“And then I realized, you know, that’s one of the things you love about tea – it’s slower, you take your time, it’s not rushed, all in due time – and I knew everything would be fine. “
Indeed, LaRue 1680’s sales of loose tea and pastel-colored tea sets began to quintuple in January thanks to “Bridgerton,” Synclair said. The top two search terms that drove business on her site earlier this month were “Bridgerton tea” and “Bridgerton tea sets,” she said.
Customers have also gifted LaRue 1680 merchandise to friends, she said, attaching notes like this: “I know how much you love Bridgerton, so I figured the tea sets inspired by Bridgerton would be appropriate.
Meet tea in Indonesia
The idea for LaRue 1680 did not germinate overnight, but slowly permeated after Synclair, a single mother, embarked in 2012 for a year of traveling the world with her son, Caden, then. 7 years old.
As a young child, Synclair spent hours in the travel section of the library, dreaming of seeing the world someday, although she didn’t think it was possible because she had never seen many women. black as she travels, she said.
“Being exposed to travel is really important,” Synclair said. “I would have started this business earlier, but not even just this business; I would have been exposed to the possibilities of life.”
She knew, “deep down, I wasn’t supposed to be in Birmingham. … I wanted to build something big, I just didn’t know what it was. And so, I wanted to take that little vacation. sabbatical to get to know me better. “
Synclair packed her bags, bought two one-way tickets from Alabama to Sicily, Italy, and set out on what she called her “eat, pray, love” trip.
She had no itinerary and was planning destinations shortly before leaving each country.
“About two weeks before it was time for me to go to my next place, I would decide, OK, what’s next? And I would sort of sit with her for a while, and then I would just go. buy a ticket.” Synclair said. “I’ve learned to be safe with Stephanie’s decisions. I’ve learned not to over-plan because plans change all the time.”
Abroad, Caden learned online while Synclair continued his work as a business and marketing coach.
The couple traveled across Europe to Asia, where Synclair fell in love with Bali’s tea rituals.
“My love for tea is actually from Asia,” Synclair said. “I spent the most time both in Indonesia, in Bali, where tea was just one thing. It was a regular part of society, just like the water is here for us or the coffee.”
When Synclair returned to the United States in 2013, she wanted to continue the tea rituals she had performed in Bali but said it was difficult to find quality tea.
“I started looking for the best teas,” she says. “All you could really find were cheaper mass produced teas in a bag that had been produced from down.”
It was at this point that Synclair decided to start his own tea business.
Capitalizing on a Regency era blockbuster
LaRue translates to “the streets”. Sinclair chose the name because “it’s the tea that transports you,” she says, adding that she chose the base year after seeing “LaRue 1680” in a dream.
“I remember just a few years ago, you know, I might have said, OK, well, I don’t want to be the face of this; that was just the reality of the world in which we lived, ”Synclair said. “I have met other black people and other people who are not black, but they are just interested in black affairs.”
Synclair, who watched all eight episodes of “Bridgerton” in one night, said she was thrilled with the customers “Bridgerton” had earned her.
“We have grown so much, now we have to go find a warehouse.” Synclair said. “For our first anniversary, I want to do some amazing pop-ups across the country and pop-ups where you sort of walked into an English garden.”
“The goal, over the next five years,” Synclair said, “is to start building stores across the country.”