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The Qi

A whole flower tea brand inspired by ancient Eastern holistic healing wisdom.

  • Female-Founded
  • Clean Ingredients
  • Sustainable Practices
  • Ethical Production
  • Giving Back
FOUNDER Lisa Li
HEADQUARTERS New York, NY
The Qi

Behind the Brand

The Qi was founded by Lisa Li, a Chinese native who was born in the small coastal city of Yingkuo, China. With a single mom who worked full-time to make ends meet, Lisa spent a lot of time with her grandmother and grew up surrounded by traditional herbal remedies and treatments. When Lisa turned 14, her mom brought her to Vermont in pursuit of better opportunities, opening a dumpling restaurant to support the family. After graduating from college and working in the fashion industry for over a decade (including starting her own sustainable fashion business), Lisa felt burnt out and yearned for something different. She decided to take a two-week trip to Shangri-La, Yunnan to heal herself and relive her childhood memories of drinking herbal teas with her grandmother.

During her trip, Lisa visited a remote village and encountered roses that the locals drank as tea. She was immediately awed by the experience, finding it so transformative and beautiful that she knew she needed to share it with the world. Lisa traveled tens of thousands of miles and tasted over a hundred varieties of flowering herbs before deciding which small family-owned farms to partner with. Though she started her flower tea business as a side hustle, Lisa ultimately invested her life savings into what would eventually become The Qi. In the early days, she attended a few trade shows and received an opportunity to meet with Bloomingdale’s, who went on to place The Qi’s biggest order and kickstart the company’s growth. Fast forward to today, The Qi’s line of holistic, whole-flower teas has been featured in major publications as well as at retailers like Anthropologie. Their small yet mighty team works tirelessly to educate consumers on the magic of their organic, hand-picked, and family-grown teas.

Meet the Maker

What has been your most unforgettable moment (good or bad) while building your company? - +

One unforgettable moment is definitely the 1st time I tried the Shangri-la Rose tea in Shangri-la (yep, it's a real place) with the lady who grew her own Rose tea that brewed me a cup in her tiny hole-in-the-wall tea shop. I'll never forget this experience. I felt… uplifted and transported to a secret rose garden as she opened a box of dried whole roses, the rosy floral aroma immediately enveloped me, and sipping in the soothing and gentle rosy refreshing tea while watching the visual splendor of the rose dancing in the infusion was nothing I've ever experienced.

Another special moment is when we got a 5 star customer review from a woman whose best friend of many many years was going through chemotherapy… She had bought our rose tea to share with her best friend during her visits at the hospital and that experience has brought them so much joy and nourishment in a really challenging time in their lives. This review got me balling my eyes out for hours! It makes me feel so grateful and honored to be doing this incredible work and hard work everyday that makes a positive difference in people's lives.

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? - +

I love going to the local farmer's market every Sat to pick up fresh seasonal produce to cook during the weekend and week ahead. Also, playing with my pup Peanut who is the joy of my life!

What is an essential part of your daily routine? - +

I love journaling while sipping on a cup of flower tea in the evenings - it's my way to unwind a long busy day and it's been truly wonderful. I also practice Qigong in the morning everyday. It's been an amazing way to be grounded and start each day from a very calming place.

What is your biggest pet peeve? - +

Complaining.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? - +

My dad was a monk.

What do you want to be remembered for? - +

I want to be remembered for creating something that helped people feel more joy and nourishment. I want to be remember for something I created that makes a positive difference in people's lives.

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