Plentea Brings Tea Culture to Toronto’s Parkdale Neighbourhood
We often talk about coffee shops as a place for networking, meetings, and of course, the home of the freelancer. “Let’s go for a coffee” means let’s take a break, have a chat, and make some moves. But tea? Tea is the drink of a home. For communities around the world, it’s how you connect with families and friends. It brings comfort and warmth, and when made correctly, it soothes and heals.
It’s this tea culture that inspired Plentea co-founders Mohammed Binyahya and Tariq Al Barwani to open up their own tea bar in the heart of Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood. They noticed that most tea shops sell teabag product, and wanted to create a place where both tea connoisseurs and casual drinkers could come for a drink made with care, and get educated on the ingredients. Everything is brewed fresh, and made-to-order right in front of the customers.
“We grew up in a tea drinking culture. Tea is a bonding drink. You have guests over, right away you offer them tea. If you’re out and about at a family picnic, you offer tea. Each family brings their own cup or pitcher of tea and it’s kind of like everyone’s got their own recipe, their own way to brew. Someone will add a little bit of ginger, a little bit of saffron, cardamom. It’s almost a friendly competition between the families of who has the best taste in tea. It’s really like a bonding experience. It becomes a special thing you want to drink.”
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They’re as conscious about the story they’re sharing as they are about the environment they created at the shop. On social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, they share still images and the occasional short-form video to reflect their product and process. They stay mindful of what’s going on locally in Toronto to tailor their content and their ads on Facebook and Instagram accordingly, while showcasing their pride for the city and its busy locales.
It’s even more important to have the power to be able to do so right from your hand, and in some instances, on-the-go. With everything on mobile, Tariq believes that one should be able to create something on the fly that’s professionally well done. Cinemagraphs capture that “wow” moment they’re looking to share, and fast. They’re an effective Facebook video ad that any small business can adapt to their content strategy.
“You can highlight a certain aspect of what you’re trying to advertise,” Tariq commentd. “You draw the eyes right in the centre to what you want, what you want your customers looking at. No filler, not fat, just straight to the meat. It’s almost like you put a bullseye in the picture and that’s what people look at.”