Meet Sheena Brady, Founder and CEO of Tease.
2022 RBC Momentum Award Finalist
As the Founder and Tea Sommelier behind Tease, Sheena Brady formulates all-natural tea- and botanical-based blends and beauty staples to support everyday rituals without compromising convenience, sustainability, and impact. This includes having recently launched the world’s first fully biodegradable and refillable wellness tea collection. In 2019, Sheena created the Founders Fund program, providing mentorship, education, and barrier-free funding to a diverse group of women founders. Through the program, Tease has contributed over $200,000 in small business micro-grants and mentorship programming to over 500 women and non-binary entrepreneurs, largely throughout the pandemic.
My first job ever was… Working at a boat marina, in Summerstown, Ontario, which was right outside of Cornwall, where I spent many years growing up. I would run the gas station for boats while juggling the convenience store and greeting people who would inquire about docking or fixing their boat. During the downtime, I got to sit on the dock and soak in the sun while enjoying ice cream. Looking back, it was one of the best jobs, and I loved how I got to bounce around from many different roles and areas of the business at any given time. I also worked directly for the owners of the business, and felt a keen interest in how they operated everything.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I love researching, developing and creating products that are aligned with my everyday values while wearing many hats to take the business to the next level a little more everyday. Everyday is so different from the one before, there is very little predictability as an entrepreneur, and I’ve always thrived on change, ambiguity and being a passionate problem solver.
My proudest accomplishment is… becoming a mother. It has given me a completely different lease on life, and a reminder to slow down and soak in the everyday seemingly simple moments before they pass you by. My daughter’s name is Camellia, and she’s actually named after the species of plant that produces tea. She is a reminder of all that I am capable of, and my unwavering commitment to do the same for her as she navigates her way through this world. I’m also so proud of our team — we do SO much while creating meaningful impact across Tease and Founders Fund for a small team.
My biggest setback was… The pandemic, by far. From crippling debt, to supply chain challenges and delays, to staff shortages and loss of business — we were hit in every way imaginable. I always thought I was good at embracing change and pivoting, but turns out my business and life leading up to the pandemic was just a mild warm up for what would come.
I overcame it by… Leaning on my ‘village’: my personal group of trusted advisors and cheerleaders made up of my husband, mentors, close friends, and people who ‘got’ what I was going through and could listen to me vent, or, be a sounding board for solutions and strategies to navigate through it.
If you Googled me, you still wouldn’t know… In true entrepreneurial fashion, my husband and I planned and executed our wedding in 3 days. It was one of the most beautiful, perfect days because we had who mattered most there, and it was stress free in terms of cost, time, and preparation. Best decision I ever made. Another random thing is that despite having a reasonably healthy diet, I’ve never eaten a salad in my life unless it’s baby spinach. I really, really, dislike lettuce. I have a physical reaction to the taste and texture of it.
When starting my business, I wish I knew… I wish I knew to prioritize finding a community of like minded people, founders, and mentors who understood the journey I was embarking on. My first few years were incredibly isolating, figuring out how to do almost everything on my own and I often look back and think I might have gotten through many challenges with a bit more ease in clarity if I had actually reached out for support while seeking community, versus mostly taking it on my own shoulders exclusively.
My best advice for people looking to grow their business is… Done is better than perfect, always. People often get stuck ‘in the weeds’ waiting for their packaging, photos, or products to be perfect. Waiting for that moment only slows you down from growing your business faster. If you look back on the early days of Tease, our packaging was so cringe worthy and had more updates over the years than iOS. It took nearly eight years to get our packaging to a place that we feel good about it being here for a while with little updates.
A great leader is… Someone who has their team operate in a high trust, high autonomy environment and essentially get out of their way while being available for support and as the north star for goals and strategy. In my experience, people do their best work under this leadership
The future excites me because… Despite being in business for over eight years, I feel like I’m still just getting started! I love where the future of commerce is headed, and I’m so excited to continue to grow and develop Tease to continue to meet people where they are to elevate everyday wellness rituals without compromising on sustainability, convenience, and impact.
Success to me means… Achieving work/life harmony. Getting to wake up everyday, solving problems that are important to you, while creating space for family, friends, and anything you are passionate about. To me, those worlds should collide, in harmony versus a hard line in the sand and rigid boundaries around the concept of ‘work life balance’