Kori of Kye Teahouse: Natural Wellness, Healthy Lifestyle, and Representation in Hawai'i
Kye Teahouse holds a foundation of wellness and sustainability. What caught my eye about this business is the passion for beauty from the inside out. Making it a point that the body and mind should be nurtured - something that I constantly need to remind myself about. I met with Kori, the creator of Kye Teahouse, to talk about her inspiration, motivation, and fostering growth in our youth’s environments.
Kori started Kye Teahouse while she was in nursing school in 2015. After understanding and studying the effects of modern medicine, health became more than just a recommended dose of different prescriptions. As an advocate for promoting a healthy lifestyle and diet, these were topics that seemed to be overshadowed in the health realm. It became a matter of focusing on the cure, versus the prevention. The power of natural healing came with Kori’s study abroad trip to Costa Rica where she met and studied under natural healers. These techniques were something that she was passionate about and something that she was sharing just with her family. Kori decided to move to O’ahu from Washington DC to provide a direct and natural source for her products. All the blends available from Kye Teahouse are grown and picked at the peak of freshness. The dedication to the product and brand is yet another element that made Kye Teahouse stand out in my eyes.
We stan our strong women of color business owners! In my conversation with Kori, I shared with her my background of going to college and moving to the mainland. My fear of the lack of culture and seeing people that looked like me. She expressed that when she moved to Hawai’i, there were barely any African American people in her whole part of town. This became a conflict with the identity of her brand. Finding a balance between showcasing herself as well as representing an island and culture that she was completely new to. I think that Kori has done this super well. She has found a way to be ~inspired and appreciative~ of the Hawaiian local culture and still be herself; embrace Black culture and where she is from.
Kori has a son almost ready for Kindergarten (so exciting!!). We reflected together on the education system in Hawai’i. As a main issue brought up, being able to learn the right histories and creating a safe space for children to grow is really important. As two women who have been through/getting through higher education, we agreed that diversity and learning beyond the textbooks is something you need to go out and find yourself. Diversity credits and classes should be more than just a requirement, it should be incorporated into basic curriculum.
Being in Hawai’i, there is the opportunity to learn about Hawaiian culture and be exposed to it throughout everyday life. This is something that you probably wouldn’t find outside of the islands. It is a point that especially Black History is something that should be spoken up about more outside of the textbooks written by primarily white authors. As a community effort, it starts with igniting conversation about why we don’t always learn from or teach about Black history directly from Black voices. Creating this space opens necessary discussion about moving forward and acknowledging the importance of rethinking how the education system is a link to overshadowing these voices. As a reflection for you, think about your education journey and how it was influenced in any way. Think about how you can work to unlearn and listen to the actual voices and the histories often silenced.
My conversation with Kori was motivational, inspiring, and eye opening. As a small business owner starting out, I really appreciate the relationships and guidance I have received from the small business community. I enjoy hearing about what motivates other women of color to pursue something beyond themselves. Go ahead and relax! Sip on some Kye Teahouse and take it easy brah!
Follow Kori and Kye Teahouse
Anti-Racist Resources (esp for the Hawai’i Community)
Support Black Communities in Hawai’i with the Pōpolo Project
Learn about Health Benefits of Tea