Introducing a new series where we sit down with local influencers and get to know them over a cup of tea. Today we sit down with TEASPRESSA owner and entrepreneur Allison DeVane, one of the newest Tory Burch fellows! We chatted with this busy lady and learned all about this opportunity and what it means for her and for the future of TEASPRESSA.
Allison’s a go-getter: an entrepreneur with the desire to constantly grow herself and her business. She knows what she wants and is constantly searching for the best opportunities. However, the chance to apply for a Tory Burch Foundation fellowship basically fell into her lap. A friend sent it to her, and she figured, “Why not? This could be a great opportunity!”
Actually applying for the Tory Burch fellowship was no quick and easy task; Allison described the “hours of planning,” where she had to “map out [her] business plan and submit a video pitching [her] company and passion in less than a minute!”
One of Allison's favorite parts of the application process was describing her “Tea for Two” program, which allocates funds from TEASPRESSA tea sales to provide grants for women pursuing higher education. Allison believes, “education is an acceleration of life lessons allowing you to learn the mistakes of the past and apply those lessons to problem-solve innovate solutions for the future. It is an honor to award grants to help out young women in need with education expenses.” Allison credits much of her success to her role models and supporters, and she is excited to pay it forward to other women looking to better themselves and the community.
After the rigorous application and acceptance process, Allison (with the backing of the entire TEASPRESSA community) earned herself a spot in the Top 10 and confirmed her fellowship. Through this role, the Tory Burch Foundation contributes $10,000 toward her business education. Not one to waste a chance to marry her loves of travel and education, Allison plans “to visit China in November to earn [her] Tea Master’s Degree (yes, that’s a real thing!).” She is most excited about “meeting the actual farmers and brewers who inspire [her] craft and even supply much of the foundation of TEASPRESSA product.” Becoming a Tea Master is an intense blended program featuring both in-person and online components. Through this process, she will learn all about the tea growing, harvesting, and brewing processes.
After China, Allison will head to Florence to study coffee roasting. Don’t worry! She’s not turning her back on tea, but she does want to ensure she can continue enhancing her hybrid product: brewing the finest teas through the most unique and innovative processes. By diving headfirst into both the tea and coffee industries, we can expect only the most delicious in TEASPRESSA’s future.
In addition to these awesome business development opportunities, Allison will be paired with a mentor and will have access to Tory Burch’s exclusive network and resources. As Allison dives into this endeavor, TEASPRESSA fans can expect more innovative drinks that are refined, full of depth, and reflective of Allison’s growing craft beverage repertoire and passion.
As we rounded out our conversation, I of course asked Allison how she takes her tea (black latte with half a rose sugar cube). When asked about her favorite snack to pair with tea, Allison keeps it simple: “tea is the perfect treat for any time of day. I actually prefer it all on its own!”
Congrats to Allison on all of her accomplishments and adventures! She heads to New York next week for the final competition in the Fellows program: she will pitch her business to the Tory Burch and a panel of female business professionals. Allison will be up against the other nine Foundation finalists and will be competing for a chance to win $100,000!
Best of luck! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for you and TEASPRESSA.
Know a tea lover and innovator? Comment below, so we can feature them in a future Tea Time post!