My Cup of Tea Helps Restore Orange Mound Identity

My Cup of Tea, a small business of tea packaging and distribution, is transforming Orange Mound. The company provides on-the-job training and skills development for women in the 38111 and 38104 zip codes.Yalonda M. James/The Commercial Appeal

Orange Mound, once a neighborhood built on pride, has fallen on hard times. A small tea company aims to restore  some of the community’s lost identity.
My Cup of Tea is a business Mary Beth Bryce opened in 2008. She had a passion for tea and the tea business. Bryce approached Carey Moore with the idea of buying the tea company in Orange Mound. Moore and her husband bought the company and operated the shop ever since.
“We began with about three ladies from Orange Mound and began learning the company,” she said. “I brought along eight of my friends who are volunteers and just did a deep dive into what it is to run a tea company.”
Since then, Moore has employed 21 women. They are trained at the Orange Mound Women’s Resource Center on the corner of Semmes and Carnes. The three-month program helps them learn different skills such as sewing and cooking. They are also trained in the packaging, labeling, and distributing of imported tea.
“It’s a full opportunity for the women of this community,” Moore said. “I would say this tea company definitely gives someone the next step into self-awareness, self-confidence, and sustenance.”
With Memphis being a large tea-consuming city, My Cup of Tea markets their tea to reflect the community –hiring women from Orange Mound dedicated to making a difference in the community.
“We’re not just trying to give women a chance, we’re trying to give Orange Mound a chance,” Moore said.
One of the three women that first began with the company is April Powell. She was attracted to My Cup of Tea because of the “sisterhood” working in the environment brought her.
“Another one of the things that really sold me was that they offered Bible study,” she added. “When I went there, it just blew my mind. They made me feel comfortable and welcomed and they never judged me.”
Powell believes that through working in this organization, she has found her “gift” of assisting others in the community. This was something that she believes  gave her a renewed sense of purpose.
“It’s so many women in the community that was so downtrodden in life,” Powell said. “We want them to know that there’s a house right around the corner that can give them a little help and shine a light in their lives.”

My Cup of Tea is Transforming Life in Orange Mound

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