Insights & Stories

Wahine Making Waves: Jamie Lyons of Hobbs Tea

Reading Time: 4 minutes

March 4th, 2024

Hobbs Tea Founder and quote Hobbs Tea Founder and quote

Female entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in our community by driving innovation, creating jobs, and fostering economic growth in our island home; all while breaking barriers and setting new benchmarks for success in the business world. Their pursuit of excellence not only elevates their own ventures but also inspires a collective movement towards sustainable and economic development.

Supporting local has never been more meaningful than it is today. In 2022, Bank of Hawaii joined forces with Mana Up, a local accelerator program, in a celebration of local makers and artisans. This initiative is designed to help Hawaii’s entrepreneurs grow and succeed, with an overall mission to diversify the local economy for generations to come.

About Hobbs Tea

At Hobbs Tea, Kauai-raised founder, Jamie Lyons, makes Hawaii-grown tea that helps protect endemic Hawaiian species and their habitats. Eco-friendly sachets and packaging are 100% plant based, fully compostable, and free of toxins and plastic. Each Organic tea is sustainably grown in the world’s most pristine regions, including our home, Hawaii. Hobbs Tea is proud to partner with local family farmers in Hawaii that grow the most vibrant, highest quality artisanal teas and herbs. Like Hobbs Tea, these farmers think beyond their product by practicing regenerative, organic, water-efficient farming techniques to support long-term soil health and protect our ecosystems. Gently nestled under the shade of ancient ohia lehua and hapuu, high on the biodiverse slopes of Kilauea Volcano, Hobbs’ Hawaiian tea grows in harmony with the surrounding tropical rainforest, apapane songbirds and the local pollinator, pulelehua butterflies.

The team at Hobbs Tea strongly believes that tea should not be toxic to us or to our environment. Unlike most tea bags, Hobbs Tea is always free of plastic, toxins, dioxin, epichlorohydrin, bleach, chlorine, PVC, nylon, BPH, glue, metal, and pesticides. For the first eight years in business, Hobbs Tea founder, Jamie, personally hand-filled, hand-tied and hand-sealed every single tea bag she sold (over 150,000!). There were no options on the market that met her unwavering standards for health-focused, eco-friendly, toxin-free tea bags.

Hobbs Tea products are now offered at some of Hawaii’s most premier and luxury resorts, such as Auberge Resorts Collection, The Ritz-Carlton, Montage Hotels and Resorts, and 1 Hotels.

Overcoming Challenges with a Vision

The vision behind Hobbs Tea stemmed from one of Jamie’s favorite childhood pastimes – enjoying high tea at Princeville Hotel, where her mom worked serving tea! While Jamie’s parents weren’t business owners, they were hard workers who instilled this belief in her growing up. “If someone has a good idea, to provide a better experience, and can somehow make the world a better place – I’m here to remind them that it’s totally possible! Don’t give up on the idea. Anything is possible with persistence and belief,” shares Jamie to those with a spark and an idea for a business.

Jamie recalls sharing her vision for Hobbs Tea with others and being laughed at, “it became an opportunity for believing in myself; these men were laughing at me about my vision to build a tea company, saying it wasn’t possible and it wouldn’t be successful. I laughed right back because I was already building Hobbs Tea and it was gaining traction.”

Jamie emphasized the significance of passion in overcoming the hurdles associated with entrepreneurship. This dedication is evident in Jamie’s efforts to revolutionize the tea industry with a focus on sustainability. By founding Hobbs Tea, Jamie has been able to align personal values with professional endeavors, particularly with the commitment to environmental preservation and the promotion of local agriculture, that directly helps the future of Hawaii. This entrepreneurship journey, while challenging, has been incredibly fulfilling for Jamie, demonstrating that work-life balance depends on finding deep satisfaction in work, its positive impact on the world, mixed with making the time to enjoy the scenery.

About Bank of Hawaii x Mana Up

Together, this initiative with Mana Up will highlight Hawaii’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and propel local companies to the next level. Bank of Hawaii is the exclusive Mana Up banking partner at the Founder Level to lead key strategic programs, including a new executive mentorship program, and to offer a platform to share local entrepreneur stories.

Shop Hobbs Tea and other products from the Bank of Hawaii x Mana Up Collection today!

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