Having tea is such a delightful way to relieve stress. Publisher Lee Q. Garcia has enjoyed many cups of tea across the region, finding serenity through 10 years of cultural travel in the Lone Star State. Lee has showcased Texas’ growing love affair with tea and passion for regional tourism. On her journey running a niche firm, Lee has become a tea blender, business consultant and educator. She has hosted twelve Texas Tea Affairs featuring historic organizations (next spring- join her in La Porte). She has received several awards and enjoys partnering business with community work.
TTT: What were your thoughts when the magazine was started in 2005?
LQG: When we first started, I was researching a tea room concept. Many shops that had been supported by their families and church communities were retiring in our Houston area. Then I thought, “If the niche tea industry had a marketing tool to reach the general public, these lovely eateries would be bustling with customers.” I am a woman who feels better with a cuppa in my hands and has a passion for chicken salad and quiche.
TTT: Since the publication is a reflection of Lee Q. Garcia, tell us about her.
LQG: I’m always a Christian girl at heart. My friends and family are my everything. They influence all that I do. I admire strong women; my mother is my rock and inspiration. She believes in following your dreams and creating new paths in life. I’m completely open with every client and reader. Their journeys are inspiring. We are all steeped in beauty.
TTT: What have you learned from the past 10 years?
LQG: I feel it’s important to be inclusive. I have a great team that I love and trust. Texas Tea & Travel is not geared toward one person. We have discovered that tea shops, boutiques and antique galleries are destinations.
Modern tea lovers are discovering our region with fresh eyes: traveling to our festivals, small museums, local shops and artful communities. Since Texas is larger than France, we have amazing offerings for our locals and arriving guests.
TTT: There are so many incredible stories of people on various journeys, how do you decide on your subjects?
LQG: Every day we are learning — I love to interview and meet those who are dedicated to small business. Each conversation is a teachable moment. We illuminate true leaders that share their successes and proclaim their failures. They are heroes in my book. It’s inspiring that most journeys of faith have led powerful women to soar in business and work.
TTT: What’s the most important advice you have for women who want to have their own business?
LQG: It is important to create a clear brand identity. You really need to know your clients and how they think. It’s important that you do your research, and understand the value of marketing yourself and your products. Surround yourself with good people. You need to trust your instincts. Make all major decisions and believe in your growth. The Texas public will support your efforts, your hard work will pay off.
Tags: Historic Tours, Quilt Shows, Tea Events, Texas Cultural Travel