How did Lyndsey DePalma come up with concept for the House of Steep?
“I wanted something for myself—a place to relax, and just be, for a while each day,” she explains. “I wast satisfied with any of the existing retail outlets.”
Armed with some entrepreneurial hard-wiring and a respect for natural healing, Lyndsey left her corporate career in human resources to bridge the gap.
Since October of 2010, House of Steep has been taking up residence in Lyndsey’s heart and will become the ultimate destination for busy corporate citizens, casual connections, bridal parties, street shoppers, believers in alternative healing, moms and grandmoms, yogis and yoginis, consultants, crafters, lovers … and the rest of us.
Scroll down to read our Q&A with Lyndsey, and click here to listen to our Dec. 17, 2012 podcast interview on The Inkandescent Radio Show.
House of Steep aims to promote relaxation and natural healing in a calm atmosphere.
Customers can experience the rewards of a day spa in a tea-house setting when they enjoy a carefully blended pot of tea (there are even timers provided to ensure you get the perfect steep)—and a therapeutic foot bath with reflexology.
The storefront offers a variety of carefully blended teas and healthy treats, natural bath products, and a foot sanctuary to soak in warm water with herbs and salts; all in support of a warming and balanced experience.
Customers can also supplement their Steep experience with reflexology, foot and hand massage, or other foot masks for ultimate rejuvenation. After all, on average we take 10,000 steps a day, logging about 115,000 miles in a lifetime (that’s the equivalent of four times around the planet). With 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments in each foot, we all clearly deserve a little foot massage to ease those tired peds.
“Present-living and harmony of the mind+body requires minimal effort at House of Steep,” DePalma insists, noting she is dedicated to offering a balanced and lasting experience in the teas, products, and services.
We recently sat down with DePalma to talk about the special Arlington, VA, store she opened in October 2012.
INSIDE THE HOUSE OF STEEP: A Q&A WITH FOUNDER LYNDSEY DEPALMA
Be Inkandescent: Tell us about the delicious House of Steep.
Lyndsey DePalma: House of Steep is a tea house and foot sanctuary in the busy Washington metro area. It aims to promote relaxation through tea, soaking the feet and reflexology and foot massage. Above all else, it’s a reminder that peace and health are easily within reach: we can step away from our busy days to center, to connect, and then to bring our rejuvenated selves into the world by spending 30 minutes away from daily demands. I chose the location (Lee Highway) because you can quietly sit and meditate in a serene environment while the world rushes by right outside the window. A lot of people find this feature therapeutic and symbolic: we actually don’t have to become one with the rush if we choose not to.
The idea was borne out of my love for tea and rooted in some holistic and herbal wisdom that my great-grandmother planted in me at an early age. She also soaked her feet regularly in Epsom salt baths and lived a very long, healthy, and entirely happy life. So all-in-all, I felt this area really needed something different, and head-to-toe healing through tea and feet were the perfect combination to soothe the bodies and spirits of the busy DC metro area.
Be Inkandescent: Clearly, everyone who walks into this sanctuary for tea and reflexology feels the magic you have created. How does it feel to have brought your dream to fruition?
Lyndsey DePalma: It feels incredible, of course … and incredibly humbling. This place is magical for certain, and while I’m honoring the fact that I have something to do with making it happen, I also believe that things much bigger than my creation are at play here. Patrons comment on how their attitude shifts as soon as they walk through the doors, and how great they still feel after they’ve left.
They share this love with the world … and you can imagine the bounty that comes—all from things that are not manufactured or hard to access. So, I realize this magical goodness isn’t created in a business plan but rather in the energy the employees and customers allow to flow freely back and forth in this space. All that to say, it feels amazing.
Be Inkandescent: What has been the reaction of your customers? Is it even better than you imagined?
Lyndsey DePalma: I expected a need to educate folks on health of soaking and reflexology, even of tea and herbs.
While customers are definitely interested in learning more, I haven’t had to spend much time explaining the benefits: they are open and jump right into soaking in the benefits of our offerings. Everyone seems really ready for this. For those who aren’t, once they try it, they love it.
Be Inkandescent: What has developed that you didn’t predict?
Lyndsey DePalma: Oh, there were definitely surprises along the way. About mid-way into the start-up process, I began documenting all of them, and it’s now turning into a book—hopefully out in early 2013. But all of the surprises are great learning opportunities, which I’ll absolutely carry forward in future Steep locations.
Despite all of the headscratchers and humdingers, none of them was too heavy to manage though, and none required more than time or a little creative perspective. I predicted that it was going to be a lot of sleepless nights of worry, and that simply hasn’t been the case.
I could easily see how owning a business can consume someone, but I am fortunate in that I haven’t had to worry so much, so far. I’ve taken each day and all the hiccups in stride and focused on bringing my best to the business and trying not to let the difficult things consume me. Time and a fresh perspective always (so far) have brought a better outcome than worry and sleepy-deprived decisions, in my experience.
Be Inkandescent: What’s next for the House of Steep? Where do you see the company in three to five years?
Lyndsey DePalma: I hope to open multiple locations in the Washington Metro area within three to five years. In the fifth year, I intend to bring this experience to other markets where people respect tea, natural health, and simple relaxation.
We have an online presence and shopping cart, so we can reach folks outside of our market by selling soaks, tea, and more via our webstore until we can find a way to reach them in their home markets. We are excited about the level of interest so far and look forward to the new learning that comes with growing this great company.
The House of Steep
3800 Lee Highway, Suite D
Arlington, VA 22207
Parking in rear
Hours: T-Fri 7-7; Sat 8-7; Sun 12-6; closed Monday through December
For more information, visit www.houseofsteep.com.
To see photos from the Grand Opening, click here.
To hear Lyndsey DePalma’s advice for entrepreneurs, check out our podcast interview on The Inkandescent Radio Show, coming in December.