Local Love Blog Series – Jolene’s Tea House

Welcome back to the Local Love Blog Series! I’m so excited to be featuring Jolene Brewster and Jess McNally from Jolene’s Tea House this week! 

These ladies are attracting active and on-the-go women who look to tea as the perfect healthy pairing to their busy lives. Locals and tourists alike can find Jolene and Jess at their Bear Street location to discover the blend to help them find a little bit of peace within the chaos of the world. 

With handmade tea infusions made locally in Banff, Jolene’s Tea House prides itself on quality. 

They focus on using certified organic ingredients, real essential oils, and zero artificial flavourings or sweeteners. At Jolene’s Tea House, you’ll find organic loose leaf tea and stylish tea accessories, not to mention locally made candies, gifts, and art! 

For Jolene, making and sharing tea is quite simply who she is and what she loves doing! 

Finding inspiration from women who find that balance between raising a family and passionately following their career goals, Jolene has two amazing role models she looks up to. First is Katie Tuff, COO of the Banff Hospitality Collective, and second is Karina Birch, Founder/Owner and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Soap Company. Jolene sees these two as the goalpost for being creative visionaries and nurturing mothers, all at the same time. 

The tea itself along with getting to connect with customers is what keeps Jess going.

And while she shares Jolene’s admiration for Karina, Jess also finds inspiration from her grandfather, Ed McNally who started Big Rock Brewery! Attributing much of Big Rock’s success to Ed’s commitment to high-quality Alberta-grown ingredients without preservatives, Jess and Jolene brought this mentality into their work with Jolene’s Tea House. 

Jolene and Jess are proud to provide a product that is as good for your body as it is for the environment. 

They’ve spent endless hours ensuring that all their tea is clean, organic and 100% natural, all without comprising the great flavours. They also offer a great variety, which means there’s a blend to fit any occasion or customer but also makes it impossibly hard to pick a single favourite. 

Jolene comes from an entrepreneurial family, so starting up her own tea shop had been in the cards for a long time! 

Drawn to the health and wellness side of tea, Jolene found herself learning about the quality that came from growing conditions and everything else tea had to offer. Jolene’s spiritual side has been captivated by the ceremony of tea. She wants to share something authentic that brilliantly shows off the spirit of our amazing surroundings, and a cup of tea seemed like the perfect way to do this. 

Jolene’s Tea House has been around since 2005, but you can now find them at their flagship store on Bear Street. 

Jolene first started the business in 2005 and focused on supplying restaurants and backcountry lodges in Alberta and BC with her unique tea blends. Jess joined Jolene in this project in 2020, and they’ve since opened their new store in Banff. Jolene’s Tea House has been a celebration of women in the Canadian Rockies since day one!

With Jolene and Jess both being Alberta-raised and long-time Banff locals, they both had tons of shout-outs to make! 

They start with a mention of wildlife photographer Brandon T. Brown, French-Métis fashion designer Andréanne Dandeneau, and Banff-local outdoor travel and adventure writer Meghan J. Ward. They also wanted to be sure to shout out the amazing small businesses whose products they sell at the Jolene’s Tea House, including candles from Camp Four Candles, pancake and waffle mixes from Lannie Rae Gourmet, and old-fashioned hard candies from Sweet Smith Candy Co. Jolene’s Tea House has also had great support from the Banff Hospitality Collective, serving and featuring their teas all around Banff. An important local charity that Jolene wanted to be sure to mention is the YWCA Banff, which provides emergency shelter and essential support services in the Bow Valley. 

Jolene has learned that relationships are everything, especially when it comes to business success. 

Not only did a great relationship with Jess bring amazing growth for the business, Jolene believes a successful business is built on the relationships you have with partners, employees, and customers! For Jess, jumping into a small business during the pandemic has taught her to stay optimistic and keep the long-term vision in mind to help her move forward! 

Both ladies recognize the hard work of their employees as being part of their success so far. 

Armed with a great team, they hope to see the return of more international tourism soon to help combat the tough times so many local businesses have seen in the past two years. They can’t wait to connect with customers in person at their shop and to see the smiles on their faces when they pick up their newest blend of teas! 

Next time you’re walking down Bear Street, be sure to tuck into the Crag Cabin in the Bear Street Courtyard to visit Jess and Jolene and pick up some new tea. Of course, you can always shop online as well, and make sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on all their latest tea releases! 

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