I feel the need to explain myself a bit. The fact that I have been to tea conventions (yes, that’s conventions with an “s” – plural), is a bit unusual, I’ll admit. Somehow, and I can’t remember how, I came across a promotion for something called “Take Me 2 Tea Expo” that would be held in Las Vegas in the Spring of 2003. Somehow, I managed to convince Gene I needed to go. Why? I didn’t know.
What I expected was a small affair of maybe 200 or 300 people. After all, I had been to conferences and expos before for the apartment industry, for the American Society for Quality. I mean, how many people could possibly be that enthused about tea, of all things? Let me just say that these experiences did not prepare me for what I was to encounter at this new little event now known as the annual World Tea Expo.
Hundreds, nay, thousands of people from every dark or bright corner of the tea world were gathered in an enormous convention center. I witnessed the expected vendors in suits, as well as exhibitors and attendees alike in period costume, or carrying teapot purses, or professorial gentlemen with the requisite cardigan sweater and spectacles, southern belles, ‘alternative’ young professionals with color-streaked hair, fashion-forward attire and snooty attitudes, as well as salt-of-the-earth tea room owners or enthusiasts who could have been anyone’s aunts, uncles, grandmas or grandpas. Such a hodge-podge of people I have never witnessed under any one roof for any one purpose as I experienced here. It was glorious!
And the sessions! The exhibit hall! I learned everything from how to open and finance a tea shop, how to market your product or shop, how to choose your stock, how herbal teas are blended, and so much more! The exhibitors were just as informative and interesting. I learned just as much wandering around looking at all things “tea” as I did sitting in on the sessions.
This was one of those moments when the words, “My cup runneth over” applied beautifully.
The “California Herbals” name of my fictitious tea company would be just one of my many tea shop fantasies. I’ve got an entire product line in the nooks and crannies of my mind for this venture, by the way. But this is where interest may have turned the corner of obsession.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to go for the past couple of years. Pregnancy and the birth of Edie focused my attention elsewhere. But this year, as we’re planning a mini-vacation, it just so happens that we may be in Vegas on the exact dates of this year’s Tea Expo! Coincedence? Actually, yes. Will I attend? What do you think?