Aren’t we all a bit sick of the wellness industry’s holier-than-thou attitude? Let’s face it, most mere mortals can’t keep up with the imperative to be clean, pristine and positive 24/7. But rising above the sea of products offering transcendent, and ultimately unattainable, experiences is a new contender ditching the faff and getting ready to actually improve our wellbeing.
Interested? Then get to know the herbal tea company Tuuli Tea, which launches this November after years of silently crafting and tweaking its products in the background. The brand’s founder and namesake, Tuuli Shipster – whose varied career includes nutrition, modelling, presenting and teaching yoga – explains that the brand’s ethos is about embracing the ups and downs we all experience in life, not just the highlights reel.
Creating Tuuli Tea alongside business partner Sophie Ricard, Shipster says the light-bulb moment for the brand came while she was studying herbal medicine. Despite the course equipping her with the necessary skills and knowledge, Shipster was left cold by its emphasis on herbal tea’s capacity to bring tranquillity and peace, rather than the ways it can help us with the messy realities we all grapple with every day. Setting out to disrupt the tea industry, “herbal maverick”
Shipster has funnelled her own nutrition and herbal-medicine knowledge to craft a range of ten effective, no-nonsense blends, all featuring targeted herbs, to help the customer keep up with the rigours of modern life. With packaging emblazoned with skeletons and blend names ranging from “Get Shit Done” to “Morning After (the Night Before)”, it’s less love and peace, more life hack: helping the contemporary tea lover weather the storms of hangovers, deadlines and everything in between.
“I felt that embracing real life, the fuck-ups as well as the positives, was a more balanced and attainable approach.”
Megan Wallace: I’ve read that you have a background in nutrition. When did this become an area of interest to you and why?
Tuuli Shipster: I am a yoga teacher and would often get asked for nutritional advice. While I knew what worked for me, I decided to study nutrition to gain a better understanding of the field. In my first class, in my first year, I met my Tuuli Tea business partner, Sophie Ricard.
MW: What was the spur that led you to create Tuuli Tea?
TS: While learning about herbal medicine, a professor suggested that when blending teas for our clients, we should always call them positive names such as “Relax” or “Calm”. I thought the opposite was more relatable – I felt that embracing real life, the fuck-ups as well as the positives, was a more balanced and attainable approach. I was inspired to start blending teas for family and friends for everything from heartbreak to hangovers, and the idea of Tuuli Tea was born.
MW: On that note, how would you describe the Tuuli Tea ethos now?
TS: We believe that healthy living shouldn’t get in the way of living life, and that all parts of life should be celebrated, even the imperfect moments.
MW: Tuuli Tea has been a few years in the making – how have the idea and business progressed from their beginnings?
TS: After nutrition, I went on to study herbal medicine, as it is very important to us that each blend contains targeted herbs. We also wanted the teas to taste fantastic. We took time brewing and blending different herbs to come up with our ten brilliant blends. We then worked with creative guru Warren Beeby to develop our brand to bring our ethos to life.
MW: What sort of tea offering do you have and what was the approach to picking the ingredients and blends?
TS: We have developed ten blends that use the ancient wisdom of herbs to support the ups and downs of modern life. They include “I Hate the World”, “Get Shit Done”, “Morning After (the Night Before)” and “Fucking Full”.
MW: After developing your products, how did you decide on the packaging and brand slogans? I see on the Tuuli Tea Instagram that you use the phrase “herbal mavericks”, which really seems to capture the ethos of the business.
TS: Our approach is unusual, particularly in the healthy-living sphere, and as a disruptive brand we felt “herbal mavericks” summed us up perfectly. We had the idea of depicting each blend with a skeleton to bring them to life in a universal and unexpected way.
MW: When will we be able to get our hands on some Tuuli Tea?
TS: Our beautiful tins filled with our fully biodegradable, pyramid teabags will be available to buy from our website from the 5th of November. We can’t wait for people to try them.
Tuuli Tea will be available to purchase from 5 November from tuulitea.com.
This interview is taken from our Taking Back Control issue. Order your copy here.