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Meet Yessy Gutierrez of Still in North Miami/Hallandale Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yessy Gutierrez.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started The Still Company out of my bedroom at my parent’s home. A few years prior to me starting Still, I had been through some life-changing events. I left my hometown of Jacksonville, Fla., friends, a high-profile job and a long-term relationship. I left most of what I knew behind and moved back in with my parents who had recently moved down to south Florida. I was really on the mend. I sought a lot of solace in reading a lot of self-help books, attending seminars and just sitting in the beautiful mess of what it means to have to start over again.

At the end of 2015, I had just finished reading Paulo Coelho’s, The Alchemist. I was so moved by the protagonist, Santiago, who goes on a journey to fulfill his destiny. Santiago was on the move and I was finding my way by being still. And that’s when it hit me – you can’t really dream up the life you want without listening to your heart. That’s when I set out to create something that can help lead people to stillness.

I knew wanted to start a business, but it had to be a business that helped people. It had to be beneficial, it had to be healthy and it had to give people a sense of calm. I immediately thought of tea. Growing up my mom never allowed sodas, fruit punches or any other sweet or fruity drinks in the house. My options were water, juice, tea and cafe con leche. 

Fresh out of college, I rediscovered tea and fell in love. It always made me feel better and I always felt I was doing something so good for myself. I wanted to create my own tea – blends that were unique and that were loose leaf. Loose-leaf tea is the best form of tea, because in this form they release their full flavor and benefits.

So, I found tea classes. I became a Certified Tea Sommelier. I learned as much as I could about tea – where it’s grown, how it’s grown, how it’s made into dried tea leaves and more. I learned about aroma, taste, color, steeping temperatures and more. Then, I started experimenting and came up with some delicious blends that I just had to share with my friends and family – and they loved it! I moved forward to the next step, which was how to create loose leaf tea in bulk to distribute online and how to provide custom tea blends to local businesses.

Ever since then, I’ve created more blends, introduced my tea to restaurants, stores and spas and have participated in local markets in Broward and Miami-Dade to get the word out about The Still Company.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Many of the challenges I faced was learning as I go. Doing a lot of research on food regulations to ensure that I practice the highest standards when creating my loose-leaf blends. It’s important to me to be able to not only provide premium ingredients but also do it with the clearest conscious possible. It’s easy to find a kitchen and create blends, but it’s difficult to find one that really mirrors your standards for excellence and can support any and all requests you may have to set yourself up for success.

Please tell us about Still.
Still, founded in 2016, began with me becoming a Certified Tea Sommelier. Spending over a year with a combination of in-person and at-home studies where each factor of tea was studied and tested. As a Certified Tea Sommelier, I specialize in creating custom blends for restaurants, wellness centers, spas, events, etc.

It’s fascinating looking at menus and coming up with something so unique and so delicious for clients. Blends that really make the flavors of their food sing. Working with more than just tea – herbs, roots, dried petals and more has been such a fulfilling experience. Making new recipes is my favorite part of the job. I love doing tea tastings with clients and seeing their faces light up when they love what’s been created and when they can envision their customers enjoying Still blends.

Still is about using the ceremony of making tea in order to create a moment of stillness for yourself. In a fast-paced world, it’s important to slow down and take inventory of how you’re feeling and what you want out of life. Sometimes, we move so fast that we forget to just take a breather.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is spending my summers in Colombia, S.A. with family. My mother has eight brothers and sisters, so I had a multitude of cousins to play with. We’d play soccer in the streets, hide and seek – you name it!

Not to mention, all of the adults that doted on me. Some aunts would let me have milk and cookies at night before bed and my grandmother would make my favorite snack stove-top popcorn. They’d also take me through the town and introduce me to all of their friends and neighbors

And last but not least, one thing that I used to do in Colombia, which now looking back on it, I find mortifying (considering I’m a vegetarian) is run through a butcher shop with large, hanging meat. The butcher was my grandparent’s neighbor and he had two granddaughters who lived in the upstairs apartment who I would play with. Instead of going the traditional route and knocking on the front door of their apartment — we would insist on running through the butcher shop to upstairs. Still can’t believe we did that.

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