Updated: Sep 14
Today’s featured CEO is Friday Elliott, the owner and operator of Friday Afternoon located in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.
Friday is one of the most unique CEO’s that I’ve spoken to for one specific reason – Lexical-Gustatory Synesthesia. Don’t know what that is? Yeah, I didn’t either.
The brief explanation is: it’s a neurological oddity that literally allows Friday to tastes words and ideas. It’s this “Tea Wizardry” that is the magic of Friday Teas.
Now, without further adieu, here are “8 questions with Friday Afternoon CEO, Friday Elliott”:
Tell us a little bit about how you ended up starting Friday Teas.
My parents met in their high school’s Star Trek Club, my grandparents were herbalist healers. I now make ethically sourced, wholesome and delicious tea with geeky themes like Star Trek, D&D, Firefly, Harry Potter and so on. It was almost inevitable!
What’s one of your favorite products?
Our Goblin King is my very favorite tea of the 400+ I’ve developed. Roasty blend of two green teas with bitey ginger and peppercorn. It’s toasty, woodsy, cozy, and a little bit feral tasting.
What sort of pivots or challenges have you had during Covid times?
Our staff of three wonderful tearistas had to be furloughed and I, the founder, am working every role in the company to keep the ship afloat while this passes so my staff have jobs to return to.
We’ve lost wholesale business, in-store sales, and event revenues (both in-store and conventions). It’s been exhausting keeping things running smoothly. I do all our marketing, bookkeeping, inventory & ordering, blending, packing, order fulfillment, etc. I’m also a single mom. When my beloved crew comes back, I plan to nap for a week.
What do you do to unwind when you are not literally running a bada$$ company?
I read voraciously. Lately I’ve been on a Jane Austen kick, though I’m always in the middle of at least four books in different genres.
I also dance ballet, whittle, cook, and my teen has gotten me into Animal Crossing this month in a BIG way.
What are some of your 5-10-20 year goals?
In five years I plan to have two other tea shop locations open. In ten years I want to pivot to local government (I have my eye on a port commissioner position) and in twenty I want to travel and work directly with small farms to help them survive against big agriculture without sacrificing quality or ethics.
What’s some of the other, less Covid centered, lessons have you learned?
There’s a difference between being “selfish” and being “self-interested.” It’s ok to say no to people and do what is in your own best interest, and this can be done without coming across as a jerk if you practice good boundaries and tact.
I’ve lived for years as a doormat because I’m afraid of people thinking I’m selfish. Only in the past year have I realized the power of saying “no.” It’s so liberating!
Who is someone you lean on for advice when things get tough?
I call my mother every time I have a doubt or just need to hear myself think aloud. She’s absolutely zero BS, makes me laugh, and is infuriatingly always right.
We just have to know, do you have a pet? A furry friend that gets you outside, inspired or just laughing?
I have three cats, one of whom is actually a dog! The two real kitties are Siamese/Russian Blue litter mates named Bug and Paco. They’re hilarious, best friends and total opposites.
Our Cavapoo, Bergamot, may technically be a dog, but the cats adopted him and are raising him to be very feline.
They’re all the same size and curl up for naps together when they aren’t racing all over the house.