blue Bottle Coffee, Piccino Restaurant and DIG wine bar at 1003 Minnesota Street. It opens March 14. I read about it here: 7× The Dogpatch: Your Next Shopping Destination?

Speaking of Dogpatch and food, it’s been a while since I posted about neighborhood food trucks. Kitchenette is like a food truck without a truck, operating out of a loading dock on Illinois Street. It’s tasty and the menu changes every day. Here are pics of our last visit. What are your favorite neighborhoods for food, fashion or fun?


Jeff & Jen outside Kitchenette

Even their sign has personality!

Even their sign has personality!

Rainboots for the Rain, Sun, and Maybe Snow?

Everyone in San Francisco is talking about one thing today. Strangers crossing the street will strike up conversations about it, and our local newspaper is abuzz with predictions. The question on everyone’s mind today is…


If so, it’ll be the first time snow’s hit our sea-level city since 1976. Temperatures are meant to reach record lows in the 30s tonight with strong winds, and while that might sound warm to you Midwest and East Coaster-ers, we’re all scrambling to gather layers to keep us warm. More used to rain than snow, our office today was chock full of rainboots:


from left (Maria, Megan, Laura, Katie, Lisa, Katy, Nuala)

We had a powerful rainstorm last night, and sun and bright blue skies all day. So will it snow tonight? Only time will tell.

Tea’s Stylista Project

A couple of months ago we heard a story about one of our former models, a girl named Francesca.  Francesca, we were told, has an avid interest in fashion–watching shows like Project Runway and What Not to Wear, devouring fashion magazines and constantly playing games of dress-up with her friends.

The stories of this little fashionista inspired us at Tea, and we decided to invite her to our studios for a photoshoot. How would a 9 year old style and fashion our line of clothes? We set up racks of our clothing, laid out accessories from previous photo shoots, and gave her free rein to design, style, and model her own outfits.

francesca 1

The result was a fun and energetic photoshoot, which gave us a whole new perspective on how Tea could be styled. Above: Francesca models our Fall 2010 Cord Cargo Pants, a Spring 2011 top (stay posted! coming out soon), Sanuk flip flops, and her grandfather’s cap. Below: She wears this season’s Painters Plaid Tunic, Fall 2010’s Stretch Slim Cord Pant, and Sidewalk Surfer Shoes.

francesca 2

The whole experience was so much fun, that we thought we’d  bring the challenge to you!

stylista image

Official Rules and Regulations, as well as a list of Participating stores can be found here.


A New Twist on Tea

We’re always looking for new ways to style Tea. This season a few of Tea’s employees found inspiration in some of our Catalonia-inspired kid’s items, and found a whole new style for these pieces:




Michelle (above), who works in Graphic Design for Tea, is rocking the girl’s Picasso Bowtie Shirt in size 12. The shirt ran a little short, so she layered an H&M camisole underneath. Jeans are by RVCA, Cardigan is Madewell.




Isabelle (above) does Product Development for Tea, and is sporting the boy’s Picasso Stripe Sweater in size 12. Her scarf is from Nordstrom, and her short boots are by Rachel Comey.


What’s your favorite way to style Tea?


SF Giants World Series Champs – Tea fans exhilarated!

Many of us here at Tea have been following the SF Giants (#SFGiants) all season and long before. The Giants play a kind of baseball that’s been branded “torture” by Kruk and Kuip our awesome Giants announcers. It’s been a lovely torture. We’re awash in the aftermath and planning our dash to Wednesday’s celebratory parade.


One of the Giants’ biggest fans is Ana Ramos, graphic designer and photographer extraordinaire. About a week ago she joyfully shared this post with me. Today seemed like the perfect day to share it with the world!

I’ve been lucky enough to have attended a World Series game, it was October of 2003 and the Yankees were facing the Marlins in Florida. It was supposed to be Roger Clemens last start, he had just announced his retirement, and the standing ovation he received before the first pitch was thrown was electrifying. But he and Bret Favre are probably really good friends so you know how that story went. I can’t remember who won that game, I know the Marlins won the World Series in 6 games. What I remember most is that I missed some classes because my dad took me on another one of our baseball trips to Florida (I’m originally from Caracas, Venezuela – if you follow the Giants, Panda and I share a nationality…), up to that time I had missed school one previous time for a NLCS between the Marlins and my then beloved Chipper Jones and Braves. In a sea of Marlins fans, we were one of the few Braves’ fans around the bullpen and after Greg Maddux finished his bullpen session I was the lucky winner of a baseball, which is now signed by Bobby Cox. I’m guessing my mom wasn’t too happy about those missed classes, but traveling to be in a World Series game was on another level: take in a huge baseball game, the atmosphere and just spending time with my dad, a dream really if you love baseball.

Fast forward to 2010, I’m still a huge baseball fan but no longer root for the Braves. Since moving to San Francisco I adopted the Giants as my team. The history the team has, the way the city embraces the team is night and day compared to my experience with summer baseball and the Marlins. And I love it! This year it all started with a slogan I thought was crazy “there’s magic inside” and a roster that promised more of what we had experienced in previous years. But somehow since game 1, an extra inning win against the Braves, the team showed a special spark turned into torture and a season full of ups and downs with amazing baseball.

This year I’ve learned so much more about the game and the characters that make our “band of misfits” so special. It’s part of my daily routine to listen to Murph & Mac in the morning interviewing Kruk or Kuip, and I usually don’t go to bed without listening to the post game wrap with Amy G, Mychael Urban, FP and the rest of the team. And then there’s the g-men. “25 guys, one common goal = win”. That’s what the players see when they head to the field every day they are at home, and that common goal has been carried this year by a group of guys that on paper shouldn’t have the run they’ve had so far. It took all 162 games of the season to win the Division and go to the post season. Remember we have an unofficial slogan: “giants baseball: torture”.

And then, for the first round of playoffs we had to face the Braves in the NLDS, my team during my teenage years… I have to admit it was a bit hard rooting against the team that brought me the love for baseball but I now bleed black and orange. And baseball being a superstitious sport, I watched those games with my Bobby Cox signed baseball to jinx my old team and have an outlet to relief the stress of the 1-run games. In fact, playing with a baseball during a game is something I learned from Krukow, one of the Giants announcers. If you ever get the chance to go to AT&T park take a moment to look at the press area and you will spot a baseball being flipped up and down, that’s Kruk and now when I go to the games that’s one of my little rituals – look for the ball and take a deep breath it’s time for baseball…

Today is October 23rd and the Giants are still playing baseball. And every morning at the office we do a small, and sometimes not so small, touch base on how our boys are doing. I keep calling them our boys like I know them! But that’s how this team has made us feel, like we are part of the Giants family. The October road for the Giants brought a lot more torture and exciting baseball: getting past the Braves by winning game 3 on the road to win the NLDS; the Giants as huge underdogs defeated the defending NL Champs Phillies in a classic Giants game: on the road, in a torture game and everyone pitching in (literally) to win the game.

I was watching the game at the tennis club, after missing the first part of the game while playing a tournament we all headed to the bar to watch the game. To the final out, we were on our toes counting down outs, strikes, everything…. And when the umpire rung up Ryan Howard we had our own little champagne celebration! Being so close to AT&T park we decided to take in the scene, cars honking, unknown people hugging and high-fives all over the place. The Giants, the unlikely group of misfit guys had won the National League for the first time since 2002 and are headed to the World Series.

During all the celebration, I kept texting with my parents back home in Venezuela. They updated me at the beginning of the game while I was playing tennis and then I updated them while they were at a wedding. And when they finally got home we were able to talk and celebrate that our Giants had won the pennant! Now my parents are planning a trip to visit and take in game 6 of the series. If everything works out my dad and I will get to experience a World Series game once again and my mom will experience her first. This time of course it will be different because is not just a World Series game, it’s a game that involves a team we truly know and feel part of… As fans we are that 10th man on the field cheering them on every out until the last out. No matter if we are able or not to go to a game, you can bet that we will be watching together in different time zones and places, but enjoying the torture and rooting for the Giants to get 4 more wins and take it all…

Note from Lisa: And they did it! I guess the only downside of winning in 5 is that Ana and her dad didn’t get to relive the World Series in person, here in SF. We’re all thrilled they won and not sure we could have stood much more torture. Go Giants!!!

Behind the Scenes with Leigh Rawdon and Women’s Initiative

Leigh, our co-founder and CEO just sent me this inspiring post:

On Tuesday, Emily and I were lucky enough to be honored as Women Entrepreneurs of the Year by Women’s Initiative for Self Employment. There were several women recognized including the talented women behind amazing brands like Peas of Mind and Minted. But the most inspiring woman of all (and I think every honoree and attendee would agree) was Nancy Charraga. So I wanted to share a little of her story:

Nancy came to the US from Chiapas, a southern state in Mexico. She wanted to preserve and share the cultures and traditions of Mexico through the products she sold. She started in flea markets but it wasn’t until she went through the training at Women’s Initiative that she developed a business plan and strategy. Like many other trainees in the program, Nancy fit the profile of high potential, low income. And like most graduates, she has been operating a successful, sustainable business for many years since.

Entrepreneurship is a passion of mine because of people like Nancy. People from all walks of life – whether students of a top business school or a recent immigrant in the Women’s Initiative training program – are able to create something from nothing. Entrepreneurship requires creativity, resourcefulness, and perseverance, and the results are independence, confidence, and a positive impact on the world around us.

Nancy Charraga now has a store, a wholesale business, and an event planning service. She employs dedicated women who are supporting their families. And she’s having a positive impact on the community around her. Every day, she fulfills her mission to Preserve & Promote Mexican Traditions through Fair Trade. She deserves last night’s award and many more for demonstrating the power and importance of entrepreneurship.

Nancy Charraga

Nancy Charraga

Learn more about Nancy and check out her store, Casa Bonampak online and if you’re ever in San Francisco’s Mission District. Emily and I are grateful to be included with Nancy and all of 2010’s Women’s Initiative honorees.

Behind the Scenes: Tea explores the food trucks of the world

We are so lucky to live in San Francisco and have many fun, tasty and global treats to explore nearby. The great food truck explosion has hit SF in a big way.

We like to think we were among the first to discover Chairman Bao, the yummy bun truck with a sense of humor. You can find them outside Economy Restaurant Fixtures on 7th and Irwin among other locales. Check their Facebook page for their whereabouts.

The Tea team is partial to the steamed buns, including Chinese Spiced Duck Confit with Mango (Josh is known to get 3) and the Crispy Garlic Tofu. Not to mention pork in all its forms. Get two to three (at least)

Here we are on one of the first days: That’s me, Josh and Jen (with Tami behind the camera).

.Chairman Bao Bun Truck

Our other Potrero find is Liba Falafel, now appearing Thursdays in Potrero at 155 De Haro.

Perfect for a sunny day, we love the falafel of course. And you’d be silly to skip the sweet potato fries (with lime!). And her tasting bar is a wonder to behold and explore. (rosemary peanuts, harissa (here’s a recipe), olive orange relish, oh my!). That’s me again on the left, Josh, Sandra (back from Phoenix) and Jeff. Leigh’s behind the lens this time thinking about how she can start her own food truck operation.

Tea Team outside Liba Falafel Truck

Liba also moves around so check her Facebook page for the latest and greatest. If you know of any new food trucks in the neighborhood, please comment on this post and keep us in the loop. I’ll be sharing other favorite neighborhood spots (without wheels too) in the weeks to come. Happy tasting!