09 May Brewing Creativity: Meet Paru Tea’s Founder Amy Truong
I am so excited to announce Paru Tea is Women’s Voices in Tech’s June event sponsor! This is a great opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and investors, and we will be talking about raising capital for your startup as a woman founder. You can read more about the event’s speakers here and get your ticket here.
I asked Paru’s founder, Amy Truong, to share the how and why of building a company that brings together her creativity and love of tea. Here’s what she told me.
Aurora Meneghello: I am so excited to have you on board as a sponsor for our next Women’s Voices in Tech event with Code District! Can you tell me a bit about your journey to entrepreneurship?
Amy Truong: Thank you! I’m honored to be a part of Women’s Voices in Tech. Ever since I was a child, I was interested in starting different businesses. I even started selling mixed CDs in middle school!
After graduating from UC Irvine, I worked in sales, consulting, and a few start-ups. Even though I gained a lot from these experiences, I felt like something was missing. I thought it would be a good time to venture off and do something that I could put my heart into.
Aurora: How did you get so passionate about tea?
Amy: There are so many cool coffee shops out there, but I want to see more places where tea is the speciality. There are tea rooms, which are great, but few of them have that modern feel.
I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker. This is probably due, at least in part, to my mother being an avid tea drinker. Our family home was always filled with different types of teas, mostly herbal. I was inspired by the different health benefits.
Tea, for me, is also a creative outlet. When I started to work in more creative fields as an adult, I noticed how beautiful tea is when prepared properly, and I wanted to share this experience with others.
Aurora: What is special about the teas you create at Paru Tea Bar?
Amy: Two things: 1. I use ingredients with energizing properties. Why? I know what it’s like to work 12+ hour days, so it’s important to maintain your energy. Soda and coffee can really make you crash. Natural ingredients are the way to go.
2. In addition to promoting a healthier lifestyle, my teas and tea lattes are also very creative. Tea has a bad rep for being boring, but I believe that it can be dressed up with fresh herbs and natural sweeteners. You don’t need to load your teas with sugar.
Aurora: Can you tell me a little bit more about how you select your teas and ingredients?
Amy: For my base, I use a variety of teas, but I specialize in Earl Grey blends. I love using ingredients with naturally vibrant colors. I also incorporate superfood powders into my drinks. For example, with maqui berry, you get a beautiful purple hue. You’ll also notice that I use a variety of garnishes. Fresh slices of lemon and sprigs of mint are my go-tos.
Aurora: How do you deal with self doubt? And do you have a support system?
Amy: I have self doubt every day, but the journey that I’ve recently started makes me happy. There’s always so much to do in so little time, but I’m happy that I’m able to do something for myself.
I also have a great support system: my partner, my family, and friends. I appreciate them because it’s scary to start something of your own, knowing there’s a strong chance of failing. They do a great job in keeping me focused. I try to give back by giving them as many complimentary tea tastings as possible.
Aurora: What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt (or are learning) as you build your company?
Amy: I’ve learned that you can’t just do the “fun stuff.” There are legal restrictions and paperwork that you must go through, filing as a company, etc. I would be happy to test new recipes and shoot photos all day but to run a successful business, you have to be diligent about the more tedious details.
Aurora: Fear of financial loss is one of the major reasons many people never start their own business, even though they would like to. Do you have any tips on overcoming that fear and taking the plunge?
Amy: I’m currently bootstrapping my company because it is a passion of mine. I’m focusing on doing what I love first, and if there are those that do find interest in my teas and support what I believe in, then that’s great.
I’ve been fortunate enough to save a bit of money over the years. In addition to networking, saving is something I strongly recommend. I’m also consulting part-time to be able to afford upfront costs until I am able to get the business up and running full time.
Aurora: What is next for you and Paru Tea Bar? And where can people get your tea?
Amy: I have plans to partner up with local shops in San Diego. In a few months, I’ll be hosting “secret” pop-ups in select cities.
If you’d like to order tea for small gatherings, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I currently have a waiting list but am looking forward to planning new events in the near future.
Come meet Amy in person and taste Paru tea at Women’s Voices in Tech #2: How to Acquire Capital for Your Startup on June 5th, at WeWork Playa Vista.
Amy Truong is the founder of Paru Tea Bar, an upcoming pop-up in San Diego.. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a B.A. in International Studies and Management. Previously, Amy has worked in consulting, operations management, and creative marketing in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. When she isn’t creating new recipes for her organic tea project, you can find her traveling or hanging out with her Pomeranian, Benji.
PARU provides alternative beverages for non-coffee drinkers. Our aim is to educate people on the benefits of teas by offering modern twists on traditional drinks. We’ve designed our menu with aromatic flavors, and we use fresh and organic ingredients for energy boosts throughout the day. We’re also proud to be one of the few tea shops to offer handcrafted tapioca pearls, popularly known as “boba.” The name of our shop is borrowed from the Japanese word for pearl, “paru” (パール).