This story is part of our 1,000 stories campaign. What’s your story?

Name: Carol Mark

Business: The Love of Tea, a provider of purely blended tea

Type of Business: Food & Beverage

Location: Toronto, Canada

Reason for starting: After recovery from breast cancer I wanted to be able to make a difference according to my own values. I founded The Love of Tea, a purveyor of specialty pure blended teas that support art and social change through its donation programs from sales of tea. Tea was the locus of women’s rights in the 19th century in North America, as women could only legally gather during teatime. So I feel like I’m continuing the tradition of women’s political involvement and social change with my tea shop.

Related: Why women are drawn to mission-based businesses, and how to foster that social enterprise. 

How do you define success? Success is when you can still make a difference to make something better for someone else. It is rising above your own personal suffering, whether it be financial, mental or physical.

When my friend Hema was fighting breast cancer, I made a promise to her that I would do something for women with breast cancer in Sri Lanka. After Hema died, I sponsored The Art of Tea afternoon tea event, which raised money for 4,000 mammograms and self exam brochures for women in Sri Lanka, through the MJF Charitable Foundation (founded by Merrill Fernando of Dilmah Tea). This was in honor of Hema’s lifelong legacy of helping women with breast cancer.

Related: How one woman’s struggle with cancer inspired a chemo care gift business. 

Biggest Success: I just completed my third e-cookbook with recipes inspired by tea, which I created and personally tested. Tea is like a fine wine that reflects the terroir, and its distinct taste profiles enhance culinary dishes, desserts and drinks.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Recovering from a missed diagnosis of breast cancer, a double mastectomy and chemotherapy has taxed my physical reserves. My subsequent rediscovery of tea and its health benefits helped me focus on tea as a business opportunity. It has also helped me focus on where I need to focus my energies and with what partners.

Who is your most important role model? Sojourner Truth, a black slave who was freed and who could not read or write but who fought tirelessly for women’s rights and freedom of slaves. She clearly had many obstacles but she was creative in her solutions to make a societal difference.


Twitter   @theloveoftea


Tell us your story!

Read about another food & beverage entrepreneur here

Edited by The Story Exchange