April's Campfire Chats: Big Heart Tea

Big Heart Tea's Blushing Tea featured in the XO Marshmallow, marshmallow of the month club

Welcome to the our first campfire chat! If you're already subscribed to our Marshmallow of the Month Club subscription box, then you know we've been highlighting a different womxn owned business each month. Each box comes with marshmallows and something extra from a womxn owned business that we are proud to support and think you'd love!

This month our subscription boxes included a box of Blushing Tea from Big Heart Tea Co -- a womxn owned tea company based in St. Louis. We'd been big fans of Big Heart Tea long before our cafe opened in 2017. We were customers, first -- it made total sense that when we opened our cafe, we would have their tea available for retail.
We recently sat down (virtually, of course) with founder of Big Heart Tea, Lisa Govro, to find out more about her company, what inspires here, and her favorite marshmallows!

Kunthearath Nhek-Morrissey, VP Operations (left) and Lisa Govro, Founder (right) sitting in the Big Heart Tea Warehouse

Tell us a little about your company. How did you get started?

After a meditation retreat in rural Washington State, I met a turmeric farmer from Hana, Hawaii. We bonded over the life-changing health benefits of turmeric. Two weeks later, I received a gift: 10 pounds of the freshest, juiciest turmeric rhizomes I’d ever touched. After staining every counter in my kitchen orange, I discovered what is known today as “Cup of Sunshine” – an herbal infusion of fresh turmeric, ginger, peppercorn and spices. There was just one problem. At the time, turmeric (and all healing herbs, for that matter) was almost exclusively the realm of well-heeled yogis and new age-y types. This made me ask: Why should something as basic as the use of food as medicine remain so lofty and inaccessible to the average consumer? So, in 2012, I began selling my flagship tea, Cup of Sunshine, out of a mobile tea parlor, housed in a 1969 Wigwam camper. Curious customers from all walks of life approached the trailer with wonder and stayed for a cup of tea. What began as a dreamy experiment quickly turned into a successful lifestyle business, as the concept filled the community’s need for a more modern and imaginative tea company. After 4 successful years serving the St. Louis community, I felt validated that our company’s market potential was much greater, and re-envisioned the brand with the launch of Big Heart Tea Co. in 2017.

What is your company mission statement? Are you supporting any social good causes?

Big Heart Tea Co. is a St. Louis-based, woman-owned tea company on a covert mission to make people feel good, with the power of healing herbs. Women get stuff done. As change-makers and action-takers, the boss babes at Big Heart Tea Co. are always working to do what we do better, in support of the people who help us along the way: the communities that embrace us, and the environment we draw our resources from. We’re making our best effort to do the right thing on a holistic level. This means being diligent in everything we do while we grow as a company. One of the things we pay closest attention to is Operations: it has to work in concert with our financial strategies while also staying rooted in our values. So as the retail market asked for more tea bags, we carefully chose tea bags and box liners are non-toxic and compostable. As we expanded our reach, we made sure our local partners stayed signed on for the ride. And when we wanted to expand our products, we were faced with the unethical old ways of doing trade in tea and spice — but we refused ingredients that weren't traceable or coming from a place of health. So even as we've grown, we haven't backed down on putting our beliefs into action. We're not tacking them on as an afterthought or a hashtag. They're infused into who we are. That's how we ensure the highest quality product and service to our customers. We transform our organic, direct trade ingredients into delicious tea with the help of our team, equipment, and data. And along the way, we celebrate milestones, keep on learning, and move beyond our mistakes with big, light hearts.

A flatlay of all the different variations of big heart tea

What is your favorite part of owning a business? Least favorite?

Fave part is working with amazing, value driven people everyday. The sucky part is that I'm always working or thinking about work.

What is one piece of advice you would give for someone starting a business?

This work is not for the light hearted. It's hard work and for every amazing achievement there is probably a mountain of failures in the background (this is nice because it keeps you grounded/ humble). Basically, make sure you REALLY love what you are about ready to dedicate your life too. If you don't authentically believe that your product or service can change the world maybe think twice.

Why is important for more womxn to become founders?

We need more examples of strong women leading successful companies with heart and empathy.

Where do you find sources of inspiration?

I'm inspired by strangers walking on the street, the sweet voice moms have when they're talking to their babies, random acts of loving kindness, all the sensory experiences that come with travel, and the color yellow.

Big Heart Tea founders finding inspiration

What is your favorite product you make? Why?

I didn't start a tea company back in 2012. I started a turmeric company. For the first year we only sold one tea - Cup of Sunshine. I'm in love with the herb. Seeing it makes my heart sing. It has a tremendous power to heal too. I like to say it's the best friend you never knew you had.

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

Just a bigger and better version of who we are today.

Kunthearath Nhek-Morrissey, VP Operations (left) and Lisa Govro, Founder (right) sitting with a cup of big heart tea

What is a quote or mantra you live by?

I play it cool and dig all jive, that's the reason I stay alive. My motto as I live and learn, is dig and be dug in return. - Langston Hughes

What is your ideal s'more? Or hot cocoa?

Hot cocoa with turmeric and cinnamon, duh.

Cup of love tea being poured

Wasn't it super fun spilling the tea with Big Heart Tea? We each have our favorite BHT go to. Lindzi's is the Edith Grey (topped with a lavender marshmallow, of course) and Kat is obsessed with a cold brewed Cup of Sunshine (with a dollop of ooey marshmallow goodness). 
Find Big Heart Tea online and on Instagram at @bighearttea.
Who should we chat with next? Are there any womxn owned businesses we should partner with for our Marshmallow of the Month Club? 
XO Marshmallow Blog Signature featuring Lindzi Shanks and Kat Connor