Ancaster-based Steeped Tea among the exhibitors at Ideal home show
By Debra Downey, Senior Editor
Hatem and Tonia Jahshan stepped into the ruthless Dragon’s Den and discovered a pack of pussycats.
The Jahshans pitched their business on the seventh season premiere of the popular CBC show, and were pleasantly surprised when a squabble broke out among judges wanting to get a taste of the couple’s Steeped Tea business.
The Jahshans ended up taking the offer of businessmen David Chilton and Jim Treliving — 20 per cent of the company in exchange for a $250,000 investment.
“We were pretty confident we would do well,” said Tonia. “The company did $1.3 million in sales last year, but within two minutes of pitching, we created a bidding war. I’ve never seen that on Dragon’s Den before, and I hear it was one of the fastest pitches on record.”
With the guidance of Chilton and Treliving, the couple will use the money to expand their business into the U.S. market.
Steeped Tea, a direct sales business, began six years ago after the Ancaster couple visited Nova Scotia and sampled a cup of loose-leaf Earl Grey. Tonia began selling the tea in the couple’s home, then moved on to hosting Avon-style parties. More than 800 steeped tea consultants now sell the product nation-wide.
Steeped Tea carries more than 150 different types of tea that are produced around the world. Along with the tea, Tonia has developed recipes and rubs and “everything in between.”
To show people what can be done with Steeped Tea, a company consultant will be among the demonstrators at this weekend’s Ideal Home Show and Sale presented by Reliance Home Comfort. The show opens its door on Friday, Oct. 12 and runs until Sunday, Oct.14 at The Careport Centre, 270 Longwood Rd. S. This year at the show, there will be a special emphasis on homegrown — not just with Steeped Tea, but at the Spectator Go Cooking Stage, the Free Pro Advice Pavilion and the Ideal Marketplace.
As it does every year, the show and sale will also feature celebrity television chefs, award-winning authors and amazing young entrepreneurs. At the Free Pro Advice Pavilion, consumers can have one-on-one consultation with professionals in the field of interior design. Visitors to the show can bring in their pictures, fabrics and napkin drawings and leave with invaluable ideas and sketches from the pros. As well, the Ideal Marketplace will offer 6,000 square feet of items for homes at greatly reduced prices.
Visit the show online at www.idealhomeshow.ca for more information and discount tickets. For more on Steeped Tea, visit www.steepedtea.com.
Cranberry-Pecan Pinwheels with Nutcracker Cream Cheese
1 (250 g) container light cream cheese spread
1/2 cup Nutcracker tea, dry
6 large spinach-flavoured flour tortillas
1 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
1. Grind Nutcracker tea into a fine powder. Mix with cream cheese. Spread this Nutcracker cream cheese over all of the tortillas.
2. Sprinkle each tortilla with dried cranberries and pecans.
3. Roll each tortilla tightly, wrap with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, seam side down.
4. To serve, trim off the ends of each tortilla, and cut the rest into equal slices. “