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Featured Alumni Entrepreneur: Margaret (Jones) Gay ’13

Featured Alumni Entrepreneur: Margaret (Jones) Gay ’13

Margaret GayAfter receiving a box brand tea bag in a cup of hot water (that cost me $3) and looking over at my husband’s delicious latte, I realized there was a huge gap in the cafe space for the tea drinker in my region (New Hampshire/New England). Coffee drinkers get the luxury of espresso, lattes, cold brew, and nitro cold brew, often made with beans from a local coffee roaster, while the tea drinker typically gets a tea bag that can be found on a grocery store shelf. I was frustrated that there were not more unique and ‘luxury’ options for tea made by local blenders.

My frustrations only increased as I learned that most tea bags contain a plastic polymer called polypropylene or an epoxy resin called epichlorohydrin. Polypropylene is a plastic that begins to degrade when exposed to high temperatures. The sources I discovered during my research suggest that it is bad for the endocrine system, as it can cause genetic mutations and tumors, and that it is also bad for the reproductive system, causing fertility problems. Epichlorohydrin, a chlorinated epoxy compound that is used as an industrial solvent, is not only a strong skin irritant, but also a known carcinogen. Studies have has shown it to cause cancer in animals, impair fertility and weaken immune function. I decided there had to be a better option that didn’t include a harmful tea bag.

In February 2018, I came up with the idea for 27Teas (www.27teas.com), a loose leaf tea company providing delicious tea, tea blends and herbal tisanes to the New England area. I started sourcing, tasting, blending and experimenting. I also thought about how I wanted the overall brand and business to look and feel. When I decided to start 27Teas, I knew I wanted to be a part of something bigger and make a positive impact through my business.

I decided to start with the basics. What was the main ingredient in a cup of tea? Water. Clean and safe drinking water. Did you know that there are 2.1 billion people around the world who lack access to this basic human necessity? I wanted to help change this through social entrepreneurship. 27Teas donates 10 percent of profits to sustainable clean water and sanitation solutions. Our customers are not only buying the best teas sourced from throughout the world, but they are also helping to fulfill a critical need.

It is my hope that, by buying tea from 27Teas, you know that you are supporting more than just a small business. It is a way to share the experience of slowing down life, if only for a moment, to enjoy a cup of tea. It is also a way to make a real impact on this world.

If you would like to try some tea, buy a monthly tea subscription or give tea as a gift, you can find our full selection at www.27teas.com. You can also follow along on our journey on Instagram @27Teas or Facebook @27TeasLLC.

Margaret Jones Gay

After graduating from Whitman School of Management in 2013, Margaret Gay (Jones) took a job at a defense contractor working in supply chain. She knew she was destined to start her own business but the idea just never seemed to come. She received her MBA in 2015 and kept pondering her entrepreneurial passion. She decided to start making lists of things she loved and was passionate about. After a few frustrating experiences at local cafes, she realized the need for a loose leaf tea blender in the New Hampshire area, and 27Teas was born. After six years in her corporate job, and one year of working on 27Teas nights and weekends, she quit her corporate job to work on her venture full time.
Margaret Jones Gay

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1 comment on “Featured Alumni Entrepreneur: Margaret (Jones) Gay ’13

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  1. Congrats on your new venture. Glad to see someone applying their knowledge.
    John Czyz, Whitman class of 2008