Lisa Li, 37, LiaoNing (about 8 hours drive northeast of Beijing).
Growing up overseas was both humbling and nurturing. My dad ran away not long after I was born so that was rough for my mom and I, it was not common then and there for couples to get a divorce nor to be raised by a single mom. But I got a lot of extra love from my mom and grandma as a result. Then moving to Vermont at the age 14 and not speaking any English was a huge culture shock, but no matter where I was I always had family dinners everyday whether it's just my mom and I or with my extended families.
Tea for sure. Then dumplings, dumplings, dumplings, 锅贴, Baozi, thick noodles, and all kinds of seafood as the coastal city I grew up in was surrounded by both fresh water and salt water.
The Qi is my love letter to the world. Spending most of my childhood with my grandma who had tea with me often while my single mom was working F/T, tea time is really close to my heart. Then after working in fashion for 10+ years, feeling burnt out and wanting to go back to a time and place where I felt nourished The Qi was born out of that desire. I discovered the Rose tea in Shangri-la, Yunnan by accident during a sourcing trip for PuEr tea and well… the rest is history. So I totally got into the beverage industry by chance. My mission is helping people feel more joy, beauty, and love again through flower teas of course.
It was definitely a weird and challenging time in the beginning with so much fear, unknown and everyone was hoarding a lot of toilet paper, but I've been through much more challenging times. I definitely learned a lot. It also forced me to be braver, to stand up and offer a sense of hope to our community trough our flower teas. It hyper accelerated my personal and the company's growth.
To be incredibly flexible like water but also strong enough to penetrate rocks. This I quote Bruce Lee.
HOT POT! I don't care the month of the year when this finally happens. I really miss eating out at AAPI restaurants that offer family style dishes and sharing from the same plates and bowls with friends. That communal and homey feeling.
We have some pretty exciting launches coming up. One being a collaboration with my friend and glassware designer Sophie Lau Jacobsen that we've been working on for over a year… Stay tuned!