When you visit Chillology online, you get a very clear sense of what they are about. They even tell you “Sweet Dreams are made of teas” and who am I to disagree. No pun intended. Chillology is a daily lifestyle destination that is rooted in simple fun nutrition, slow living, sustainability, and conscious consumption. They promote simple nutrition through teas, tisanes, botanicals, 100% raw super flora honey, and latte powders and extracts. They believe that self-care is a right and mother nature is our sustainer and friend. WhereItzAt interviewed Chillology’s founder and learn more about her story.
Janeth Benjamin (JB): What is the name of your business?
Dacia Thompson (DT): The name of my business is Chillology. I often refer to Chillology as my toddler. Even though I birthed this tea brand, I allow it to have its own identity. I have gotten questions like “why don’t you share more of your business on your personal Instagram” and I say “because it will outlive me and I also don’t care to be ‘seen’.”
JB: What is Chillology about?
DT: Chillology is a platform that creates products that are inclusive of all diet preferences, beauty standards, and 0% shame, steering away from wellness as a business and an industry and focusing on wellness as it concerns our personal and individual lives. We offer premium quality loose leaf teas, herbal blends, botanicals, and home goods for every mind and body.
JB: How did you get started in this business?
DT: Chillology started from an idea to a product. I didn’t start out in tea wellness, but that’s the industry/niche I transitioned to, and I am quite content.
JB: Where are you located?
DT: I and one team member, and our inventory are in New Jersey, one team member is home in Jamaica, one is in Florida and another team member is in Bangladesh.
JB: How long have you been in business?
DT: I have been in business officially for 2 years. However, I have always been entrepreneurial. I often reminisce with my friends and mom about how I used to sell candy and banana chips and chocolate biscuits (Digestive); Jamaicans reading this will know what I am talking about in high school to make my little pocket money. I would also babysit my neighbors’ children in the summer to make money and my first official summer job was as a filing clerk at a Credit Union that my older sister worked at. I was 16 years old then.
JB: What was your inspiration behind the name and/or concept?
DT: I know this sounds blah but there was really no deep thought about the inspiration behind the name “Chillology.” I am a chill person, I enjoy low-key activities and I love teas, herbs and simply taking care of my body and I relish living life slower. In retrospect, I guess that’s where the name came from. However, I used a business name generator on the internet to help me solidify it.
JB: What were some of the initial challenges?
DT: Funding! Chillology is 100% bootstrapped and I say that proudly.
JB: Did your family support you?
DT: My family is verbally supportive, and words of affirmation are not lacking in my household but physically supportive, not really (showing up at my pop-ups or markets, naah). That has always been our family dynamic – I think it’s because they know that I am a very capable individual who also works better solo. They do enjoy all my teas though and have their collection at home. My mom is a coffee and tea drinker, my stepdad is a tea and herbal lover, and my little sister, well, she loves Sprite!
JB: How did you get the word out about your business?
DT: When I started, I did in-person events and so; it was by word of mouth, along with collecting emails for newsletter blasts. The pop-ups that I took part in also did promotions for participating vendors via their newsletter blasts. During the intensity of the pandemic, it was all online marketing (which I think is tedious and overrated). We are currently experimenting with Podcast Ads, i.e. running ad campaigns on small-scaled niche Podcasts.
JB: What are some lessons you learned you wish you had known in the beginning?
DT: Out of all the things I wished I had learned, the most important would be to create a spreadsheet to track all activities going on in the backend. I just had my tea manufacturer in India create one for me and it has been a game-changer. I simply plug all the information in and it spits out the answers. Cool stuff. Another lesson I wished I had learned was to purchase product packaging in bulk instead of by the dozens at a time.
JB: What is the vision for your business?
DT: A quaint tearoom or perhaps a teahouse. All around a chill space. I am also playing to expand to include a physical fitness section/room. We are also rooted in the “movement of the body.”
JB: Outside of your business, are you involved in anything else?
DT: I am, yes. I am completing my bachelor’s degree then I will move on to either Physician Assistant School or do a master’s degree. I am working on other things, but I don’t really enjoy talking much about myself.
JB: Running a business takes a toll on our mental and physical well-being. How do you unwind?
DT: Traveling, Hands down! That could be a road trip or weekend stay Upstate NY where I can hike, ride my bicycle, and enjoy authentic farm to table dishes at some of my favorite and/new eateries, or it could be a quick trip to a new or my favorite cities (Montréal, New Orleans, Washington DC), or going to an international destination.
JB: Entrepreneurship was never the desired occupation for many West Indians, but we are embracing non-traditional modes of employment. How do you feel about this change in our community?
DT: I feel blessed to be in this community of Caribbean people making strides in the world of entrepreneurship, and to be in whatever niche they are in. What I am most hopeful about and encourage West Indian immigrants to do is to invest (financially) in their home country. That could support small farmers and sourcing goods from home, setting up a small business there that can provide jobs for young people, engage with and be involved with their alma mater (and donating), and or investing financially in a business/corporation or non-profit organization that is out to make positive change. You can also fund a child’s education expenses. A little goes a far way and paying homage to where you are from is an ok thing to do.
For more on Dacia and Chillology follow them on Instagram @chillologyco.