Brooklyn Tea: Brewing Up an Unstoppable Team with Homebase

From smudged schedules to a tea-rrific team.

In the heart of Brooklyn, a small business is making a big impact on its community and its employees. Brooklyn Tea, founded by husband and wife duo Alfonso Ali Wright and Jamila Wright, has become a haven for tea lovers and a shining example of how to build a people-first workplace. For the last 8 years, they’ve been serving up more than just top-notch tea – they’ve been brewing a recipe for an unstoppable team that’ll leave you thirsty for more.

But it wasn’t always a smooth pour for these tea-loving entrepreneurs. They faced their share of obstacles to overcome. Scraping together the capital to get Brooklyn Tea off the ground was just the beginning. As their tea shop grew, so did the challenges of managing their team. Their scheduling system was a mess leaving everyone confused and stressed. Alfonso Ali Wright and Jamila knew they needed a better solution – one that would allow them to focus on their passion for tea and their commitment to their community.

But these tea-loving entrepreneurs rolled up their sleeves, put on their thinking caps, and started exploring ways to streamline their day to day tasks. And that’s when they discovered Homebase – a tool that could help them brew up a better way to manage their team and their time and help them create a work environment where their employees felt more connected, more appreciated, and more invested in the success of the business.

The challenge:

Like many small business owners, Alfonso Ali Wright and Jamila faced their fair share of challenges in the early days of Brooklyn Tea. “One of the biggest barriers to entry for any new business is capital,” Jamila explains. But beyond financial hurdles, they also struggled with team management and creating a workplace where their team felt valued.

Scheduling was a nightmare, with a “whiteboard calendar that was smudged and people’s names would disappear or reappear,” Jamila recalls. They knew they wanted to build an unstoppable team and community but they were stuck focusing on operational tasks that consumed their time and energy. “It was a really pathetic situation,” Jamila adds.

The solution:

In a stroke of luck, one of their employees introduced them to Homebase. It was love at first sip. With Homebase, scheduling, time tracking, and messaging were all in one place, giving them more time to focus on what mattered to them – the team. “Homebase has been a game-changer for our business. It’s allowed us to focus on what we do best while streamlining our team management processes,” Alfonso Ali Wright shares. “It made us a way more functional working business.”

With easy scheduling and time-off requests, their team is equipped to problem solve and communicate their own availability without the owners or managers having to break a sweat. “They have their schedule set and they know who is coming up and who has availability and what open shift looks like,” Jamile shares. “ It allows us to step back and let them kind of run the show in a lot more ways than one.”

Homebase empowers the team and builds trust as the couple stay connected and aligned with their teams even when they can’t physically be present in the store.  “We can communicate on the fly,” Jamila says. “So, even if we are in our Atlanta store versus our New York store, our New York store can still update us constantly.” Brooklyn Tea’s team could finally focus on what really mattered: crafting killer cups of tea and creating a community that felt like family. 

The impact:

The results were as clear as a perfectly brewed cup of Earl Grey. “Homebase allows you to quickly do a thing that you’re probably not great at,” Jamila shares. “Scheduling and communication as a leader is always one of the hardest parts and this makes it a little easier so you can get back to blending your tea or making your muffins or whatever it is you do in business,”

With Homebase in their corner, Brooklyn Tea’s team was unstoppable.  Productivity? Boosted morale? Through the roof. Communication? Smoother than a silky oolong. But the real magic was in the culture shift.

“Our team members love using Homebase. It’s user-friendly and has significantly improved communication and collaboration,” Jamila notes.

By using Homebase to support their people-first philosophy, Alfonso Ali Wright and Jamila cultivated a workplace where every team member felt valued, appreciated and part of something bigger.

Even more, the couple now have a handle on their labor costs by using Homebase for business insights and labor forecasting. “Before Homebase, we were not keeping track of that whatsoever. We were like, ‘Oh, we made payroll. Great!’ Keeping a tighter eye on our numbers, of course, it’s a money saver.” Jamila shares. “When you know you need less labor on Tuesday because it’s your slowest day, then you schedule accordingly and you put a little bit of money back into the business.”

Best practices to build an unstoppable team

So, what’s the secret to Brooklyn Tea’s unstoppable team? For Alfonso Ali Wright and Jamila, it all comes down to putting their people first and leveraging Homebase’s features to provide transparency, flexibility, and open communication.

The power couple  don’t just talk the talk – they walk the walk. They show up for their team, celebrating their passions and supporting them in and out of the workplace attending art shows, plays, and concerts to celebrate their employees’ talents. By creating a culture of belonging and appreciation, Brooklyn Tea has built a team that goes above and beyond, even when the owners aren’t there.

“It’s not just about punching in and out the clock, it’s about how we can really make our community feel seen, feel dignified, they’re really brought into what we’re trying to accomplish,” Jamila explains. 

But they’re not done yet. As Jamila says, they’re still “tinkering” – always looking for new ways to make their team and community feel valued. And that’s the real tea. Building an unstoppable team culture isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s an ongoing process of communication, appreciation, and growth.

Say goodbye to juggling chaos. Say hello to Homebase.

Brooklyn Tea’s story is proof that when you invest in your team, incredible things can happen. Homebase has been an essential ingredient to streamlining operations, improving communication and supporting their people-first approach. By freeing up their valuable time and energy, Alfonso Ali Wright and Jamila have poured into the heart and soul of their business – crafting exceptional tea experiences and nurturing their team.

For other small businesses looking to build their own unstoppable teams, take a page from Brooklyn Tea’s book: prioritize your people, communicate openly, and never stop brewing up new ways to create a thriving workplace.

If you’re ready to take your small business to the next level, it’s time to put the kettle on and get brewing with Homebase. With all the tools you need to streamline your day-to-day and support your team, you’ll be well on your way to creating a workplace that’s as strong and satisfying as a perfectly steeped cup of tea.

Don’t wait – the perfect blend of teamwork and technology is just a click away. Sign up for Homebase today and start crafting your own recipe for an unstoppable team. Your team (and your taste buds) will thank you.

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