~ Jeddah’s Tea ~

Morgan Siegel
2908 Arnold Rd.
Durham, NC 27707
email – click here

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoorHow did you hear about Slow Money NC?
I first heard about NC Slow Money NC though Felipe Witchger, who recommended that I contact you. He has supported efforts through this channel, and thought that I may garner more support within this network. Shortly thereafter, our friends at Cocoa Cinnamon echoed the suggestion, as they have built great relationships and received support via Slow Money NC.

Tell us your story. Who are you? What is your business idea? Tell us your plan. Feel free to get into the details.
I am the founder of Jeddah’s Tea, an artisanal tea company based in Durham, NC. I am 1/2 of a husband-and-wife team that combines passions for tea, social activism and community and aim to create a space where all people can come together over a great cup of tea. Growing up in homes deeply steeped in tea culture, we love and appreciate the many roles a cup of tea can play: the reconciler, the peacekeeper, the comforter, the storyteller and the sage. Bringing our brand of love and comfort to the people of NC is a dream come true, and we’re happy to announce that we will be opening a modest tearoom in Downtown Durham this summer. We are hoping to introduce communities and use authentic, traditional tea blends as segues to conversations and reconciliation between our communities.

We will serve an array of organic & fair-trade traditional teas, blended in-house, with multiple preparation options. We will offer small bites and baked goods from local bakers, will feature local coffee, and blend our teas with local ingredients available. We will also aim to promote our teas through an e-commerce channel to garner a larger audience and hope to serve as a model for community-impact rooted spaces .

Please briefly describe your commitment to sustainable food systems in North Carolina.
We use local farms whenever at all possible, in order to further stimulate and sustain the local food economy. This not only pertains to the herbs and spices to be blended with our teas, but also the milk for our tea lattes, the baked goods procured from our partners, and the coffee roasters from who we source.

What will your sales be? What do you anticipate your profits/your margins will look like? How will you make the money to pay this loan back?
We have created a sales forecast, with the help of Geraud Staton at The Helius Foundation (we recently completed his program) and Self-Help Credit Union. Factors in these findings include sales-to-date, location of tearoom, current foot traffic patterns, market trends, development, and seasonal ebb & flow. Monies to repay potential loans will be made via retail store, external markets, and occasional pop-up events. If more information is needed, please let us know.

Have you borrowed money before? How much did you borrow? From where? How long was the term? Is there a balance still due on that loan?
I have just completed a successful $10,000.00 Kiva crowdlending campaign (as of 3/9/19). It is a zero-interest loan with 36-month terms. Funds will be distributed in the next 5 business days, and will go directly toward production equipment. Loan repayment installments of $277.78/mo will begin May 2019.

Prior to that, we did not borrow any money.

Do you have people who would vouch for your credit worthiness? Who are they?
Geraud Staton (Helius Foundation)
DeDreana Freeman (City of Durham)
Megan George (The ZEN Succulent)
Ali Rudel (East Durham Bake Shop)
Ben Filippo (East Durham Bake Shop)
Adam Klein (Capital Broadcasting Group)
David Sadeghi (People’s Coffee)
Pierce Freelon (Blackspace)
Rachel Wexler (Downtown Durham, Inc)

Tell us about your business background. Have you been in business before?
I launched a textile design company in 2016, and brought to market a simple F/W capsule wardrobe comprised of solid print, organic cotton pieces for women. I had a successful season, and was very pleased at our success. However, I did not have access to capital through traditional avenues, and didn’t want to risk the financial well-being of my family to pursue a full-fledged career in something that I wasn’t uber-passionate about. In fact, it was over a cup of Darjeeling in Faridabad, India (where I had a small production center) that I decided to pursue my passion, and take the time to plan, strategize, learn and develop Jeddah’s Tea. Here we are!

How much money do you need to borrow to make your project work? How long do you think you would need to pay that back?
I am seeking funding to purchase additional equipment for the tearoom, purchase more inventory, hire 2 employees and pay living-wage from day 1 and have a bit of working capital for the inevitable “last minute” expenses that always arise in the process.  [Contact Morgan or Carol directly for this information.]

Are there other lenders involved in your project or business?: No.

What is your timeline for this project? Would you like it to start in a month? 6 months? A year?
I would like for fundraising to begin immediately, as construction and build-out are currently underway, andwe are set to get the keys June 1, 2019.

more photos here!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, food and indoor