Notting Hill, London- Emma FitzGerald, creator of The Leaf Collective, believes if you have time for tea, you have time to meditate. She took some time to answer our questions about her journey with tea, mindfulness, and growing The Leaf Collective.
How did The Leaf Collective start?
I remember feeling restless in my early 30s. I
“Beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living within that way of life.” – Hunter S. Thompson
Developing The Leaf Collective (TLC) is the realisation of a life that I envisage would make me happy – one of simplicity, authenticity and connection. I wanted to share this to help others and tea seemed like the perfect way to do that.
How did your journey with tea begin and how did you get to where you are today?
Tea has always been a major feature in my life. Drinking tea is my go-to for feeling better, relaxing, socialising, catching up, waking up, cheering up, getting over illness and connecting with people. I start and end every day with tea.
My academic background in genetics, biosciences and health education research combined with a passion for herbal nutrition, yoga and meditation naturally lead me to wanting to work within the natural health and wellbeing industry. Creating TLC allowed me to combine all of my personal and professional interests.
I have spent many years researching the positive effects of tea and meditation on the body and mind and recognised the following:
- Complex herbal formulas made up of fortifying plants, roots, fruits, flowers, and spices have endless potential to tackle a multitude of complaints and health issues, in a natural, organic way.
- Good quality fluids are essential to every function of the human body.
mindand body areinextricably linked, such that balance in both is essential for our good health.
With these in mind, I set out to develop a range of teas that do more and devised a way for us to get more out of our tea time through an accompanying tea break meditation series. I believe, if we spent as much time meditating as we do drinking tea we would all be better equipped to cope with the stresses in our daily lives. There’s always time for tea, so it couldn’t be a simpler!
Tell us about your relationship with yoga and Ayurveda.
I trained in martial arts from a young age, which introduced me to yoga and meditation. I didn’t know until later how much the regular practice and discipline benefited me throughout my teenage years, both physically and mentally. Because of this training, I was able to cope with stress, maintain a healthy body and a focused mind. Though I eventually gave up my martial arts practice to study biomedical and natural sciences, I continued to practice yoga and meditation regularly. Plant-based medicine and the holistic health approaches that make up the Ayurvedic way of life really made sense to me and these principles have inspired my personal health choices, company ethos
There’s a huge theme of wellness and mindfulness throughout your brand. How and why did you blend that with the tea you offer?
Tea drinking is so familiar to us [in the UK]that most of us wouldn’t go a whole day without it. I see the ritual of tea drinking and practicing a few minutes of mindfulness as simple but powerful ways to equally care for the body and mind. These practices can be used immediately, are inclusive, inexpensive, and offer positive short term then long term results – therefore, an amazing opportunity to improve the general health of millions of people.
What’s your mission?
My mission is to inspire simple changes that will have a
Talk to us about your tea blends. Is there a reason behind each blend and name?
TLC’s award winning tea tonic collection is an exciting range of ethically sourced, ‘smarter’ herbal tea blends, that offer bold, globally inspired flavours and functionality. A purposeful tea range, rooted in modern nutritional science and traditional Ayurvedic/herbal medicine. Inspired by the cross cultural practices of tea drinking, ceremony, yoga and meditation, expertly blended to nourish and complement the whole person, mind, body and emotions.
Our tea tonics are 100% organic, plant-based, vegan, free from GMO, preservatives, flavourings and added sugars. Each blend encapsulates the holistic health principles of Ayurveda through carefully selected antioxidant teas, flavoursome botanicals and powerful adaptogens – an elite class of super herbs that help the body adapt to stress,aid gut health, immunity, sleep, physical endurance, cognition and a balanced mood, naturally restoring harmony in the body and mind.
The blends are playfully named after various yoga postures that act on the body, mind and overall mood in a similar way to the herbs within each tea tonic.
In developing the range, I collaborated with academic colleagues and nutritional scientists as well as master tea and herb blenders. I researched all of the ingredients and set myself the task of creating a range of ethical and functional blends with premium botanicals, rounded full flavours, and exciting herb combinations that are both delicious and work for you. Although my range is only small (five blends) there are over 35 herbs packed into them, all sourced from organic small estates across the world.
You offer a monthly tea subscription, tell us about that.
The monthly subscription is designed to create a home mindful tea ritual experience. Members receive tea each month, paired with resources to begin a mindfulness meditation practice at home. The mindful retreat package also includes additional holistic gifts, carefully selected to further enhance the experience.
What type of green/responsible initiatives does The Leaf Collective support?
I endeavour to source all ingredients from the most reputable sources. Promoting green values, health and wellbeing is integral to the brand and it’s my aim to deliver that on all levels of operation so it’s not just a benefit exclusively for the end user.
All packaging, including tea bags are biodegradable, compostable and recyclable. Hand-blended in the UK using ethically sourced ingredients from organic farms where growing practices are in harmony with nature – protecting workers, preserving ecosystems, soil, water and wildlife.
I’m very proud to have partnered with One Tree Planted, a global reforestation organisation. TLC will be donating a percentage of monthly online profits to planting trees, regular updates on our planting progress and tree count will be available on our blog/social soon.
We’ll also be supporting and donating to various mental health charities this year, to further contribute to tackling the biggest health issue of our time.
What’s your vision for the future?
I envisage TLC to develop into a lifestyle brand. Exploring new ways to improve health, ways that are natural, empowering self-care through simple rituals. I would like to expand our collective to work with like minded businesses and individuals to develop the ritual of tea into a truly recognised wellbeing practice, to nourish, heal, transform lives, bring people together personally and collectively. We will continue to focus on promoting quality, practicing and processing conscientiously and making a difference to the health of tea drinkers and beyond through tea and mindfulness.