Jennifer Nowicki has always been a tea drinker. And a tea lover. And beginning Oct. 1, she’ll be poised to share her passion for tea and expertise in different kinds of teas with discerning shoppers looking for a little hands-on experience when she opens the doors of her pop-up shop, Cultivate Taste.
Nowicki owns a tea shop in Two Rivers by the same name, in addition to wholesaling tea, and is looking to the Sheboygan pop-up shop to provide her with market testing before she pulls the trigger on opening a permanent shop here.
The pop-up shop is a temporary establishment of local businesses looking to expand or open a storefront to supplement online efforts. Its purpose is twofold: give those businesses the help they need to open up a shop and test the market and to fill up some retail space that’s sitting empty. It is a project of the Harbor Centre Business Improvement District.
For Nowicki, the pop-up shop was a great opportunity to field test her tea business in a new community.
“I want to see how it goes for both during this time,” she said. “Maybe it’s expansion – that would be great. Ultimately, I need to see how it’s going.”
The format for Cultivate Taste is still being formed, but Nowicki said she envisions some combination of sales (loose-leaf tea, tea accessories and gift baskets), tea tastings and pairings, and possibly classes of some kind. For her, it makes perfect sense in an area where specialty drinks of all kinds are growing in popularity.
“You know how you can get nicer wines, craft brews?” she said. “I’d like my version of that in tea.” Nowicki is a certified tea specialist, a designation she earned from the Specialty Tea Institute in York City in 2009. She is the only person in Wisconsin with this designation. Because of her education in tea, she has been invited twice by the People’s Republic of China to participate in world tea conferences.
When she attended in March, learned about trends in the industry and toured tea fields.
Now with her connections to tea plantation owners around the world, she buys directly from them for her business in Two Rivers as well as her online retail business including an Etsy shop.
For her pop-up shop, Nowicki plans to co-host events with other local business owners and utilize social media to market the business.