Now is as great a time as ever to stock up and broaden your horizons when it comes to tea! We all love tea, it’s warm, it’s comforting and many have health benefits that are great for our bodies. We got in touch with Dalla Niakhaté, the founder of couture tea brand Thés Lac Rose to learn more about what makes tea couture.
Dalla lets us into her world, her family background and the journey she’s been on with the brand below:
I am Dalla Niakhaté, founder of couture tea brand Thés Lac Rose. I’m 25 years old and originally from Paris but I’ve been living in London since 2017. I come from a family of Senegalese immigrants and am the firsts of many. I’m the first-generation French, first to achieve a university education, and the first-born child (I have six little brothers and sisters). As you can imagine, I grew up under a huge amount of pressure! This pressure to excel, however, has made me what I am today: a resilient and ambitious woman.
From a very young age, my Senegalese mother introduced me to many traditional teas and homemade herbal blends. This is how I developed my taste for teas, their scents and their flavours. In many West African countries, herbal blends are used primarily for their health benefits. I wanted to have a deeper understanding of tea and learn more about its many varieties.
This led to me going to China in 2015 for six months during which I explored tea gardens and gained a more formal training regarding tea and its entire ecosystem. The Thés Lac Rose adventure started in 2018 with just 300 euros in savings when I was fresh out of business school and very much still in student debt.
For two consecutive years after, we’ve won the Great Taste Awards and been recognised by the Guild of Fine Food for our premium teas. These awards are basically the Oscars of the food industry! 15,000 to 20,000 products are submitted each year for those and they are judged by more than 500 of the most influential people in the food industry: food critics, starred chefs and food journalists. We were in direct competition with Twinings, Whittards of Chelsea, Suki tea and more! These awards come as a great accolade for a young brand like Thés Lac Rose that is a tribute to my mother, to Senegal, to my bicultural upbringing and to the constant search for new tastes, nuances and new horizons to explore.
As a solo, Black, and female entrepreneur, I have learnt that your best ally is your confidence in your abilities, in your product, and in your right to be successful. I have learnt to break free of the imposter syndrome that affects so many of us. In those three years managing Thés Lac Rose and working to scale it, I have found that entrepreneurship can be a very lonely place and that if you do not have a little faith in yourself, you will be consumed by self-doubt and by other people’s fears.
I have also learnt to say “yes” more. You never know where and how you could come across a new opportunity for your business so you need to get out there and break-open the doors that once were closed to you. If you don't, nobody else will!
You may be wondering what makes us so special, well I can answer that for you!
Why are Thés Lac Rose teas couture?
Creativity: Each collection is an artistic and sensory journey. Our blends are inspired by scents, visuals, experiences, and encounters. We play with textures, aromas, colours, flowers, herbs, fruits to tell a story. For example, our herbal tea collection Paris-London-Dakar is about telling the story of a journey back to my Senegalese roots.
Quality: Everything we do is handmade from the picking of the tea leaves to the blending, to the box labelling everything is done humanely, with love and care.
Social Responsibility: Taste and quality are great but we also have a responsibility towards our partners and the ecosystem we are a part of so all our leaves are ethically sourced from small local producers in Sri Lanka, China, Kenya or India and a guarantee of that is they are all certified Ethical Tea Partnership which is the equivalent in the tea industry of a fair trade certificate. Really hard to get and shows you respect your workers, giving them decent wages and you also have tea picking practices that respect the environment.
You can shop our teas directly on our website:https://en.theslacrose.com and visit our Instagram for updates @theslacrose.