In Bed With... Cecelia, Founder of London Tea Club

Moonlit's In Bed With... Series is a collection of intimate interviews with tastemakers, core-shakers, and the people we love. We explore what keeps them up at night, in addition to their sleep secrets.

Woman performing traditional tea ceremony
Cecelia performing a traditional tea ceremony

Cecelia Lau is the Founder of London Tea Club, a subscription box service delivering natural and organic single-origin teas to members each month.

Q: Cecelia, Welcome to California! You recently moved from London to SF - that’s quite a jump! What was the catalyst for the big move?

I grew up in the Bay Area and had been living in London for over four years with my husband. We loved it but knew it was time to say goodbye to the expat life and head home to California when our daughter was born. Big transitions call for a clean slate; new baby, new home, new life!

Q: Do you have any favorite spots in your new city, SF that are relaxing, calming, or inspiring?

My perfect day is a morning at The Assembly, lunch at Stonemill Matcha, a class at Lovestory Yoga and then casual dinner with a friend nearby at Cha-Ya, Souvla or Kitava. Luckily for me, all these spots are located within blocks of one another.

Picture of the London Tea Club subscription box
London Tea Club subscription box

Q: Tell us how London Tea Club was born and how membership works! We love this concept so much!

When I moved to London in 2012 I realized that everyone was brewing their tea with low-quality tea bags. I couldn’t find a place to purchase my favorite green, white and oolong teas. My friend had just gifted me a Birchbox subscription, and I thought ‘wouldn’t this be a great idea for loose-leaf tea?’ and London Tea Club was born.

Each month, members receive 0.5 oz of natural or organic loose-leaf tea in the mail, sourced from small farms around the world. Membership is currently $20/month (+ $10 international shipping), and I’m hoping to relaunch our online store next year.

Q: Take us through a day in the life of Cecelia. What does your day look like?

Let’s see, here are the basics:

6:30 AM Wake up, drink tea and meditate before the morning flurry begins

8:30 AM Out the door! Drop off daughter at daycare and then catch up on emails and social

12 PM Yoga and lunch break

1 PM Work, calls and errands

5 PM The evening flurry begins: traffic, dog walk, baby bath and bedtime, dinner

8 PM Wind down: tidy up, stretch or foam roll, run a bath, more tea, maybe a book...

11 PM Lights out, with a few drops of Moonlit oil in my bedside diffuser!

Q: Do you have any favorite productivity hacks or tools?

Yes! I have to do two things to make sure my day starts off well. In the morning, I wake up before the rest of the family so that I can drink tea and meditate. The extra 20-30 minutes really sets the tone for a calmer, more peaceful day.

In the evening, I review my calendar and get everything organized for the next day (pack my bag for work/lunch/gym, charge the car, find my keys, etc.) so that I’m not a panicked mess while running out the door the next morning!

Flatlay of London Tea Club tea with red leaves and a tea pot
London Tea Club's organic loose-leaf tea

Q: What are the biggest lessons/challenges learned with finding “balance”? Do you believe in balance?

I believe we are always falling out of balance, because our priorities are constantly shifting. I don’t think we can “have it all” 100% of the time, but we can certainly have it all over the course of our lifetimes. We just have to be flexible and self-aware. Right now my challenge is balancing my growing family with my growing business. I’ve had to relax expectations, and remind myself often that perfection does not exist.

Q: I love asking this question to small business owners. What do you wish you knew before you started LTC?

I wish I knew that starting a small business is oftentimes much more challenging than working in an office. When you start out, there is no paycheck to support you, no friendly coworkers to chat with, no end to the to-do list. No one is helping you stay focused, or giving you feedback on your progress. It gets better over time as you develop a community and a team, but there are days where I miss having a manager to just look out for me and tell me that I’m doing a good job.

Flatlay of loose leaf tea in a vial with a tea pot and two tea cups

Q: Do you have any unexpected surprises (positive or negative) that came your way while growing LTC?

Customer service takes a LOT of time!

Q: You’ve executed so many events! It’s exciting to see another brand recognizing the importance of community and bringing women together. Any favorite past events that stand out? What your advice to creating a successful event?

I have a lot of fun collaborating with other brands and artists, such as our Tea & Dinner with Qnola and our upcoming Tea & Masks with Moonlit Skincare! I also love our tea ceremonies and sharing circles where women can drink tea in silence with strangers, and then be completely vulnerable when sharing. It’s so powerful and sacred.

Q: Which LTC teas are you reaching for this fall/winter season?

Two old favorites: Sticky Rice Puerh from Nannuo Mountain in Yunnan, China as well as an herbal infusion of chrysanthemum flowers, red dates, longan and goji berries from my mom’s garden.

Picture of 5 London Tea Club teas
A selection of London Tea Club teas

Q: How do you decompress? Do you have any go-to self-care tools/tricks?

My weekly self-care formula consists of yoga, tea and quality time with family and friends. If I can also squeeze in a long bath and a short hike, I’m in a good place.

🔥 QUICKFIRE 🔥

My ideal # of hours of sleep is: 7-8
Sleep season for me is: winter ❄️
How many pillows: I still sleep with my massive pregnancy pillow!
AM or PM?: AM
Nightcap?: One last cup of tea 🍵
Bad sleep habit: Checking my phone in the morning
Good sleep habit: Heading to bed and waking up at the same times each day (10:30PM to 6:30 AM), cleanse/tone/serum/moisturizer every night (thanks mom!)
Can't sleep with: Lights on
Side/back/stomach sleeper: Side
Mantra you’re loving right now: Perfect does not exist.

All images courtesy of London Tea Club.