This week story is from João, a curious young man whose passion for experiencing and sharing experiences led him to co-found Chá Yê !,(Yê’s Tea!) a company focused on spreading Chinese culture and ancient tradition by selling teas.
Son of an engineer and a therapist, João was born and raised in Sao Paulo and had his adolescence featured by a heightened desire to discover and share different experiences: “When I was in high school, I’ve always wanted to discover and experience different things. I had a huge desire to know things that others didn’t and be able to share my findings. ”
At the end of high school, focused on studying something that would address both human and sciences, João decided to subscribe for Economics at USP (a well know University in Brazil). In the middle of the course, realized that did not identify more with this choice: “In the middle of the course I already knew that Economy had nothing to do with me. I didn’t want to work in the financial market, and realized I didn’t want to pursue an academic career. ”
His ever-present willingness to try new things, caused him to enroll in a cooking course: “I’ve loved to cook and decided it would be cool to find out more about cooking and restaurants. I enrolled, then at a course of Gastronomy in Senac. ”
João worked in a restaurant, had just completed his degree in Economics and his first year of Gastronomy, when he was tempted to accept a totally unlike invitation: “Some friends of my parents who lived in China since 2002 called me to go there, spend some time at their house and work at a restaurant of Cantonese food in which they had a friend who use to manage the place. ”
He accepted the invitation, went to China and had a nasty surprise just after arriving: “I arrived in China and I had lunch at the restaurant where I was supposed to work. When I started speaking with the manager I realized that actually there was no opportunity to work there. For cultural reasons, she ended up saying it was previously possible to hire me, but actually she had never talked to her boss about the issue. ”
Jobless and in a totally unknown country, João needed to decide what to do in his life: “I was in China, without a job and no clarity of what I would do. But the connection I had with that culture was so great that I decided to stay in Shanghai and seek employment with foreign people who worked there. ”
Shortly after, he got a job in Shanghai as Chef of a coffee shop owned by two Frenchmen and his wide range of responsibilities, was to make a tea menu for breakfast: “The owners asked me to make a tea menu for the coffee. At the beginning I started researching the subject on the internet, with time, I got so involved that I decided visiting two cities near Shanghai with a very interesting culture of tea. ”
João who was already in love with Chinese culture, became increasingly marvel at the complexity and symbolism of teas: “I discovered that tea was such a complex product such as chocolate, coffee or wine, which has a history and symbolism behind. I was fascinated and did everything to better understand the subject”.
The opportunity to work with at this coffee shop didn’t work out, João had a problem with his visa and had to return to Brazil. But he has nothing he could do, the tea had come into his life to stay: “I realized that tea was something that made a lot of sense to me. So I decided speaking with a friend of mine from college, and together we decided to start Chá Yê! (Yê! Tea). A company focused on spreading the Chinese culture through the sale of high quality teas produced by small local farmers “.
Since then João have been experienced an eternal quest to meet the increasingly complex world of teas, began studying Mandarin and traveling once a year to China.
Start a business based on a passion, is not an easy task. João and his partner face daily enormous challenges and uncertainties. But his motivation to get to know and share the fascinating culture of Chinese teas, do overcome any obstacle.
And you, have you discovered what is your big passion?
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