Tea Time
Melissa Harlan’s taste for tea is the inspiration behind her business.

Name: Melissa Harlan
Profession: Drink Me! Tea Room Owner
Age: 40

What do you do for a living?
I own and manage a vegan and gluten free tea room called Drink Me! Tea Room in Tempe. We serve traditional afternoon tea (or high tea) that includes savory items, like small finger sandwiches, scones with lemon curd and cream, along with a variety of small cakes, tarts, and cookies. My job is to create a fun and memorable experience for our guests. That includes fun decorations, music, and an overall high level of service. We have a lot of guests come to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or other life events––I make sure their visit is positive and memorable.

What type of training do you need to do your job?
Customer service experience is the most important training. Working with customers and being friendly and outgoing, while anticipating their requests is the majority of the job. For an owner, understanding operations and how a business works is also very important.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is meeting all of our great customers and making new friends. Helping create a moment of joy for our guests and seeing their smiles is very rewarding.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be an animal trainer or a photographer.

What advice would you give to a kid who wants to have a similar career?

Seek out jobs that focus on a high level of customer experience and learn all you can. My work experience involved working at some of the top companies who made outstanding customer experience the most important priority like Southwest Airlines, Verizon, and Disney.

One fun fact NOT about your job?
I used to sell balloons at Disneyland!