My oh my how time flies...after working 6 months finalizing our "new tea store concept" we officially formed Steepologie LLC in October 2016 and launched our online tea store Steepologie.com We quickly started hunting for our first retail location in Seattle...
Here are a few pics on the journey we've taken over the past 12 months...we sincerely thank all of our customers (both online and in-store) for making all of this possible!!
Future home of Steepologie!! After months of looking for the perfect retail space and several false starts, we FINALLY found the future home of our first store at 4th Ave and Stewart in downtown Seattle steps from Pike Place Market and the core shopping district. This town needs a tea shop!
The space was an empty shell and had sat empty for several years….but we saw SO much potential to make this a hip urban tea shop! Time to talk to the owner about our new tea shop concept...
After several months of negotiating we finally signed the lease and the wonderful crew at Clise Properties immediately began work building out the space—they were top-notch professionals through-and-through every step of the way! We didn’t wait long to put a sign saying Steepologie was coming to Seattle so all the tea lovers could prepare...
To help facilitate the build-out we (Joe and Andrea) needed to be accessible, yet there was SO much work that had to be done with finalizing vendor contracts, web design, marketing, etc. so we secured a small office space at WeWork in Westlake Center in downtown Seattle—invaluable because it’s only a 1 minute walk to the store and we were able to continue building Steepologie behind the scenes.
Buildout begins with the ventilation being installed...Warren (our youngest child; 7 years old at the time) was super excited we were opening a retail store because he wanted to sell emojis (LOL!!).
There was a lot of finalizing design elements which entailed us having to zip from showroom to showroom for inspiration and ideas...sometimes you find things that “work” in the oddest places. Here Andrea is at Pottery Barn inspecting the quality of what ultimately became our 4 tables in the shop. We love the industrial look and feel!
Little things take time—designing something as simple as our product tags was fun yet a bit stressful!
The wall is up (well, the bones of it at least)...
...which means plumbing can start going in...progress!!
We were spending a lot of time in Seattle during the buildout and everyone in the family patiently awaited when things would get back to “normal”...even our Shih Tzu Audrey understood that mom and dad were working hard in the city!
During a lull in the buildout we decided to pack up the fam and head to sunny California for a fun filled week at Disneyland and Universal Studios.
Now that wall is up and plumbing is up we can start accepting cabinetry and other deliveries...we’ve got lights!
The backing is installed to support the weight of digital signage and shelving...Andrea’s creative juices are flowing!
After the plumbing, backing and insulation was fully installed we knew that we really had to bear down and focus because our design elements were about to come to life...nervous much!!
Going into this process we had no idea the number of permits and level of work needed to get approval, but yet again the fine folks at Clise Properties made it all seem so easy!
And then the wall really became a wall...oh boy this is really going to happen!!
Time to start thinking about real world placement of shelving...would the prototype we built at our house look as good in the store? Would what we design on paper translate into reality? Fingers crossed...but first we need to pitch in by putting all this pipeing together - time to roll our sleeves up!
You push and push and push and then...BAMM!! A week of nothing but progress—ceiling painted black, lights installed, first bit of shelving put in, digital signage hung and cabinetry installed! We’re a bit spent at this point, but the construction crew are all pros...they haven't even broken a sweat!
We needed to weigh down the countertop while the glue set before nailing it in so we used our middle child Joseph (15 years old at the time)...he’s so versatile!
Joseph couldn’t resist using the nail gun so he happily contributed to finishing out our POS counter.
Time to measure out the windows for exterior signage...OMG is this REALLY happening!?
Yes, it is! We’re SO close to opening and we can’t stand the excitement.
But before we open there’s a lot to be done including having our “Tea Makes Us Better” montage installed...
….tins filled with tea and placed on shelves….
...and installation of our tea cup chandeliers!
….and we’re open as of April 15, 2017!!
Warren loved the store design and feel and thought customers would love it too...we were excited to start having them show up!
And show up you did!!
And you started exploring out 250+ loose leaf tea and herbal blends….
...and ordering drinks….
….and loose leaf tea….
….and learning about our teas!
Customers from around the world have ID’d their language on our “Tea Makes us Better” wall mural! They LOVE it!!
One month after we opened we launched our Endless Steep program—it’s the best way to let people explore our 250+ blends of loose leaf tea...when a shipment arrives they are usually sold out in 48 hours!
Customers quickly started sharing great pics on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media pages—Cooper loves posing with our tea!!
We’ve made BIG improvements since we opened, including launching Endless Steep and bringing you same delivery in Seattle with our Postmates partnership...
...and increased seating with free wi-fi for your convenience….
...and focusing on digital marketing with wonderful pics...
...and partnering with great companies for events in Seattle like Sephora (pictured), Macy’s, Free People and Dr. Martens….
...and rolling out fun new products like our Teahawaks tea (it steeps blue!).
It all paid off not only in repeat business but also rave reviews on different platforms including Yelp, which yielded our first award!
But most importantly we’ve had a lot of fun over the past 12 months….
….we witnessed a unique eclipse right outside the front door of Steepologie...
….and took the first step in building the bones of Steepologie all while getting to know our fantastic customers—thank you for letting us be a part of your lives!
P.S. Audrey is happy because we were home more! Onward to another year of Steepologie because Tea Makes Us Better!