Some say not all teas are created equal, which is especially true for the delicious adaptogenic blends by Lake & Oak Tea Co.
Sourced with 100% organic deliciousness, each of the blends available on their website and at select retailers is thoughtfully curated to soothe and aid a variety of ailments, and to simply make you feel good. Their founder, Meredith Youngson, leaned into her expertise in recipe development to create a line of nutritious, superfood teas. She’s well on her way to becoming a household name in the tea business.
We sat down to chat about all things tea with Youngson and what makes these blends and Lake & Oak so special.
Tell us more about yourself and what you do.
I’m Meredith—AKA Mere—the founder and nutritionist behind Lake & Oak Tea Co. We are an Ontario-based wellness brand making functional Superfood Teas & Adaptogen Blends that are most importantly pretty damn delicious! On any given week, I get my paws dirty with every part of the business: customer service, sales, marketing, content creation and managing day-to-day operations.
You have tapped into a market of teas and adaptogenic blends that are not only yummy but are good for the heart and soul. How do you come up with your blends?
Lake & Oak creations are my way of sharing my obsession for delicious food, holistic nutrition and mental health. When I create a new blend I start from the place of “what do I want to feel,” or “what do I want to taste?” and then layer in flavours and functional plant ingredients that compliment or help achieve that goal. My background in recipe development and nutrition comes into play with every product. Nutrition is key but flavour is queen! For example, with my Chaga Coconut Chai I was going for a warming, spicy chai tea, so I powered it up with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper. I also wanted it to be caffeine-free so you could enjoy it after dinner and get your chill on. I pull in adaptogens here or there that suit the flavour profile.
Your store is e-commerce based, but we love to see you all over shops and cafés across Ontario. How do you collaborate with retailers to get your products in there?
It was difficult at first, being a new tea brand in a sea of low-priced tea options and easily accessible imported tea products. Over time, by building relationships organically with our local partnerships, we have earned a great reputation for our quality products, service and our ability to stand out from the crowd. Every step of the way we listen to our customers and adapt quickly to their needs. This has helped us build relationships with old and new retailers. If their customers are happy, our suppliers are happy.
How do you keep the price so affordable, while still ethical and high-quality?
The goal with our Superfood Teas & Adaptogen Blends is to be something that you can enjoy every day as a seamless part of your wellness routine, without feeling like it’s unattainable or a luxury. This applies to the price as well. Instead of buying a $30 ashwagandha powder supplement (and probably forgetting to use it) our adaptogen-curious customers might enjoy a delicious cup of Ashwagandha + Chill tea a couple of times a day, which also provides the benefit of easing stress and promoting relaxation.
While we source 100% organic ingredients and the highest quality possible, we mindfully create blends with both humble and luxury ingredients giving a more approachable price point. Yay plants!
You’ve recently shifted your business model to donate 2 per cent of profits to mental health services across Canada. Can you speak to this a bit?
My own mental health journey was a big part of the inspiration for starting Lake & Oak. Several years ago while studying nutrition I was struggling with anxiety and depression and looking for a natural solution to ease my symptoms.
I was inspired to create my own tea to ease my stress with the most effective organic herbal ingredients that mother nature could provide. I fell in love with the power of herbs and the mindfulness that slowing down and having a cup of tea provides.
Giving back 2 per cent is just a small token to all of the people who are fighting their own mental health battles, and to those that are helping to beat the stigma around mental illness. It’s just the beginning!
How are you keeping yourself well during this pandemic?
Investing time into mental health and self-development through reading, mindfulness and meditation has been a guiding light throughout all of this for me. With limited social contact and very few “places to be,” I’ve been taking advantage of more time to slow down and look inwards.
When stuff gets weird or stressful (which it always does) I stay grounded through daily journaling, positive affirmations, visualizations and quiet time. Being compassionate to myself and others works wonders, too.