Years ago, when Gemma Bright, our NJMOMpreneur of the Week, received a teacup as a gift from her husband, she had no idea it would become the springboard for a tea party business. She had always loved tea, and collecting cups eventually led to her hosting tea parties, where friends would bond over sipping tea from beautiful cups, enjoying conversations and sisterhood. Knowing that others could benefit from having a relaxing tea party without worrying about all the details, Gemma started Jade’s Tea, a mobile custom tea party where she provides the teas, cups, and party atmosphere anywhere. The idea took off, and now she hosts tea parties for bridal and baby showers, as well as friendly get-togethers. We caught up with this Ramsey mom of two to talk about all things tea, including the ingredients for every successful tea party, how her daughter Jade helps her with planning and social media, and the spot she goes to for a delicious cup of tea.
Featured Photo Credit: Roberto Soler Photography
Tell us about your family. I’m originally from Trinidad, but I moved here when I was 19. My husband, Marcus, and I have been married for 12 years, and we live in Ramsey with our son Jaidyn (10) and a daughter Jade (8).
Was there an “aha” moment to launch Jade’s Tea? I’ve always loved tea, and many years ago, my husband gifted me my first beautiful teacup. Though I’d never been a collector of anything, I couldn’t help myself after that first one, and I started collecting teacups. Since then, I’ve amassed quite a collection. Tea time is special—it always sets the mood and allows for endless conversations and bonding. I love bringing friends together and would plan events and retreats to celebrate sisterhood and friendship, always while sipping tea. I knew that other women would love this too, so with encouragement from friends, it started to become a dream of mine to bring women together this way.
What sets Jade’s Tea apart from others that are similar? Unlike going to a café, Jade’s Tea is a mobile custom tea party—we’ll bring the party to a unique venue, specific location, or the client’s home. And we’re very flexible and will do as little or as much as the client wants, from just renting the beautiful teaware from us to taking care of every last detail of the party.
What are your top tips for throwing a successful tea party? Realize that a tea party is more than a cup of tea. It’s an experience that can be as simple as tea and scones or as fancy as you like. Invite people who you enjoy being around. And, it’s essential to set the scene–whether it’s indoors or outdoors, choose a calm, peaceful environment. Then, set your table with linens, beautiful teacups, and a three-tiered stand for your treats. And you’ll want an assortment of good quality teas. Though I usually go for loose teas, I like Tea Forte and Tea 2 Tea teabags. When your party starts, simply relax and enjoy the moment.
How supportive is your family? Everyone in the family helps out when necessary—we’re a team. Like me, Jade loves tea, is detail-oriented, and is creative, so she helps out as much as time and situations allow. She likes to help me plan events, and she also makes sure we have the pieces we need before each party. In addition to that, she helps me create content for Instagram and will join me for tea tastings when we get new teas in. Marcus and Jaidyn will help with the packing for a party and help with the pickup if I need extra help. And though Jaidyn loves tea, he thinks tea parties are for girls, so we’ll be throwing a gentlemen’s tea for him and his friends soon. The boys will be in bow ties, and the menu will be specific things they love.
Has the pandemic affected your business? If so, please explain how you’ve had to pivot. I technically formed the business a few months before the pandemic surfaced, and for quite a while, things were very slow. But, I practiced with my friends, and then when the weather warmed up a bit and people started to feel comfortable being outside together, things took off. I was pleasantly surprised by how much people love the concept. Jade’s Tea was crazy busy with Mother’s Day celebrations and birthdays and baby showers and women simply getting together and celebrating being together. And things haven’t slowed down since.
What would have been helpful to know before launching your business? I wish I has started with a detailed business plan to consider my strengths and weaknesses. Hospitality is my strength, plus I’m very detail-oriented, a great planner, and creative, but because I’m passionate about this, figuring out what my hours were worth was hard. When you do something you love, it’s tough to put a price tag on it, but I had to remind myself that I’m in business for a reason.
Are there any charities or organizations you’re involved in? I studied human services and social work in school and have a passion for kids and those that are less fortunate. Growing up, my dad and I would always visit orphanages, and now I’m also involved in Make a Wish and YCS (Youth Consultation Service). I wanted my children to realize the importance of giving back, the way my dad did with me, so they’ve been volunteering all their lives, and now they even come up with ideas on how they can give back.
Please share some of your favorite local businesses and why you love them. I love The Tea Company Retail Café. I do tea tastings there and use their teas in my business. And I also love Bageriet, a Swedish bakery that makes delicious sweets and tea sandwiches. My favorite is the cabbage and carrot tea sandwich because it’s delicious and incredibly beautiful, too. And the holidays wouldn’t be complete without cutting down our own tree at Wyckoff’s Christmas Tree Farm.
Please share a few places in NJ that your family loves. We really like being outdoors, and Duke Farms is at the top of our list for bike riding — it’s a clean trail, and the grounds are absolutely beautiful. We also do a lot of hiking, and the Stairway to Heaven trail in Vernon is one of our favorites. The views are gorgeous, and the winding boardwalk is very special.
What advice do you have for an NJMOMpreneur just starting? Don’t be afraid to take the risk—when you’re doing what you’re passionate about, it’s worth it.