The Skin Food Talk community is filled with so many inspiring women who are taking over the wellness realm with their powerful intentions to make a difference. This week we want to introduce you to our dear friend who is part of this movement, Hannah Mills, the founder of NEAKITA. NEAKITA is a beautifully crafted tea company with loving intentions behind each blend. However, there is so much more to the story than just tea. Hannah has a background that dives a little deeper to help deliver an intention-driven ritual for yourself in each blend. We align so much with her values and have been enjoying her teas for a few years now (We CANNOT live with the Grace tea during that time of the month). We got a chance to sit down with the lovely Hannah recently to discuss her story and to hopefully inspire you to pursue your dreams and expand your self-care practice too!
1 - What inspired you to create NEAKITA?
NEAKITA was a natural evolution that occurred by combining my various passions. I studied enology (the science of winemaking) and agricultural business in college. Shortly after graduating, I began traveling the world to refine my craft and while in New Zealand I became very close with the vineyard manager’s family who lived on the property. Every day we would eat food straight from their garden and farm. I started to become more interested in learning about food and health than I did about wine. At first, it was just an interest and then it felt like an undeniable calling. I couldn’t wait another second to pursue it, so while I was in the airport on my way home, I called the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to enroll. After graduating, I began health coaching women in a private practice which was rewarding, but one day I had an urge inside of me – I realized I still had a deep-rooted passion for experimenting with flavors, balance, and structure. Blending is an art form I spent years studying and I was yearning for it again. Creating tea was a way for me to express my art, but this time in a way I believed truly nourished people.
The first blend I made was for a dear friend of mine. She was struggling with anxiety attacks and I wanted to help calm her nervous system. She came back in awe of the effects the tea had on her and asked for more. That tea is now called Freedom. This same story kept happening where my loved ones would come to me with an ailment and leave with a curative tea. It filled my soul up to bring light into people’s darkness – it still does. I believe in listening to signs and this felt like my calling. It was the unique bridge between my two passions – creating intoxicating flavors and designing therapeutic remedies. One thing led to the next and NEAKITA was born!
2 - What does NEAKITA stand for and what does it mean to you?
A neakita is a Native American wild rose, white with five petals and a golden center. As the legend goes, where a mother’s tear hits the earth this wild rose will grow – a sign from The Great One to remind her of her strength and all of the beauty that is still left in the world. They say that neakitas grow wild on the Trail of Tears to serve as a reminder of the past and symbol of hope for the future. These are the ethos upon which I created NEAKITA. Through the simple act of drinking healing teas, we are invited to slow down + remember that even on the most stressful of days - the world is full of beauty + our body, mind + spirit deserve to be nourished.
3 - What is your favorite part of the creative process in your business?
I get a lot of joy out of designing new tea blends. It takes time and patience, but when I finally get it right it’s an incredibly rewarding feeling.
4 - Going through your teas, how do you typically recommend each one to your customers?
Our bodies are constantly communicating with us and it’s up to us to listen and honor what our bodies are requesting. While it’s wonderful to use our minds when determining which healing tea blend is right for which moment, my suggestion is to use your intuition instead. You can do this by having several options to choose from and before you make your tea, smell each one and choose the one you are the most drawn to. This allows you to intuitively decide which herbs your body needs in that moment.
5 - What is your favorite ceremonial tea ritual?
My favorite way to start my morning is with tea + meditation. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and it sets the tone for the rest of my day. The process is silent, yet it never truly feels silent, because I am present to every part of the experience - the sound of the herbs landing in the teapot, the water simmering and filling the teapot, the feeling of the steam on my hand and face in the process and the aromas that begin to open up. I light a tealight to put in my teapot warmer and set the teapot on top to steep. Then, I get settled in a comfortable seated position and light sage or palo santo, close my eyes and begin to focus on my breath. After some time has passed, I gently crack open my eyes, pour the tea into my cup and slowly, mindfully enjoy the tea. With each sip, I notice the different layers of flavors and aromas as they develop and feel the warmth of the cup in my hands and in my body as it travels within. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than this sacred moment.
6 - Transparency is so important to SFT, how do find your sources and connect with the root of your tea?
Quality is always my top priority. Every flower, leaf + root I use is organic, fair trade or ethically wild harvested and the herbs are sourced from all over the world as each requires a particular altitude and climate to flourish.
7 - When it comes to your own self-care, what do you do to stay balanced as an entrepreneur in LA?
This is tough because I genuinely love my job and it’s hard for me to pull myself away from my baby. It’s amazing how much I can work before getting burned out because I love it so much. So while I do work a lot, I ride my bicycle everywhere in Venice and this ensures I get a moment to connect with nature and move my body even if it’s just a quick ride. I’ve also learned that friendships are essential to my happiness so no matter how busy I get, I always make time to see the people I love.
8 - How can we keep up with you and best way to get our hands on your teas?
9 - Any tips for best tea practices?
Herbal teas can be handled differently than traditional teas. Herbal teas typically (but not always) can tolerate a longer and richer extraction time. When steeping NEAKITA herbal teas, I suggest using a french press or a teapot with no central strainer to allow the herbs to fully infuse into the water. When you are ready to serve it, you can pour the tea into your cup through a strainer to remove the leaves, flowers, and roots - leaving you with a rich and nourishing tea full of flavor to enjoy!
Make sure to follow our social media pages for a giveaway with NEAKITA! We will also be featuring one of her teas in our goodie bags at our next SFT event this coming Monday, September 25th at WMN Space. Make sure to sign up and we look forward to seeing you there. Have a beautiful week and until next time, take care.