BY ALYSSA MAHADEO
The concept of ‘tea’ originated in China as a medicinal beverage believed to possess natural health strengthening qualities. While it has often been thought of as being quintessentially British, people have been drinking tea for over 350 years. Over the years tea consumption has changed in so many ways. Although the brew might be different, a good cup of tea is sure to warm up your soul on these cold winter days.
Daniel Lewis was born in Toronto and has lived in Brampton for most of his life. Always interested in the music, arts, and fashion, Daniel spent ten years of his life as an aspiring musician exploring the sounds of Rap/R&B even trying out Rock and Roll for a while. For a decade, Daniel spent time writing and performing music locally as well as travelling to the states, even becoming a songwriter for Socan pitching songs and penning lyrics for other artists.
While he enjoyed his time as an artist, Daniel’s music didn’t leave the impact he would have hoped. He was the unfortunate victim of a stabbing over some choice lyrics he had written in a song, and it was a pivotal moment in his life where he had to reassess and decide what his goals and mission were for this lifetime.
Daniel was raised in a very close knit family of Christian values. His parents had taught him and his siblings to always be open and transparent with each other. “Despite the great advice and morals for living we are taught we stray from those teachings and end up in the wrong crowd, and although we learned good things in the home we still didn’t apply them for a long time,” Daniel shares.
After leaving music he was thrown into standard franchise and factory jobs. He took some time to re-assess his current position and realized his talent wasn’t going away he just needed to tailor, refine it and channel it a different way. “My goal, purpose and mission in life became to impact people’s lives in a positive way.” he explains.
Following his incident Daniel made a lot of changes in his life, mentally, physically and emotionally. He married his childhood sweetheart Renata who stayed by his side everyday while he was in the hospital. Moved by her caring nature, despite the terrible situation, she stuck by him through everything. They first met when they were only eight years old, and their story is one of love, strength and resilience. “I knew when she was there with me that this is a person who can be with me through tough times and really strengthen and encourage me to become a better version of myself,” Daniel shares.
Tea became a popular drink in his life, as he gave up drinking soda and other detrimental food options and picked up drinking tea instead. He made more health-conscious decisions and positive life changes and that’s what sparked the idea for T by Daniel.
Aware that there were already other tea shops out there, Daniel wanted to use tea to create a company that was a reflection of his artistic, quirky and stylish personality. “It was all about blending those ideas together to start my own cool tea business,” Daniel explains. “I like drinking tea, and I like being fashionable so I set to work researching ways that I could put all of my ideas together to make sense.”
Partners in life and now in business Daniel and Renata, invested whatever savings they had into opening T by Daniel located in the heart of downtown Brampton, across from the Rose Theatre. T by Daniel opened their doors on May 24th, 2011. Since then their mission has been to present T as the exciting, fashionable, irresistible beverage that it truly is.
T By Daniel is the funky, modern tea company, that focuses on selling tea in a very fun, interactive and stylish way. Their focus is to bring you the most exciting and unique tea concoctions that they can find on earth, for their guests to enjoy in the everyday adventures of life.
“When it comes to Starbucks and David’s Tea, they are great companies with great products mainly focused on the product and service.” Daniel explains how they are different from what some might consider their competition. “With T by Daniel, despite the fact that we might carry the same type of tea similar to David’s Tea the premium loose leaf tea we focus on mastering experience.”
T by Daniel is the Willy Wonka of tea shops; each experience is golden ticket approved.
“We’re more in competition with Disney World and Wonderland because these are places that have mastered experiences so much that you will travel the world to visit them to live that magical experience, and that’s we want to become, and to get there we have to take customer service to the next level.”
“Customer service doesn’t exist for us. It’s all about extraterrestrial, out of this world experience.” Daniel says. “Our one of a kind experience is unique in the way we treat our guests put on a show and put a smile on their face.”
At T by Daniel they are passionate about three things: Tea, People and Experiences. They carry a selection of over thirty loose leaf teas, tea lattes and frappes with various different tongue teasing flavors of loose leaf T and herbal infusions.
They believe that tea and fashion go hand in hand, which is the main reason why all of their tea accessories are sleek and stylish to complement their classy and chic hot beverage cup designs featuring a dapper gentleman’s blazer and bow tie. T By Daniel has also expanded into selling their own line of wooden bowties! Talk about having your bow tie game on point!
“Building your own business from the ground up is a fun, wild and unstable adventure. Everyday is a risk. Any company you work for has an intricate system in place that allows for employees to come in and have work to do,” says Daniel. “When you have your own business you now have to create the work for yourself.”
Daniel isn’t interested in franchising his business, but wants to continue making it a household name. Through this second chance at life, he wants to use his company to educate inspire and challenge others everyday.
“My father defined a rich man as a person with a keen sense of responsibility and high regard for human life,” says Daniel, “Tea is normally considered a product, but for T by Daniel tea is a tool that we use to impact people’s lives in a positive way.”
Retail Magician and Entrepreneur Daniel Lewis recently released his own book Weird as Waldo, demystify what that means to be weird addressing things like standing out from the crowd and letting the reader know that being different can sometimes give you the upper hand. Daniel is available for branding services through his company Marsketing and speaking opportunities through Daniel Speaks. He will be a speaker at the Toronto Caribbean Business Social this spring.
At T by Daniel they are using their fashion forward ideas and quirky personalities to turn coffee drinkers in to tea drinkers, one cup at a time.
“I’ve learned to implement the slingshot theory my dad taught me; any setbacks in life propel us forward in life.” shares Daniel, “We are here to be the start of a change in the community, to be the example especially for younger people. You can work for a different purpose other than money and impact people in a positive way. Don’t only see me as a business person, see me as a person trying to evoke change.”