Part of what makes our products extra special is that each has a real story behind it. We work with so many inspiring artists and makers, and we love that our customers get a chance to meet them on the blog. One of our newest is Scout Urling, the creator of our Cold Weather Comfort Tea Gift Set, Good Morning Tea Gift Set, and Chocolate Lover Hot Chocolate Gift Set – all fresh additions to our assortment. Scout has always followed her own path, starting as a creative child and ending up as an entrepreneur. Now, she has her own business sending soothing teas and delicious hot chocolate sets all over the country. All of the ingredients she uses are sourced from local farmers, and she supports independent artistry with the packaging of her products as well. Read on to learn from Scout about becoming a business-owner, the goddess Athena, and the power of animal puns.
Tell us about your background. Did you always know you wanted to be a maker of some kind?
I grew up playing outside and always loved making “food” out of plants that grew around the house – luckily none were poisonous! 🙂 My mom is a teacher and an artist so she always had amazing art supplies for my sister and I to work with. Making things has always been something I love doing but I never thought I’d be able to make a career out of it. Although, I never thought I’d be a business owner either!
What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional maker and bringing your business to life?
For me, becoming professional happened fairly slowly. I started at our local farmers market and on Etsy. It was always a beloved hobby that grew from one corner of our kitchen to literally taking over our whole house. 🙂 One day, maybe about a year after we had built a shop and decided to move into selling our teas and chocolates wholesale, my friend asked me, “Do you ever think about how many people are drinking your teas right now?” I honestly hadn’t and when I did I was so overwhelmed with the thought of all the people out in the world drinking Flying Bird tea, it brought tears to my eyes. I thought about all of the stories that had been shared with us about our teas being part of very important and intimate parts of peoples lives. I tried to imagine all of the people in the world I was somehow sharing an experience with, even just starting and closing their day, and I was overwhelmed and honored. It was amazing.
What first inspired you to create your tea and hot chocolate sets, and how did your original idea grow?
Our herbal teas are inspired by years of learning about plants and how they can be a part of our lives and wellness. From there I fell in love with all types of tea from all over the world. I’ve always loved a good cup of hot chocolate, so putting together all those things was a natural progression. Putting them into sweet gift boxes is everything I love combined into one thing. Not only do I love sharing our teas and chocolates, I love thinking about people receiving and opening a box of something beautiful that we’ve created.
Tell us more about how your teas are made. What made you decide to partner with local farmers?
Our teas are made in our shop in Bellingham, WA. We blend everything by hand – even the tea that gets put into teabags. When it comes to sourcing, it just made sense to look first to my friends in the local farming community. Many of them I knew from working on their farms while I was in college. It felt so good supporting my friends and community, but even more it was simply the best way to offer the freshest and highest quality ingredients to our customers.
And your lovely packaging – how did those designs come about?
I am so, so very lucky! When I first decided I was going to start a business, I saw a poster for a local music event. I had no doubt in my mind that this designer was the only choice for Flying Bird. Carly of Bison Bookbinding & Letterpress is so amazing and now is one of my best friends. She loves our teas and chocolates and she even loves me, too. 🙂 I think this love really comes through in our labels. They feel authentic because they are. I am so lucky that I can work with someone who knows exactly what I want and can create such beautiful designs for us that truly represent what we are about.
Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near as you work? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
Ha! Well there are many and they come and go. My sister used to make these amazing little creatures from upcycled sweaters. When I was pretty stressed out and overwhelmed she sent me this little shrew named Pallas after the goddess Athena – who is also known as Pallas. She even sent me a little pouch to put her in and wear her and I did. It was really funny and sweet and definitely lifted my spirits. I also always keep a little cluster of Hawthorne Flower by my desk. It’s an herb that I always harvest every year even though we’ve outgrown my ability to harvest enough for using in our teas. It reminds me to listen to my heart and stay true to who I am and make decisions from that place.
What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?
I’m not sure if there is just one, but the two concepts that drive our business are: Planet and People over Profit, and Being a Source of Beauty in the World. It makes it easy to make decisions when you ask yourself how it fits within those two guidelines and it feels good too. We also keep our Frida Clements pun prints above the main work station and they are also good for a laugh even in the most frustrating circumstances. Our favorites are “For Fox Sake” and “Oh Whale.”