Theresa Krier is kind of a big deal, y’all. Not only was she recently named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s 15 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2015 (HUGE), she also happens to be smart as a whip, a blonde foodie, a clean eating enthusiast, a gorgeous yogi (!), and my new best friend. Okay, well maybe not yet but check out why we fell in love with her and can’t wait to see what she does (and where she goes) next!
We know you became inspired to start your tea company while working backstage at NY Fashion week. But tell us about YOU before all that! Where did you grow up? Did you always have an entrepreneurial spirit? Where did you attend college and what were you involved in? What lead you to get your MBA?
First of all, let me say thank you for naming me a BEC Badass! As a blonde who tries to eat clean, I am so honored!
I was raised in Indiana and grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. Both of my parents were entrepreneurs and encouraged us to create, and to think outside of the box. Seeing how much my parents loved life really inspired me to pursue a career and a life that I could be passionate about.
I studied Entrepreneurship and Pre-Med at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Outside of schoolwork, I spent a lot of time volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and being on the leadership team for the Earthcare club and Entrepreneurship club.
After graduating, I worked in stem cell research. After much internal contemplation and self-examination, I realized that my true passion was business – but I wanted to pursue a career in business MY way – where I could use it to make a positive impact in the world. That’s when I became certain that entrepreneurship was in my future. In order to make the change though, I realized I needed a stronger business foundation, so I went back to school to get my MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
How did you begin your career? Did you have strong women leaders along the way?
After earning my MBA I held several positions in brand management, a path I chose because it is one of the best ways to learn how to run a business. I helped manage brands like Post-it, TRESemmé and St. Ives before going out on my own and starting Big T NYC.
I have an amazing, strong female mentor who started out as my career coach and is now my advisor and friend. She played a critical role in my leap from the corporate world to the entrepreneurial world.
What inspires your tea flavors and combinations? How do you enjoy your tea? Hot? Cold? Sweetener? Milk?
The first things that I think about when creating new tea blends are the ingredients and flavors that will best complement the tea itself. My goal is to enhance the tea experience, never to mask it. After that, my inspiration usually comes from food and, surprisingly, fragrance. Tea is such an aromatic beverage that you have the liberty of including ingredients you wouldn’t typically eat, like jasmine, osmanthus or rose. I love creating well-balanced yet exotic combinations that may not intuitively go together.
When it comes to adding anything else to tea – I am a purist. I drink tea both hot and cold, but I never add anything extra. I believe tea is best when enjoyed on its own. For my Big T NYC signature teas, I work hard to create unique blends that are high quality and flavorful, so you never need to add anything else.
Your tea is LOADED with awesome antioxidants, is calorie free and always organic (yay!) so obviously health is very important to you. Do you workout? What are your favorite ways to be active?
Health and wellness are very important to me. I work out three to four times per week – I like to balance intense workouts (like running and bootcamp) with slower, more mindful exercises like yoga.
What is a typical eating/drinking day like for you? Give us a timeline from wake up to bedtime! Do you have any guilty food or drink pleasures?
A typical day would be:
- Breakfast: Whole grain cereal with almond milk and a banana or sliced strawberries
- Lunch: Large chopped salad with kale, chicken and all the works (I can’t eat salad unless it’s filled with lots of extras!)
- Snack: Hummus with carrots and pita chips
- Dinner: Out with friends – we usually order several plates and share… I love this because it gives us the opportunity to try a little bit of everything. Dinner is usually complemented with a cocktail or two. I make some pretty awesome tea-infused cocktails!
I drink tea all day long. Usually about 6-8 cups each day. Tea is like amped up water. It is just as hydrating, but with more flavor and a healthy dose of beauty-boosting antioxidants.
My guilty pleasure is definitely anything carb-loaded and cheesy! Pizza, nachos, macaroni and cheese, quesadillas… you name it….
I know you love Primal Pit Paste deodorant (I can’t wait to try it). What are some other beauty and bath products you love?
Haha I do love Primal Pit Paste. It’s such a random thing to love, but you MUST try it. It’s all-natural and really works.
I’m a tinted moisturizer superfan – it’s one easy step to moisturize and even out skin tone. I like Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer. I also basically cannot live without dry shampoo. It’s perfect for day two hair that still looks great but needs a little spritz at the roots. Batiste has a good blonde one.
Without getting too personal, tell us what you will about balancing your personal life with your professional life?
My personal life and professional life are very intertwined. I love running my company, so it doesn’t really feel like “work” to me. It’s always top of mind. If I’m out with friends and see an opportunity for Big T NYC I will go for it. I don’t really shut it off. That may change as I get older and have a family, but for now this works for me.
Your products have AMAZING reviews on Amazon and you seem to have fantastic support all around you. But have you had to deal with any haters along the way? How do you stay motivated?
I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who support me. Anyone who isn’t supportive simply isn’t in my life. We only have so much time, and I choose to invest my time and effort into people who add to my life, not detract from it.
You were recently named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 15 Entrepreneurs to watch in 2015. Congratulations! HOW DID THAT FEEL?
Thank you!! It is such an honor to be named alongside the other women on that list. I had no idea it was happening until I saw a tweet by the author that led to the article. It was unreal….all of my hard work was actually being noticed! Now that awe and excitement has turned into lots of hard work and determination to live up to the recognition.
What else should we know about you and your booming business? What’s next?
This summer I’m all about cold brew tea – it’s a great alternative to iced tea. It’s actually easier to make than iced tea and brings out a more mellow, smooth flavor in tea. I am thrilled to be launching Big T NYC Cold Brew Tea Kits this month. It provides everything you need to make cold brew couture tea at home!
Theresa THANK YOU so much! We are so grateful to you for your time and your contagious passion for tea! You are a rockstar and have given us some major inspiration over at BEC!