The obligatory panic attack

While heading to the finish line of the MiniMarieTea pilot pouch, I’ve been all over the place with my mind.

Sh*t is getting real I guess.

All (dazzling pretty and tasty) ingredients from my great organic farmers have now arrived. I’ve got the works: gloves, a hygienic suit,… I even have my personal tea scale to weigh all ingredients and fill these out onto the packaging.

I’m all ready and geared up to the maximum and have now started wrapping up the tea bags.

I’m making 150 boxes of 20 tea bags each. Yep, I’m filling 3000 tea bags. All by myself. Including a double knot in each bag. Every bag is handled and filled with extreme care.

I guess I mean business.

I’m thinking it will take me about 2 weeks, because I’m not doing this all day long obviously. But actually, it is quite soothing to be so in touch with a product you created and love. It’s my happy moment. Although I might throw a little tea party when I’ve filled up tea bag number 3000😉


Then all I need to do is finish the packaging template and print it. (Well, that sounds more simple than it is, but ok…)

When the boxes arrive, I will need to fill them with the tea bags of course, but that won’t take too long I think.


This brings me to the fact that I’ve had a panic attack last week.

I suddenly wanted to change it all. I briefly considered running off to a warm and exotic country as well. I would earn money by working on a local herb farm or something, the simple life. Why going through all this trouble anyway, right? Yep, a full blown panic attack.

You see, I came up with this really amazing new name for a kids tea brand (which I can’t share with you just yet, as you can understand) last week and suddenly I thought of changing everything. Order new tea bags, packaging, branding, the whole lot…it had to be that new name… panic hit me thinking about all the stuff I needed to go through in terms of efforts, money and time to change all my plans around. Then the quitting and running off to a warm place far far away popped into my mind.

Then good people started talking sense into me (thank you, good people, you know who you are) and I managed to turn this fall back into something uplifting: the plans for my second kids tea range -after MiniMarieTea- are born!

I guess I realized it’s exactly what entrepreneurs do, they never stop thinking, re-thinking and creating. So hey, the future looks bright again.🙂

Anyway, my inner circle stopped me on time and got me right back to the heart of the story; it is MiniMarieTea. It has always been MiniMarieTea to begin with and that’s the one and only brand this whole journey and company should start of with. It’s my story, it’s my heart. It embodies the soul of the company and products I want to create. It reflects all the right values and mission. It sets out the right foundations. So, sigh, MiniMarieTea it is. Obviously.


Talking about the values, mission and foundations of a company:

Last week I saw this inspiring documentary “Change makers” with Ricardo Semler, talking about how his successful companies all thrive by the non-hierarchic type of leadership.

It’ exactly how I see my little company. No waste of time on ego and positions. No masks. Authenticity and Honesty are key. You just ask your questions to a co-worker that you think might have the answer. You don’t automatically step towards somebody higher in rank. You think, feel and act for yourself. You love your job and are proud of what you do because you get the autonomy to do it. Because your participation matters.

Also, you get to keep your quality of life. A major must have, to be a happy co-worker. Not all of us can thrive on helping somebody else fulfill their goals and company dreams, but if you can do that and get to keep your personal life in balance, I bet you’d love the work you do. It’s all about balance. Why shouldn’t a co-worker be able to go pick his kid up from school, recharge and get back to finishing the goals of his job later on? We all benefit from charged workers.

Point is, if goals, values and mission are clear and shared by everyone involved, the company works. Values before skills. I still praise this.

You see, I work from 9 am to 3 pm these days. Don’t call me lazy just yet. I am super productive 6 hours a day. (Studies show that you can only be productive with your brain approximately 4 hours a day, the other down time is essential to process and be able to use these 4 hours to the maximum). I keep full focus exactly because they’re 6 hour working days. Not only am I on top of my game during these hours, I’m a happy camper too. Because this rhythm allows me to focus on the personal essentials too. I get to do the school/daycare runs daily. I’m grateful for being able to be one of those parents waving at the school gate when the bell rings. You should see MiniMarie’s face. It’s priceless. The morning rush is inevitable. But it’s doable. None of us are stressed out, because we’re not losing time in traffic jams and because we’re happy with the work we do and how we do it. Don’t get me wrong, we’re tired, always. We have two toddlers, we have obligations and bills to pay, we’re normal🙂 but it is a different kind of tired from the tired I used to be. It’s a better tired. I feel useful and fulfilled. All the useless noise is erased.

When our munchkins are off to bed around 7.30pm, I clean up and around 8pm I often restart my computer or do some extra blending, reading, tasting, thinking, noting, ordering, … but only because I want to, because it’s my little company. I choose, you know. I choose not to be that mum, reading her mails besides the bath with her toddlers splashing her under just to get her attention. 6am- 9am (yep, the early mornings are real….) and 3pm-8pm are exclusive family hours, or at least that’s the idea. Flexibility works both ways. That’s logical. So sometimes these hours vary according to family or professional needs. Obviously. Every day is different in life. But broadly this is how my week looks and  it’s this balance that makes me move mountains.

Let me be clear though, I’m a big believer of evolving needs and adapting your work-life balance to it. I’m not going to do schoolruns and 6am mornings for ever. I think my job should evolve with my life, you see.

And about that work-life-balance… Elke Geraerts has some very interesting thoughts on this topic; it’s counterproductive to see work as something merely obligatory and spare time as something fun. It leads to people filling up their weekends with so called funfunfun activities that don’t always make you recharge, if you’re honest.

Why not try to integrate life in work. Why not make sure you feel alive and happy while working, by for example making sure you get to do the school run in between a working day on Wednesday noon for example. Surprise your kid with a bowl of soup and some play before getting back to work, where you share the goals and understand the meaning of your participation in the company. Where your actions generate appreciation. A feeling you take home with you. It’s all connected. Neither should be a punishment. Neither should be just funfunfun. It’s all about balance, hearing and understanding people’s needs.

O and about that little company of mine… I’ve been dreaming away lately. Dreams don’t cost anything, and they allow you to design and shape what could be the future. I highly recommend it.

It’s been almost a year now since I’ve started this journey (?! Can’t believe that btw), I’ve been working in the living room, then moved to the kitchen table when ingredients needed to be tested more frequently, and finally I’ve turned a babyroom into an office. Now that my first product is about to be finished, I slowly start dreaming of an office outside my house. Working from home can be fun, but not every day, trust me. Or at least, not for me, I need to be able to separate that a bit more some how. I think it would explain what I do a little easier too, if i actually GO TO work, instead of being at work and not at that same time, always, you see.

It won’t be anytime soon though. I realize that. But I know exactly what my office and herbs storage would look like. I see Happy Waters (that’s the name of my little company btw) head quarters in an old barn in the middle of the fields, not too far from where I live. I’d love to ride the bike to work.


I can see myself (and my husband, but he doesn’t know it yet😉 ) painting and renovating an old barn, pre-loved by an old farmer, mowing my company grass and growing fresh mint tea outside the office for meetings and occasional mojito’s for celebrations of small and big victories and events, obviously. And I hear music in that barn. Good sweet music. I smell nature all over, inside out. I feel nothing but good vibes thinking about that happy place. Magic.



O how I love the thought of this…. Think it, and you will navigate towards it… I sure hope this thinking out loud is navigating me right towards this goal…

Which brings me to this track by the way – Thinking Ot Loud–  it’s the favourite track of my little one, Jill Rosie, this track was big when she was born and I slow dance (or something that looks like dancing anyway) with her to these tunes ever since birth on a regular basis. My o my, she loves that little quality time. On top of that, it’s a song I sing out loud quite often with one of my dear friends in the car when we have kid-free-quality time😉

So in short, this song puts a smile on my face every time I hear it. It also has the most beautiful meaningful sentence in it, which I very much whisper into my kid’s ear each time we’re slow dancing : “Your soul can never grow old, it’s evergreen.”


Ah and last but not least:

I’m so proud to say KBC StartIt has selected me as one of their newbies! (some sort of community for start-ups) Curious where this new collaboration will take us. Ready for the journey and glad to be on the team.





The difference between Happy Bags and MiniMarieTea  

As I’m proceeding on #thehappybagsjourney and getting closer to holding the first MiniMarieTea boxes in my hands, (Seriously guys, I’m OVERexcited about that. This does feel like I’m about to hold my third child for the first time. Ok. I’m a woman, I tend to exaggerate, but not that much though. This is a big deal to me, as you can imagine.) a question I get asked a lot lately is one of confusion. And I totally get that. In these times of information overload, who reads the full story or blog or listens to a full album, or reads an entire newspaper… we’re living a snippet life these days. It’s just how we are reprogrammed to be able to handle the information sea that surrounds us.

So I thought I’d clearly explain in short –or at least try to keep it short- what the difference is between MiniMarieTea and Happy Bags:

When I started this journey exactly one year ago now (Ok, can’t believe that…), I wrote a business plan about the perfect drink for kids I wanted to create: Happy Bags, a little tear bag with 100% fruit powder that one can add to a glass or bottle of water and the powder dissolves into tasty and healthy infused fruit water.

I did the first tests for that drink in a professional lab and soon realised this would take a whole lot of extra testing (which means time & money obviously), so in order to be able go into business either way, I decided to create another, slightly easier, product which I felt the need for, first: MiniMarieTea

The first all natural, all organic infusion for kids. With whole leaf herbs, fruits and flowers, straight from the best farmers. Packed into non-bleached tea bags in pretty bio degradable boxes made from grape residu. 100% the best tea for kids in the world. And that’s an understatement. Obviously.

Kids can drink MiniMarieTea with warm or cold water, by the way. Yep, it’s genius🙂 .

There will be 4 blends of MiniMarieTea available:

Blue Marie, Red Marie, Green Marie and Brown Marie.

All named after the colour the magical tasty water turns into after you add one of those perfect non-bleached, bio degradable teabags.



I will reveal the exact ingredients of these blends soon, I’m just waiting on a few deliveries from farmers to make sure I can blend them right before I reveal them, you see.

The idea is that I get to go into business and sell MiniMarieTea (Worldwide? Yes please🙂 but let’s start outside my living room first ;-)) in life style shops and bars and eventually to supermarkets too hopefully. On the back of that I hope I’ll one day be able to develop Happy Bags further and get these out there to your youngsters too.

I hope this all makes sense and clarifies the whole Happy Bags vs. MiniMarieTea story a bit…

As for the situation right now:

I’m actually almost ready to blend the first 120 boxes of MiniMarieTea as we speak! (30 boxes of each blend that is)

All ingredients should be here next week. (You should smell my office right now… packed with kilograms of herbs, fruits and flowers… it’s magic!)

Amazing Truziwuzi is finishing up our MiniMarie packaging designs (What a team… over the moon with this one… can’t wait to show the designs to you…)

The perfect non-bleached teabags in my waterdrop logo shape with a waterdrop logo tag on it (Hey, what did you expect…) should be here next week…. aaaah can’t wait!

Here’s a sneak peek of the pretty teabag label btw! Hope you like it…



The grape-residu -bio -degradable-boxes are chosen and should be printed over the next few weeks.

The food label and specifics is being taken care of as we speak.

Then we wrap and it’s a wrap!!


So I’m thinking November I should be holding these babies in my hands…

Fingers crossed.


BUT dear readers, here’s the catch… these 120 boxes won’t be for sale yet. They’re for hand outs to taste makers and competitions etc. They’re for early promotion, buzzing, seeding or whatever we call that these days.

But mainly, they’re for the boards of those shops, bars and supermarkets out there. I’m hoping to convince them with these perfect prototypes to order larger quantities of MiniMarieTea.

And then I can finally start producing for you guys! Then you can finally get your favourite MiniMarieTea blend in a store or bar near your house.


There’s a lot of “but’s” and “and then’s” in this blog… so we’re not there yet as you can see… So bear with me please. Your support does mean a lot to keep going for that “get in stores goal”.


Let’s do this!


Today is a good day, to be start-up-honest.

On bad days, this last sentence would be more like “Let’s go find a normal job”😉

But a dear friend said to me this week “don’t talk in doom scenario’s, because then you feed this thinking.” She’s right. Reminder/note to self: Thoughts are forces. Silencing the mind right now. Thinking happy thoughts. Yes We Can.





On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.


So I’ve decided not to wait any longer. I’m going to produce the first badge of MiniMarieTea.

As in all-the-way-produce. As in the perfect box with the perfect logo and the perfect artwork. Filled with the perfect ingredients obviously. With a real food label on top.

All-the-way. Just a really small quantity, though. Just enough to allow me to keep my house and my husband😉

I can’t wait to have a real MiniMarieTea box in my hands… I’m so happy and relieved I’ve decided to push things forward. I believe it will allow me to finally get out onto the market and feel what people think about my product. I think having the real product in my hands will give me more leverage when talking to potential partners.

I’m still considering to crowd fund and loan in a next phase, if the market loves MiniMarieTea and I could go for a scale up (produce larger quantities).

The last few weeks I was reading a lot about spiritual leadership. Please don’t stop reading just yet. I promise you I’m a grounded person and no weird woolly stuff is going to be penned down here. But as I’ve written in a previous blog (I want to build a kind company), I am convinced a new type of leadership is born. A new type of working is born. We can allow ourselves to think about and feel what we really want to achieve or become or just do. It doesn’t have to be big. Just as long as it fits good and feels right. A balanced life is what it’s all about.

So I’m really happy to read that big respectful CEO’s start to speak up about this new way of leading a business. Of caring about the people who work with them. Of caring for themselves in order to be able to reflect this on the people of the company.

This way of thinking motivates me to go the extra mile. Because it teaches me that I don’t have to be another person while running this start-up. I can just be the exact same person I am at home or with friends or at the gym (ok, if I would go to the gym. The kids are my gym actually nowadays😉

I love that this type of emotional leadership removes the masks of everyone at the table. It’s clean. It’s pure. It’s honest. No white noise. No ego waist of time and energy.

It’s as well balanced as my tea blends. It’s all connected.

I love that I have the best smelling office in the world. You see, I do believe that this smell boosts my energy and reminds me daily why I’m doing all this. Nature is the basis of everything, of all of us actually. It makes my heart happy I can work with nature.

And most of all, I love that I’m allowed to share this with you. I love that a new type of leadership is rising and breaking a lance for talking upfront about the match of body, soul, mind and running a company. The world will benefit from this way of thinking.

Le Petit Prince knew it all along:

On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

So moving forward I’ve been ordering the ingredients needed to be able to make this first run of MiniMarieTea boxes. It’s the first time I’m not ordering in grams but kilograms… can’t wait for the goodies to arrive! But bear with me, it might take a while. My products are grown on the best farms in the country. They’re growing and harvesting and planting as we speak.

I’ve ordered hundreds of tea bags. Pretty and healthy tea bags! Shaped in the form of my waterdrop logo. Non-bleached and bio degradable.

The material of the box will consist of nothing but nature too! All made out of grapes and corn. Bio degradable and pretty!

It’s all connected. The whole MiniMarieTea is pure nature. Pure goodness.

Oh and about that logo… I’ve been wrecking my brains and gut on this one and finally got the logo I’m really happy about now, I hope you like it… It’ will need some finetuning but it will look a lot like this:



Which brings me to the artwork.

I’ve had this magic encounter a few weeks ago with a girl who just happens to make the most soulful drawings and paintings for kids one can imagine. We click. She loves my tea. I love her work. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: your vibe attracts your tribe.

Look at this prettiness… stunning… breathtaking… magic work in progress


Thank you Truziwuzi. I’m so glad we’re TEAming up.🙂

Oh and this team has tons of idea’s, so stay tuned for more!

Last but not least I want to shout out to my girls out there who tasted some MiniMarieTea sneak peak blends already and showered MiniMarieTea with love. So glad you like it!

Elke ponsaerts

Erika Vantielen


Maison Slash





Thank you for being awesome

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Just a quick one but an important one!


I want to say THANK YOU. A big thank you. To the right people saying the right things to me at the right time.


I’m living the start-up life. I have big ups and high lows. It’s inevitable. So my biggest low from last blog update was no joke, nor a cry for attention. And I can’t promise you it will be my last low. It’s a live journey… It’s just a girl, standing in front of a crowd, telling them how she feels (quote #lifegoals :-)).

But sometimes you just need to get reminded you are on the right path to your destination and you are not alone in this. Sometimes it’s just the magic trick you need when some people tell you they’re with you and got your back. When others tell you they can’t wait for these products to be out there.

So thank you, for reading me and for cheering with and for me. You’re insanely valuable to me.

Now let’s get on with the mission of getting these wonderful products out there with the right partners. Of course you’ll be the first to know how #thehappybagsjourney evolves.

Oh and I’m making some pretty tasting bags for some very special MiniMarieTea ambassadors. They will be going out next week. So curious what these parents and kids will think of their first MiniMarieTea experiences!


Of course you’ll read all about it right here.






Mayday Mayday, I’m okay.

14080036_1172856996109981_3247907604035405580_nThanks ZekerVanHaarZaak for this onliner, I love it. And I love what you do for female entrepreneurs too.

I’m at my all time professional low.

I wish I had more uplifting tones to share with you, but that’s just how it is. It’s a live journey of a start up. It’s the upfront truth.

I also wish I could see a glimpse of that breakthrough just around the corner, but the truth is I don’t.

So I’m very tempted to give up.

It’s been almost a year now of prepping the go to market of healthy drinks for kids. I can’t keep prepping.

It’s been a ride. One I’ll never regret. I’ve learned to know so many interesting and lovely people. I’ve learned tons of new things and I’ve been able to work with my passion –herbs/fruits/flowers/infusions/tea- for so many months. I took a chance at changing the world for the better just a little bit.

It made me feel more useful than ever.

It erased all the noise from my professional life. It allowed me to keep just the essentials and cut the bullshit out. I’ve had nothing but useful encounters, action-reaction meetings. I never once felt as if I was doing something that did not lead to something useful to the start up and to the world. Every step was a step closer to achieving the final go-to-market destination.

But the last couple of days/weeks were different. Things started shifting, just when they are supposed to get real.

It’s not a fun topic, but it all boils down to money to really get started, so I have to share this with you in order to give you the full story and the why I’m nearly giving up.

I’ve been wracking my brains around the start up capital to produce my first badge of MiniMarieTea. From loans, to private equity funds, to crowd funding, to venture capitalists, … you name it, I’ve considered it.

And the thing is, I have no leverage, I’ve spent the maximum amount of savings I can spend. I’m stuck…

I never pretended to be a financial specialist, I’m a marketing kinda girl, with a big passion and an even bigger mission. But the truth is, you need the finances to work along with you.

And honestly, I was on the verge of mixing a loan with crowd funding. I had my crowd funding video script ready to roll. I had the launchparTEA (got it? ;-)) for the backers all planned out. But fear got me.

Also, I really wanted to do this through the right platform, aligned with my social impact products, which is the core meaning of my start up. But turns out the platform only supports more established companies, looking for scale up, not start up.

It’s just the setback too much. I don’t want to settle for a crowd funding platform I don’t feel and more importantly, doesn’t feel me/my products/start up.

And I surely don’t want to go back to making more plans, convincing more people, setting more goals. I want to move forward. I want to move away from my desk. I want to produce and sell those wonderful products.

But hey, I tried. And that’s just fine. I’m ok.

So I guess this is me telling you I’m going to look for a new job. Sigh.

But also, I’m going to look for an established company that might be willing and able to put my plans into action for me or with me. Who knows.

It’s all there, ready to be put into action… I can’t just walk away from this now. The world needs these products. My heart just knows that.

So I’m not exactly giving up, I ‘m still looking to find a way to put the products out there for you. And for me! And for the world and the better of our children.

I’m just getting to terms with the idea that if I want a chance at getting MiniMarieTea and Happy Bags on the market, it will have to be through an existing company of established brands and know how of the food & beverages industry.

So hey food- & beverages companies out there, if ever you’re reading this… and you have the right heart for sugar free, natural, honest, healthy, pretty and tasty drinks and you’re looking for some delicious innovative product lines to increase your social impact, call me maybe. (I’ve always loved this song, yep, really. And now I finally got to use it in my own blog🙂 #lifegoals)

Moving on up!

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Literally mainly for now, that is.
I’ve got myself an office on the first floor of our house. A real office, with a door and a window.
And most importantly, it’s the best smelling office in the whole wide world.
It’s packed with dried flowers, herbs and fruits, obviously.
When I tuck the kids in at night, I can’t pass by this little office of mine without quickly opening the door and smelling the goodies… It just makes my heart skip a beat.

Whilst traveling with our toddlers the last few weeks, we noticed that they really enjoyed sharing a room, so once we got home, it didn’t take long to put this into a win-win situation for all of us.

So the old baby room is now officially the Happy Bags headquarters.
What used to be the baby dresser is now my desk. What better desk to be working on the perfect healthy drinks for kids, right…
My beloved ingredients are no longer tucked away somewhere my children couldn’t reach them, but neither could I…
They’ve got their own spacious drawers and I have herb overview to the maximum now! Right at my fingertips!

So far the update about the new Happy Bags HQ.

The #happybagsjourney is at cruise speed at the moment, I’m perfecting the blends and the whole plan and packaging for the #minimarietea , the first Happy Bags product, being released this winter hopefully.

Most of you following my IG know already MiniMarieTea will be an infusion/tea for kids. The blends can also be used as iced tea, which I prefer to call nice tea. All the ingredients will be natural and super tasty. Healthy and fun to the maximum. Drinking water is fun, remember.
Details on the blends and packaging will be revealed closer to release date.

Which is why I’m trying to add a newsletter button to this website, so you can be fully updated on the latest and greatest in summary, delivered straight to your inbox. But IT and me… no BFFs so bear with me… newsletter button coming soon… or that’s the idea at least😉

And last but not least, I’ve had the honour to be part of the shoot for the first edition (launch October) of the new online magazine for parents that are alright: #maisonslash
Be sure to check it out and subscribe:

Gwentibold , Mamavanvijf and Ingriddepingrid are the amazing founders of this new magazine.

Give them likes, thumbs ups, confetti, … show them the love folks, trust me, every start –up needs them.
So #minimarietea will be featured in the first edition of MaisonSlash with tea turned funky for the parents and fun for the kids… don’t miss it!

Love straight from my new desk,

The basics of a good tea pot


Just a quick –but an essential- one today.

Whilst proceeding on #thehappybagsjourney, I’m getting closer to finishing my first product #minimarietea.

Aside from this being totally exciting and hoping to be sharing all details on this new tea with you soon, I’ve noticed something I thought I’d share with you in the meantime.

Whilst crafting my perfect blends and testing them out a bit outside my inner circle, I’ve noticed that there are still some misunderstandings about tea. Well quite a few actually…

But let me start right there, at the start: how does one make a simple fresh cup of tea.


I thought I’d make it as easy as possible for you and sum up a few essentials and basics:


  • choose ingredients you like, they can go from fresh to dried, as long as it’s herbs, spices, flowers, tea, fruits or even chocolate nibs… anything goes in tea land, really, we’re easy going citizens, so no excuses!

I chose some fresh strawberries, fresh lemon basil and dried lemon verbena for the little movie below. But I can’t stress enough, the choices are limitless due to the wonders of nature…

Don’t pick too many though, this way each ingredient gets to show its personality in the blend. Too much of a good thing is good for nothing, right.


  • For infusions your water can be boiling hot, for green tea’s 70 degrees is enough actually, but either way, juuuuust not boiling is always good for any tea/infusion.


  • Pour your (preferably decalcified) water in the teapot FIRST. This way you avoid burning those beautiful ingredients. (especially working with whole leafs and flowers)


  • Throw your blend in the hot water gently


  • Close the teapot to make sure you get all the condensed flavors right back in that teapot.


  • In my opinion a glass teapot with enough space (so work without filter if possible) is the best. This way you can throw the ingredients in so you can watch them “dance” and watch the tea leaves as they unfold


  • A little tea light is called a TEA LIGHT for a reason… (epiphany anyone?) Honestly, it’s just the perfect heating system to keep your tea at the perfect cosy warmth for a longer period. You can find these tea warmers and tea pots anywhere really… this one is from Habitat I think… so no excuses here either.


These tips and tricks to brighten up your cup of tea are all wrapped up in an little tea movie you can find right here. (and pictures below)

So that’s it for now folks, you’re 15 seconds away from the perfect cup of tea… go for it, you won’t regret it.