Grove City College offers a variety of courses in the eCommerce department that give students hands-on and real-life experience. ECommerce is one of the many courses that allow students to put their in-class learning into practice. Taught by Professor Yvonne English, eCommerce gives students the opportunity to start their own online business from scratch. The purpose of the project is to understand logistics, financials, and sell and market products online. All profits go to a charity chosen by each group.
One of the various groups in the class is called Steepings. Steepings is an eCommerce business that sells specialty loose-leaf teas. It is operated by a group of five hardworking students: James Hayward (Senior Entrepreneurship Major), Patty Jo Nickoloff (Junior Communication and Entrepreneurship Major), Ethan Hayward (Senior Entrepreneurship Major), Tessa Falcetta (Junior Entrepreneurship Major) and Maverick Dickson (Senior Entrepreneurship Major). They are committed to spreading joy through tea for a great cause.
Steepings’ Charity Partner
Steepings is partnering with the Pittsburgh Project, an organization located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dedicated to “developing servant leaders and upholding the dignity of vulnerable homeowners”. I interviewed Steepings and asked them about their story and how they became acquainted with the Pittsburgh Project, as well as its impact on the group as a whole.
Tessa Falcetta initially suggested the charity because of her personal connection. Since, Steepings and the Pittsburgh Project have been in contact and working together to build a strong partnership. Through this experience, the Steepings team has learned about the charity in-depth and their mission. As a result, they want to provide a great example to young leaders of the Pittsburgh area. Their connection with the organization has established accountability between Steepings’ group members as they strive to be a healthy and good example to young adults. The team plans to visit the organization soon to get first-person encounters and experiences with the organization.
Steepings’ Product Offerings
Steepings offers a unique set of blends that embody Pennsylvania’s four seasons and Grove City College’s beautiful campus. Their current collection consists of Crimson Leaves (a cinnamon
pumpkin flavor), Winter Wipeout (peppermint and vanilla flavor), and Rainbow Bridge (strawberry flavor). They are in the process of coming out with a new blueberry and vanilla blend. Based on recommendations and feedback, the group has begun selling tea bags for those who are not yet comfortable with brewing loose-leaf tea! Their multipack now comes with tea bags!
From Class Project to Small Business
Over the course of the semester, Steepings has learned many lessons on how to run an eCommerce business and has received great feedback from their customers. They learned the importance of communication and designated roles. In addition, they are working hard to maintain and keep track of inventory, social media, and branding. As the semester continues, they will continue to flourish and learn from each other, from the course, and from their charity partner. After this semester, the group plans to continue their business and create new blends and fun ways to spread joy with tea.
Until then, Steepings will be hosting different events such as tea tasting, pop-up shops, and will be selling at Wells for Hope (November 2nd from 6-10PM in the Student Union). Steepings’ announcements will be posted on their social media. You can also find their unique tea blends and order them on their website https://steepingstea.com/.