June 1, 2021
Good to Know!
Check out this article from Akron Beacon Journal:
Focus on Black-owned Businesses: Akron's Tea Lady is third of five generations of entrepreneurs
Reporting and writing by Brynne Olsen
Would you love to host your next special event in an elegant tea room? How about perusing a premium boutique or renting a beautiful tablescape to wow your guests for the holidays?
Renea Woods-Baylor, owner of The Tea Lady Inc./Ohio Tea Lady, sat down with me to share her love of tea. Her business specializes in event hosting in elegant tea rooms at their location on King James Way, with customizable options like ambiance enhancements, pastries including vegan options and private rooms.
“There’s tea for everything. A tea when you’re not feeling well, a tea when you want to rest,” Renea says.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Brynne Olsen: So I have to know: What is the secret to making a great cup of tea?
Renea Woods-Baylor: Oh gosh. Well, it really starts with the water. A lot of people don’t think that that matters, but water is what brings out everything in the tea. Get the best water you can afford, then the right temperature according to the type of tea. Then whatever compliments you like — a slice of orange, lemon, sugar or honey.
BO: Tell me about your childhood growing up in West Akron.
RWB: I had an interesting childhood growing up in West Akron, in an entrepreneurship family. My parents purchased a home in West Akron. My parents owned and operated two stores in Akron and two in Cleveland. The two in Akron were on Copley Road, by Mr. Pantry and the other by Roslyn Avenue. As a child I did everything, from cheerleading [to] playing with kids in school, and being a little business owner at the same time.
BO: Who inspires you?
RWB: “My mom, other business people, great writers, people that have done great things. I was inspired years ago by Oprah. Some amazing women in the church. I pull jewels from different people that I see that would be good for me. There is no one person that inspires me — I take little pearls and diamonds from each one of them.
BO: How did it feel to launch your business and fulfill your personal motto of “Make it Happen”?
RWB: Oh, I was nervous! I was able to start living that part of my dream through my late husband. He was an executive chef out of Baltimore and Washington D.C., with over 30 years of experience. I started doing tea parties once or twice a year through him because he could prepare all the food. Sadly, three and a half ago years ago, he had kidney cancer and passed away. Before he passed, he asked me, “what are we going to do with all the china and crystal?” I said, “I’m going to use it.”
It took me a couple of years to go through mourning and figure out what I wanted to do. And I said well, I might as well open a tea room. I put out on Facebook. I asked all my friends on Facebook what should be the name of my business. My hair stylist said, “You’re the tea lady.” I was so super excited, but I was very nervous because this was me out here on my own, without the support of my husband.
I just said, “If I don’t order business cards, then I’m not going do it. You made an investment, put your name on it.” When my husband passed away, I wanted to do something that’s not stressful, something I really enjoy doing every day. This was it and I love it. I always did it anyway, so it was just a natural transition.”
Check out this great video
BY KAMADY LEWIS AKRONPUBLISHED 9:30 AM ET DEC. 17, 2020
AKRON, Ohio — Exemptions, deductions, and taxes — all words that sound normal to Renea Woods-Baylor. For the past 21 years, she's owned her own accounting firm.
Her passion for helping people through taxes came from her mother.
"I learned a lot from my mom," said Renea Woods-Baylor.
Accounting isn't the only passion she got from her mother.
“If you walked in today to my sister’s home and mine right now today, without notice," said Woods-Baylor. "All our tables are still set.”
A few years ago, Renea, lost her husband to cancer.
"It was pretty devastating," said Woods-Baylor.
As much as she loved helping people as an accountant, she decided to step out on faith and put that other thing she learned from her mom to the test.
“I needed to find something that really gave me peace,” said Woods-Baylor.
Table settings, etiquette, and hosting — also words that sound pretty normal to Woods-Baylor. So much, in fact, that she's earned a nickname.
“I love everything about being The Tea Lady,” said Woods-Baylor.
She knew almost immediately what brought her that peace she was looking for. "Tea did," said Woods-Baylor.
The Tea Lady Inc. is now open for business. Ready to host, design, or decorate any event for you. You can come to her tea room, or she can come to you.
Tea parties have gone on for centuries and proper etiquette might have been lost on some over the years, but not on The Tea Lady.
“Now a lot of people want to do this,” said Woods-Baylor as she lifted her pinky finger as she sipped from her teacup. “It's really inappropriate to do. If the Queen of England seen you do that she would just gasp for her pearls – oh my God, no you did not do that,” she joked.
She can teach all about table settings and etiquette while she makes the best cup of tea.