When people asked, “Why 27?,” I pretty much always said, “it is a number of personal significance, and then I decided to try and number our teas and have at least 27”. That was the quick and easy answer, but there is so much more to the story…
I never wanted to tell the whole story because it disclosed my age, and that made me feel ‘unqualified’ or worried that people wouldn’t take me seriously or consider me a professional once they found out how old I was. As January comes to an end, I am once again stumbling into my birthday month, and realizing that no one cares about my age. That story I was telling myself is a bunch of baloney. So here is the real story:
When I went to college, I knew I wanted to start my own business. I went to Syracuse University’s business school and picked Entrepreneurship as one of my 3 majors. They had so many resources there if you wanted to start a business while still in school, but I told myself that I was too busy and had enough going on trying to study. After graduating, I still didn’t have a business idea but I had a lot of school debt so I did the responsible thing and got a job. I told myself that the right idea would come along and I would start a business once my finances were more stable. My employer offered to pay for my MBA so I decided to go back to school for that, once again telling myself that I would start a business down the road when the right idea came to me.
Every year for my birthday my husband and I try to get out of town and do something fun, because by the time February comes around, winter has really set in and hanging around your house is just depressing. The year I was turning 27 we went to Kennebunkport, Maine.
Birthdays always feel a bit heavy for me. Maybe it is the ending of youth, passing of time I know I can’t get back. Even though I know I will be sure to love the year ahead and age is just a number, it is sad leaving a year that I loved and realizing that I am getting older. That year I felt sad for myself that another year had come and gone and I was still so frustrated that I hadn’t started a business and had no plans in the works to become an “entrepreneur”.
So, in Maine, I finally put my foot down and told my husband this is it. I am drawing the line in the sand. This is the year I actually start a business and make my dreams a reality. No more kicking the can down the road and saying “when the right idea comes to me”. I needed to make it happen for myself. I told him that 27 would be the year that I change the course of my life. We talked about what this business would be, and I told him I loved tea so why not start something that I loved, a tea company.
Next was coming up with a name. Lots of tea companies are named after a family name (Lipton was named after its founder Sir Thomas Lipton, Bigelow was named after founder, Ruth Campbell Bigelow, you get the idea). My last name is Gay. I didn’t feel like that set myself up for the best marketing, so I kept thinking. 27 was the year that was going to change the trajectory of my life, so why not 27Teas? It was also a way to hold myself accountable, “by the time I turn 28 this business has to be a thing, because it is called 27Teas not 28Teas!”
So that’s the real story. The story that includes the limiting beliefs I had. The story that shares how much work I had to do on myself and my confidence in order to get this business off the ground. 27 may just seem like a number, but it is so much more. I hope it reminds you that you are in control of your life and have the power to make the changes needed to bring more joy. 27 will forever be the year I created the new Margaret Gay, and it also just so happens to be the year I created 27Teas too.
p.s. I have had a few people ask where I got this cool sticker in this photo. It is from StickerMule custom packaging. They are my favorite because the finish is water resistant so they can go on water bottles!