Are you ready for Mothers Day? It’s the time of year when we all make an effort to remind Mom how special she is to us, and how much she is loved (though knowing our readers like we do, you’ve made the effort all throughout the year to treat Mom special… rrriiiight?) Here at York Durham Headwaters, we want to celebrate all moms, but especially those unsung heroes—the moms who are absolutely crushing it at being both a mom and a business owner. We’re on a mission to showcase our YDH working moms so that everyone knows how amazing they are at balancing work and family, business and children. It’s no easy thing, but they make it look like a breeze! Meet the Badass Moms of YDH.
Rebecca Brown – Clearview Tea Company
Clearview Tea Company is an oasis of calm, and a nod to simpler times on Schomberg’s historic and charming main street. Avid tea drinkers Rebecca Brown and her daughter Maggie own and operate the business together. Their mission with their business, which approached its ten-year anniversary in April, is to share the ritual, health benefits and rich traditions surrounding tea. They hope their customers will come together around the kettle, enjoy a cup of tea and take pleasure in a quiet moment of reflection.
Originally, Clearview Tea did not have a bricks-and-mortar store, and was instead a regular vendor at the Creemore farmers market. “I rented a booth and decided to start a tea company,” states Rebecca. “It was very humble beginnings.” At the time, Maggie had just finished high school, and was exploring a gap year. She would join her mother at the market every Saturday, and the pair would curate the teas they wanted, and simply spend a fun day together doing something they enjoyed.
In 2018, Rebecca opened a permanent location in Creemore, and ran that for a few years. It was last year that they moved the store to Schomberg, since Maggie had begun to take over the business, and was closer to Newmarket than Creemore. Today, Clearview Tea is one of the beloved, small-but-mighty businesses that give Schomberg its vibrant, hometown atmosphere.
Why tea? you may ask. Well, it turns out that Rebecca is a certified tea sommelier. When it comes to a good brew, she can be counted on for an expert opinion. Plus, tea is such a delightful beverage. What a wonderful way to reach customers and bond with people. “Really, anyone in the world drinks tea in some shape or form,” she points out. “There are so many different customs and rituals around tea, and it’s something that is universal. Plus, it’s good for you, which is a wonderful bonus.” Rebecca has many wonderful memories of having tea with her grandmother’s tea service, so being a purveyor of this wholesome product is a truly personal experience.
Though COVID-19 has presented a significant number of challenges, Clearview Tea has not only weathered the storm, but has been surprised to see that, despite the closure of the store, online sales remained strong. “That is one of our triumphs,” Rebecca states. “We found that people were really looking towards comfort. Tea is a definite comfort, so it was a good time for tea. It’s been an odd two years, but it’s been insightful.” Now that the shop is open again, people are returning as enthusiastically as ever. This has helped not only tea sales, but also sales of accessories, hostess gifts and other good-with-tea goodies that the store offers. Rebecca says, “Having people come through the doors has been good for the shop because they’re able to see all the tea on the shelves and will often purchase something new to take home and try. It’s an inspiration you don’t get online.”
Working as a mother-daughter duo is a unique experience, one that Rebecca and Maggie enjoy immensely. “There’s an ingrained trust,” she says. “I know her well, she knows me well, so we’re already on the same page most of the time. I think we work well off of each other. We’re very similar, and we can be brutally honest with one another, too, because we really don’t have anything to lose.”
Being in business with her daughter has also given Rebecca the unique opportunity to watch her daughter grow as a businesswoman. “I’m very proud of her,” she says. “She makes some difficult phone calls sometimes, and there are some emails that she doesn’t want to deal with. But as she does these things, it makes her a stronger woman, and a stronger businesswoman.” In fact, Maggie is a new mother herself, having had a little boy in April of 2020 and a girl in January of this year. Needless to say, she is quite busy, and the shop has had to hire somebody to be there each day. Yet still, working mom Maggie continues to do much of the ordering, invoicing and, together with Mom, decides on what blends the store will sell.
Because Maggie has become so proficient at running the business, Rebecca has made the decision to move to Nova Scotia. Despite the distance, she returns for about a week each month. “I’m still there for at least a quarter of the time,” she says. “I’m at the shop helping with packing tea and making sure that everything’s running. Maggie doesn’t go up to the shop as much with an infant to care for, but she’s still quite busy running the back end of the business.”
For a truly magical tea experience, visit mother-daughter duo Rebecca and Maggie in Schomberg at Clearview Tea Company. And wink-wink, nudge-nudge, tea and tea accessories make a wonderful Mothers Day present… jus’ sayin.’
Clearview Tea Company
314 Main St. C3, Schomberg
Story by Katherine Ryalen