I believe we all have dreams that go beyond our 9 to 5. I’ve always wondered what leads certain individuals to follow their dreams and what holds the rest of us back. So my curiosity led to me interviewing friends and strangers about what inspires them to go after their dreams. Today’s interview with Shannon Miniaci of Mad Hatter Tea Co. in Oakville, is truly an inspiring story of how a mother’s love for her sick baby has led to a beautiful business. Shannon’s story is an amazing example of where following your passion can lead. I loved all the insight and helpful tips that Shannon gives to help you hone in on your passion. There is so much that I took away from this interview and I hope you will too.
My daughter had digestive issues as a baby and I desperately wanted to help heal her more inline with our natural and organic lifestyle. So I set out to make a medicinal blend of herbs to help her. After some trial and error I came up with a concoction that did the trick and my ailing baby was thriving within weeks. Word spread amongst family and friends and I started handing out the blend. Within a year I had expanded the line as my daughter grew and needed different blends for different issues. I had been approached to enter a makers market in Toronto and I was given 2 weeks to pull an entire business together, a name, a brand, a logo…it was complete madness…but I guess that’s why we’re Mad Hatter Tea Co.! My husband actually named the company…because he claims that I look crazy when I’m coming up with new tea blends.
This is kind of a tricky because really, everything and anything inspires me. One night I was eating a green curry and thought it might be a delicious tea…it was! I draw a lot of inspiration from seasonal fruits and veggies, I like to to try and find unique pairings of flavours.
Never giving up on myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t doubt myself at times, but I surround myself with people who I can freely bounce ideas off of and work through my thoughts.
Uhhh, this is a tough one… I’m such a book geek. Can I choose 4? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom are books that I have Post It notes with highlighted quotes in. Life lessons to keep myself in check with. The Body Silent by Robert Murphy and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. The Body Silent helped me work through what it meant to be a person with a disability, an invisible disability at that, one that, unless I told you, like I am right now, you wouldn’t know I had and what that means within society. And City of Bones, a fictional story about these supernatural people who wear scars proudly. Women who are fighters, warriors, these scars that make them beautiful which is such positive imagery when society has demands of perfection from women. This really resonated with me.
Write down all of your ideas. Roll with what makes the most sense, don’t start off by making things too complicated because there are so many complications that you won’t foresee. Give yourself time to work out the kinks, to find what works best for you and the people that are in your life. Also, don’t scratch anything off your list, just move down to the bottom, or to a back page. No idea is a bad idea, it just needs reworking.
Remembering why I started this crazy shindig in the first place. I wanted to help my daughter feel better. That’s still my same goal, to help people feel better, to help people find their piece of Wonderland.
Hmm…knowing when to move certain things down to the bottom of the list. It’s all about ebbing and flowing, finding balance, there has to be balance!
Sometimes you just have to jump.
I’m lucky that I have a separate space to go to. I try to limit how much I think about and work on projects when I leave my shop, which is my creative space. When I go home, that time is for my family, playing with the kids, chatting with my husband, entertaining guests, playdates , you name it. That’s their time and I honour that. If I really have to complete something for work I wait until the kids are in bed and my husband is doing something of his own. It’s hard to turn work off when you are the business, but you have to, you just have to.