#Best09 – Best of 09 Challenge – Tea

December 16 Tea of the year. I can taste my favorite tea right now. What’s yours?

Of course my favourite tea is Chai By Night. I don’t drink it nearly as much as I was, partly because I seem to never actually have any of our own to drink in the cupboard (sort of like how the mechanic’s car is always breaking down), but also because it’s a bit finicky for me to make with Kale tugging at my shirt and demanding my attention (see also: boil pot dry). Chai has become a special treat for me, something on rare weekend afternoons when things are not GO GO GO GO and Kale is napping and Ross and I are doing something lovely like reading books and magazines without someone’s sticky fingers trying to rip out pages.

Chai By Night, which originally was supposed to be this great money maker for me, has been a big sinking hole I stuffed money into. Chai By Night was at the market 14 out of 16 weeks this summer. Each week cost me $15 to be there – I prepaid for all the weeks I was there and so got a discount from the normal $20. I also prepaid for those two weeks too, but Krissy needed them off so I never bothered to find anyone else to cover them, so they cost me $30. Each market cost me $50 in wages to my friend Krissy to work the booth for me. So just to be there each week was $65. Each empty bag with stickers (ingredients, manufacturing information, logo label) costs me about $1. The ingredients in each bag cost me anywhere from $2-$4, depending upon where I bought the ingredients (little India = less convenient and way cheaper, Superstore – more convenient, open later, and way more expensive). I sold each bag for $7.

Over the course of the summer, I think Krissy sold about 30 bags total. Some weeks no one bought any, and other weeks, she’d sell 4 or 5. Once, she sold 7. I also made an endless supply of samples, using a #1 coin envelope and a sticker, and about 1/16 of a package of chai. I have no idea what they all cost me. I stopped keeping track, to be honest because I knew I wasn’t making anything.

Chai By Night also attended a ladies shopping night fundraiser thing for an elementary school in Maple Ridge, and I actually sold 8 bags. And last weekend, at a cost of $70 to be there (wages and stall fee), Chai By Night was at the first Winter Market.

And at that first Winter Market, Krissy sold 18 stinking bags. She sold out. Seriously. I guess after all that money spent all dang summer long I found Chai By Night’s place – The Winter Market.

I was so close to giving up the whole thing. It’s a pain in the arse, to be honest, to bust up all the cinnamon sticks into the right size pieces. It feels good to pay my friend Krissy, but bad to see all that money go away away away. $50 means about 9 bags of chai, just to break even.

And then I get this wrench.

So I’ve decided to appear at the January market, and possibly February, but that’s it. After that I don’t know.

But seriously? It’s dang good tea.

12 years ago

1 Comment

  1. Hey that’s great! Sounds like you put so much work into it, at last you see the rewards.

    Even if it does mess with your head.

    I bet it continues to do well at the winter markets because it’s a hot drink. When I booked a table at a kids’ swap in October I was surprised that no one wanted to buy my summer clothes…only winter stuff. People are short sighted (and short on cash) and in retrospect it makes total sense. I drink tea all year round but only right now am I thinking, oh, a nice chai sounds fantastic.

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