Jennifer Best couldn't sleep. A bout of fibromyalgia was keeping her wide awake, and though she experimented with allopathic and naturopathic sleep remedies, it was no use. Then she tried something new: a tea blend called Sweet Dreams. The brew was so effective that not only did it give Jennifer some much-needed shut-eye, but by morning it had inspired her to change careers. She explored the local loose-leaf-tea market and was amazed to find how many good varietals were out there, varietals she thought others might appreciate the way she had appreciated Sweet Dreams.
Jennifer started small, founding Steeped and Infused in 2007 as an online store that sold 20 different teas. But her fan base blossomed, and today the website—which now sells roughly 70 varieties—gains support from two brick-and-mortar retail stores. Like the queen's childhood toy box, her inventory includes everyday black, green, and rooibos teas, but also features yerba mate and pu-erh—a centuries old Chinese blend made from high-quality large leaves. She complements these with a small selection of accessories, such as tea filters and mesh steeping balls.