Monthly career goals.
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Every month we speak to inspiring women in the region and get them to share how they have navigated their professional and personal curveballs.
Tania Lodi, founder of the very Instagrammable Tania’s Teahouse, wanted to create a friendly and stylish hub for socialising. Located on Jumeirah Beach Road, it serves an array of quirky teas such as Socie-tea Snob, Detox Tea-tox and Don’t Chai This at Home. Brought over from Toronto, Tania has custom-blended each tea herself, but you can also grab a great cup of coffee with a side of some of their delicious cakes or savoury treats.
Below, Tania talks us through her concept and dishes out some advice for those who are looking to enter the competitive F&B industry.
What did you study at university?
I did a Bachelor of Honors in psychology because I was super interested in studying the complexities of human behaviour- it really pays off when pursuing a customer-facing job.
What was your first job?
Self-employed with my own cupcake and cake business in high school called “Cupcake Couture”. I also interned as a graphic designer for JWT.
Where did the idea for Tania’s Teahouse come from?
I wanted to create an aesthetic, feel-good space which was unlike any place in Dubai. Filled with on-trend themes, tea knowledge, good food, and good vibes. I studied in Toronto and was inspired by cafe culture there, and I love puns, so I thought of having menu items which were fun- there are so many places in Dubai you have to stand out! I also liked the idea of board-game/bookshelf walls, so I added that element here, and the notion of doing fun workshops/classes.
What are the key elements of your role?
Brand development, menu (F&B management- seasonal items, new items, removing items), aesthetics (overall look and feel, maintenance of theme, changing up etc), customer experience management, staff management, business growth and social media management.
Talk us through your daily routine.
I wake up and make coffee or tea before going through my emails. Then I put on some music to get me pumped for the day and get ready. As soon as I arrive at the cafe I check on service, food quality, social media, talk with our team and see how things are going. Then it’s a catch up meetings with kitchen manager, operations manager, marketing and events manager. Then I take 22720 tea/coffee breaks and work on my laptop. In the evenings I watch Netflix with my husband before going to sleep and then wake up to do it all again.
Which brands can we find in your work wardrobe?
Lots of Nike and Puma, basics from Zara and Mango. My favourite store is & Other Stories.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
The 5 by 5 rule. Don’t spend more than 5 minutes ruminating about something you won’t care about 5 years from now.
And what was the worst?
Be fearless. That’s fundamentally impossible as a human being, you’re just kidding yourself if you think you’re fearless. Fear is what drives you, motivates you, and pushes you! As an entrepreneur you’re scared as hell of the chance of your business failing, crappy customers, and the daily nuances that occur multiple times a day in running a cafe (suppliers showing up late, wrong items, wrong orders, utility problems, etc). If you stay deluded and ignore things around you, you will be emotionless. Instead learn to handle things, prioritise things, deprioritized other things, filter out negativity and develop the heart and brain to manage things in a healthy manner.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
Getting over people pleasing and having a very soft heart- you can’t be like that in this line of business. People are full of opinions, and social media is a festering stew of negativity, self-entitlement, and criticism. I had to learn to toughen up, not let things get to me, and to get through things without catastrophizing them in my head, otherwise I’d loose my sanity!
What advice would you give to those hoping to do the same?
When starting your own business, make sure you engage in plenty of self-care. Being in this industry can be draining, stressful, and overwhelming, and mental health is super important, and you have to make time for yourself. Engage in deep breathing, yoga, meditation- whatever helps you get through the day! Even the little things like treating yourself to a manicure, taking an hour out of the day to read a book, or watch a new show.