Isabelle Ranger Loose Leaf TeaCrafters By Kelly S. Thompson | Photographed by Dylan Doubt
n the Lower Mainland, we’ve become a community passionate about sustainable products that are developed in an ethical way. Isabelle Ranger and her partner, Cédric Gervais, operate Namasthé, a tea company in Whistler in which all tea is single origin loose leaf, blended with locally foraged herbs and botanicals. Teas are harvested in micro batches, which ensures quality while also allowing Isabelle to blend specific teas for delicate, tasty intricacies. “Sharing our passion in each cup of tea with tea lovers is the best part of my job!” says Isabelle. She wasn’t always a purveyor of teas. Before Namasthé was created, Isabelle owned an herbal apothecary. Once she became pregnant with her son, she wanted to continue blending tisanes and teas but required a more flexible schedule to accommodate her growing family. “There was a huge gap in quality, and a lack of local, so I redirected my course, moved from one on one service to serving many and launched Namasthé in 2006,” says Isabelle. Since then, the Ranger-Gervais family has been producing high quality tea for sale at their online shop. To keep them on their toes, Isabelle and Cédric have three children, Kalea, 15, Samuel, 8, and Xavier, 3, who are all part of the farm and foraging tea business. Kalea often helps with events while the younger kids like to help forage for herbs and fungi to assist in creating different blends. “Cedric and I involve the kids in some steps as an educative experience about initiative, creative problem solving, accountability, and using time wisely.” In this way, Namasthé really is a family business. WestCoastFamilies.com WestCoastFamilies.com 32 32 WestCoastFamilies.com 32
Since Isabelle’s children are active in their business, it’s easier than most jobs to accommodate time together. “We are a pretty adventurous family and passionate about spending as much time doing the things we love most, squeezed into every moment.” And it helps that Isabelle truly loves what she does for a living, as she consistently brings her passion for blending and foraging teas and delivering that passion in the form of high quality tea products. “I love tea crafting, so I never feel like I work,” says Isabelle. When it comes to her business and the quality of tea products they produce, Isabelle insists that it’s not just about her customers, but also, producing teas that she would be comfortable feeding to her children. “Certified organic, fair-trade, local, and sustainably foraged means a lot to me, as it affects them [the children] just as much…We wish to be part of the solution,” she says. Her herbal blends also are created to help a variety of health problems, which makes the origin even more important. Namasthé also packages, imports, and wholesales organic teas from companies she trusts. “As an herbalist, forager and organic grower, sourcing quality that is ethical is everything. That is why we go out of our way to grow in Pemberton, or to buy from partner farmers we know,” says Isabelle. It is this devotion to local and organic that maintains the quality of teas sold in her business. Inevitably, life has a tendency to get a little crazy, but Isabelle says it’s important to take time to focus on what matters and tackle projects one step at a time. “A good sense of humour, deep breath, perspective and a lot of love keeps it all somewhat balanced.”
Our May 2014 issue with WestCoast Moms, Day camps, Preschools and more!