For Tea Living, Inspiration Accelerates after Move to Google Apps

Tea Living INC. (teacollection.com) brings worldwide cultures and modern design to children’s fashion. Twice each year, Tea packs their bags and travels the world to explore and discover. With original, high-quality designs inspired by their adventures abroad, Tea stands for practical luxury with pieces that are easy to care for and feel great to wear. Tea has won awards in innovation from their industry peers (as well as global recognition for their use of social media and technology), which clearly points to a path of continued growth.

With increasingly rapid growth over the past several years, Tea has gone from a single office in San Francisco to three locations, including a second office in San Francisco and a customer service center in Idaho. With remote salespeople and employees regularly traveling the world, Tea’s in-house email and file sharing servers were feeling the strain. Upgrading or expanding the email server would be a costly proposition.

Tea was already exploring options for hosted and cloud email services when the unthinkable happened. “Our Exchange server crashed and the mailstore was corrupted,” states Kenner Rawdon, Network Administrator of Tea Living INC. “Without email, our ability to effectively communicate–to service our customers–was at a standstill.”

Working with Boston-based Cumulus Global, a Google Apps Premier SMB Partner, Tea was up and running with Google Apps for Business in under a day. “In less time and effort than it would take to recover our Exchange server,” notes Rawdon, “we had global access to all of our email, calendars and contacts. Even with our emergency situation, the process was remarkably smooth.”

While Tea’s initial motivation was email, the company saw many other benefits from their move to Google Apps. With continuous world travel and an endless stream of photographs and images, Tea employees use Drive to upload and share pictures and files. Without the need for a VPN connection, employees no longer struggle with multiple login steps and performance issues. Telecommuters, mobile and remote staff use Drive and Docs to collaborate in real time and across time zones. Teams share information and ideas as they arise, without the limitations of email and voicemail. Using priority inbox and filters, employees report that they are able to stay organized and remain focused.

Innovation and creativity flow more easily without all the clutter.

“The impact of Google Apps is evolutionary,” concludes Rawdon. “We continue to find ways to work more effectively and be more productive as we continue to use more features of Google Apps’ features.” As an example, Rawdon sees growing use of Hangouts as a tool for meetings and calls. “Being able to see each other, along with the designs and images we share, will help us collaborate and make decisions more effectively. This personal interaction also fits well with our philosophy and culture.”

Tea Living INC. was co-founded by Emily Meyer and Leigh Rawdon, two moms who bonded over a love of travel. The company gives back to the community through its partnership with The Global Fund for Children, Tea’s School Days program, and the company’s Inspiring Mom Awards.

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