I was born & raised in Michigan. After graduation from Michigan State University with a BA in Economics & Org Psychology, I headed down to Texas. That's where (in 1994) I met & married my husband Stuart. Together we raised 2 incredible sons, Sterling & Caleb.
My career, for the first 12 years, was in the medical sales field. Then, I honestly stumbled into business ownership by forming and opening the Massage Institute in Dallas. I would eventually sell the school and a few years later decide entrepreneurship was definitely still in my blood. In 2006, I created Sterling Tea.
I started Sterling Tea 2005 in my kitchen as a hobby. Later we opened Sterling Tea Shop both in my hometown of Rockwall, Texas. Sterling Tea is one of only a handful of specialty tea blenders in Texas.
I am proud to say that we have become a thriving US tea importing and manufacturing company. Sterling Tea blends over 200 teas and herbs helping hundreds of food service companies. We like to say that we help them serve and sell an even better cup of premium loose-leaf tea to their customers. Our customers include restaurants, cafes and upscale retailers throughout the US, as well as nonprofit organizations such as Meals on Wheels and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
I graduated from the Specialty Tea Institute and received my certification in 2007. I also successfully completed the Goldman Sach's 10,000 program in 2016 and recently published my first book fulfilling a lifelong dream. My book the “Ease of Tea” is designed to help tea lovers enjoy a perfect cup of tea every day!e Summit in 2016, and the second last year, included classes taught by panels of experts on various sustainable topics, such as energy efficiency, growing your own food, getting chemical pollution out of your home; and a trade show of personally invited businesses. 2019’s Summit had 11 classes and 40 tables, each from a different green category. The keynote speaker was an inspiring friend from Australia - look up his website NevHouse.com to see several creative solutions to global problems.
I am often asked how I got into the tea business. My answer is always the same. It started with my dear aunt. Irene Sterling Boltz (Auntie Rene, as we all affectionately call her) was a beautiful and classy lady who was born in the late 1920’s in Detroit, Michigan.
Growing up, my family visited her house often. I clearly remember the visit she first introduced me to tea. I was just starting to appreciate and understand her opulent lifestyle; pretty dresses, lovely china patterns and antique furniture that (of course) I was not allowed to touch.
Here I was... an 8-year-old little girl in her pristine home quietly sitting with her on the living room couch. Auntie Rene got up, went to the kitchen & returned with 2 flowery porcelain china teacups & an English style teapot. She set them down on the table in front of me & filled the cups with hot water. Handing me a tea bag with a red rose on the package, she instructed me to place it in the cup.
I watched as the water transformed to a beautiful amber hue. I was mesmerized! Auntie Rene asked me if I would like a little milk in my tea and then she offered me a couple little sugar cubes. Dropping one cube into the hot tea, I lightly stirred it with a tiny spoon as it slowly dissolved. She told me to blow on the brew to make sure it had cooled a little & then to take a drink. At first sip, my body was warmed with delight & my love affair with tea began.
Sadly my aunt Rene passed away in June 2020 and I miss her so much. In her later years, she needed full-time care and she moved in with me and my family. I am grateful I had that time together. Her spirit still lives on with every cup of tea I pour.
When I talk about tea, I really wish to share my knowledge and experience with those who want to learn more about the benefits of this wonderful beverage. I also hope to educate & encourage small business entrepreneurs who are starting their own tea venture, or who want to add tea to their current offerings like Regenrus has done.
Since I first started, Sterling Tea, I have found that “tea people” (those who love tea) are the nicest people. I’ve yet to encounter a tea enthusiast who is rude or unkind especially while sipping a cup of their favorite brew. Tea people seem to gravitate to each other with an understanding that they are part of a movement of individuals who love the taste of tea and the way that it makes them feel. They are choosing to make a healthier beverage decision for themselves and their families.
How did your Purpose lead you to Regenrus?
I met Cindy and her son Jason in 2009 at a business expo that had an 70's theme party. We began working together as Cindy's technology company GSATi helped me develop a new sales channel for my tea company, Violet Tea.
We’ve grown into very close friends over the last decade or so. As our businesses changed & grew, we always found ways to support one another and look for ways to continue to partner together. I love and use Regenrus products and our purposes align. It just makes sense for us to partner together to develop a line of wellness teas. I have a deep & amazing love & respect for Cindy. If Cindy’s involved with it…I am on board!