By Sandy Nicholson
September 4 was the one-year anniversary of my first day working at Lady Baker’s Tea. My journey with Lady Baker’s did not start then, though, as I was a customer long before I became an employee. One of my first memories of having a “tea experience” with Lady Baker’s owner Katherine was when I, along with my daughter Alex and sister in law Jacqueline, attended a Literary Tea at Beaconsfield Carriage House in Charlottetown. It was a Jane Austin themed tea, if I do recall. We all had a wonderful afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed Katherine’s hospitality and tea. I later became a regular customer of hers at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, and I always enjoyed my weekly chats with Katherine.
Over the years many things have changed in my life, including living in Toronto for several years, but one thing that has remained consistent is my love of Lady Baker’s Tea. I would always seek it out when I came home for summer vacations. Then after moving back to Charlottetown in the summer of 2015, I made a vow to only drink good quality loose-leaf tea. That’s when I started buying 500g bags of our favourite teas. I would drop off my empty bag at the market on a Saturday and then pick up my bag filled with delicious tea the following week. Great service, and it made it easy to keep the cupboard well stocked.
In the spring of 2018, I made the decision to leave the job I was in. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do, but knew that the job was causing too much stress for me (and in turn my family) so something needed to change. My husband asked me one day what I thought that I would do. I said I didn’t know. He then asked me what I loved, and at that moment the only thing that I could think of that I loved was tea, so I blurted out “Tea, I love tea!” He turned and looked at me seriously and asked if I had ever considered talking to Katherine at Lady Baker’s Tea. I laughed and then we moved on to other things. Over the next few weeks, the idea of contacting Katherine was in the back of my mind, and finally one day I sat down and composed an email to her. I mentioned that I was leaving my current job, and that I was just putting it out into the universe that I was looking for something new. Katherine emailed me back almost immediately, and while she didn’t have anything available at the time, she invited me to stop by The Abbey, the new location that they had just moved into, and have a cup of tea. So the next week, I ventured down to The Abbey, located in the basement of the Kirk of St. James in Charlottetown, and had a lovely cup of tea and a chat with Katherine.
I half-heartedly looked for work over the summer, but in reality I really needed the break, and enjoyed the summer with family and friends, and decided that I would start my job search in earnest in the fall. Close to the end of August, I received an email from Katherine asking me if I was still interested in working at Lady Baker’s Tea, and I said that I certainly was. That led to me starting work at The Abbey on September 4, 2018, and I have never looked back. Initially we struggled to come up with a job title for me other than Administrative Tea Lover, but Katherine has recently decided on Operations Manager. It basically means that I do a little bit of everything, and that is what I love about the job. Some days I am packaging tea, some days I get to blend teas, other days consist of filling orders for our online store or wholesale customers, other days are more administrative work on newsletters or label orders, and usually it is a little bit of all of the above. The Tea Team at Lady Baker’s have all been so welcoming. It has been a wonderful tea-filled year.