Last month I had a chance to visit Namur and explore the ins and outs of owning a tea shop. Martine Longrée opened her tea shop and tea room – Le Fossé Fleuri – about 5 months ago. My employer UPS offered her to be part of photo shoot organised to help us put a human face on how a small business owner in Europe looks like. And she said yes!
Martine has been working in the tea industry for about ten years now. Before opening her own tea shop in Namur, she worked for another tea shop specialised in selling big quantities of tea. Recently she has decided it was time to take her knowledge and passion with her by starting her own business.
Martine’s boutique Le Fossé Fleuri offers premium loose leaf tea brands like Theodor (or The Ô Dor) from Paris as well as original and super tasty chocolate brands and other tea accessories. The place features two spaces: just when you enter Martine greets you in the shop area while at the back a cosy tea room awaits those who crave for a tea break. Sometimes Martine hosts tea tasting events too.
Running your own business, like Martine does, gives you flexibility and choice to embody your vision. At the same time, it takes time, effort, and constant trial and error to get to where you aspire to be. It’s impressive to know that five days a week Martine works all by herself and maintains the entire space. Some administrative things are relatively easy to handle, but others like receiving a delivery require physical effort. In the middle of our photo shoot a delivery of about ten boxes came in and we were able to help Martine to bring them to the store room. Usually, she would do it all alone.
During our photo shoot, Martine served us different types of chocolate and, of course, tea. For the first cup, each of us could pick any tea from her shop – not an easy decision with so much choice! Later into the morning, we were offered another round of her favourite Pu-Erh, a traditional Chinese tea processed in a special way and which you can infuse multiple times. This tea ended up in my purchase bag along with raw Antidote chocolate with dates.
My humble conversations in French with Martine allowed me to lift the curtain of daily life in a tea shop and put myself into the shoes of the owner – even if for a couple of hours. I’m definitely going back to Namur to say hello!
Visit Le Fossé Fleuri online www.lefossefleuri.be and in Namur at: Rue des Fossés Fleuris 45, 5000 Namur
Behind the scenes of the photo shoot:
UPS did not endorse any of this content. Views and reflections of the photo shoot are my own just like the rest of blog posts published previously.
Photos: EPIC agency