Still here, Still alive: Toasty

Still here, still alive: toasty

Mamiya RB 67 - Portra 400

For the first part of this series about mental health I want to talk about “Burnout”. It’s a symptom that we experience often in our perspective work environments. In a 9-5 job it’s safe to say we understand the type of burnout that exist within that environment. However, for independent workers that started their own ventures, small shop owners, restaurants and artists experience burnouts that can last for quite some time. For this series I want to start burnouts that can originate at home, especially since the pandemic started, most of us have been working from home, and some have started their own home business providing services and goods. 

I feel that there is a misconception about having a home business, and working from home. We have this impression that being at home we’re a relaxing environment with little to no stress and plenty of time to multitask other projects. When you work from home there isn’t a separation between work and home, sometimes work can extend to longer hours to complete a deadline which leads to heavier burnouts. With the time available after work there aren’t that many opportunities for selfcare. 

I want to introduce you all to creatives I’ve been a fan of. They have made great beverages, that have been a pleasure to drink throughout the pandemic and their drinks have been great party favors for a chill night out. They have been hustling hard making their beverages from scratch; and for a while I’ve been wondering how they have managed their burnouts along with the type of selfcare that has helped them along the way. 

I want to introduce you toWeichao (@chaosupport) and Tiffany (@cloudytiff) , co-creators of @getmetoasty and @standstill.tea. I’ll let them introduce themselves and the origins behind their brand.

We started standstill with the intention of bridging Asian tea culture with Cannabis culture, both of which we love. We immediately saw a bunch of similarities between tea and cannabis, from the communal aspect of sharing & consumption, to the botany of the plants themselves and how they are farmed. We began hosting 420-friendly tea ceremonies at our home in El Sereno and selling direct-sourced loose leaf tea from our Asian tea farm partners.

When the pandemic hit, standstill came to a standstill. We had all this tea inventory and no idea what to do with it. Then Weichao remembered some “infused” boba recipes he was playing around with for fun a few years back. We thought, fuck it, what if we just sold cannabis-infused milk teas and delivered them during lockdown. And then toasty was born, an underground, invite-only cannabis-infused milk tea delivery. Our first run was July 2020, and we’ve been consistently doing weekly runs ever since!

Q: Since the pandemic you both have been making your beverages non-stop, and you’ve also taken the time to deliver them to your patrons on weekends. What kind of burn out did you both experience when you were operating Toasty?How have you managed the pressure of keeping up your orders and delivering them? Any tips of selfcare that you can advise to others who are having similar burn outs?

Weichao: I’m all in on toasty/standstill! So my week days consists of making new menus, taking orders, replenishing inventory, preparing the drinks, while weekends are for deliveries. So it is all about finding the right schedule that works for you and using that time wisely to center yourself. I also use weekdays to do administrative work and to push ourselves further towards scaling out of IG and into a real facility. A lot of that stuff is really on me to hold myself accountable. What I’ve found to be amazing running an “IG business” is that our community feels very close to us personally and are very understanding. They do not expect you to be open 24/7, but are still very supportive whenever we are in business. So i think it’s really important to be open and transparent with your customers.

I love cannabis to help me relieve stress but have been trying to stop smoking as much. So edibles and Toasty’s have been an amazing addition to my routine. I also enjoy playing basketball with friends. Staying active is very important!

Tiff: I’ve done toasty on top of a 9-5 (sometimes 9-9 with that public accounting life) since we began last summer. The burnout gets really bad on Fridays — for me, it’s oftentimes tough to get into work mode towards the end of the week when the corporate world is usually TGIF-ing hard and I have to start labeling, bottling, & wrapping up orders. But that’s why weekends are my sacred days - I cherish my Saturdays and Sundays! They are key in me being able to manage my crazy schedule. My perfect weekend consists of running, eating my fav foods, getting fresh air, boba and all the tv shows of course. I think it’s so important to prioritize yourself in your free time. Do what makes you feel good & take time to care for yourself mentally and physically. It’s all been one hell of a journey, but I know it’s worth it, and that keeps me going.

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