top of page

Compass Conversations: Tea to Thee

'Compass Conversations' is our newest feature where we shine a light on the vibrant businesses that are the true heart of our community.

Every month, we'll take you on a journey through the unique stories, passions, and dreams that drive our local entrepreneurs. These are the stories behind the logos and social media posts, the spirited souls enriching our daily lives with their craft and dedication.


This month, we invite you to join the conversation with Martha Fairburn from Tea to Thee.

What inspired you to start your business?

"My mother was British and moved to the States as a young bride. When I was a child, we had cream tea (that means simply a pot of tea and cookies) every day after school. I was raised to know how to properly serve and take tea. As an adult, I have always had an appreciation for all things British, especially teatime."

How does your business contribute to the local community?

"I love to give back in the form of fundraisers. I have done events with groups looking for something unique and special, while raising money for their cause.

We also do a great number of ministry events and work very hard to keep people stewardly-minded. I am a lifelong advocate of shopping small and supporting local, so I do my part to support others."

Can you share a memorable experience or success story related to your business?

"I have so many memories! It is amazing to see how every tea is special to the guests and hostesses. I do remember the first tea party – it was my “soft opening” so to speak. I hosted a ladies’ tea at my church and charged nothing to attend. I only asked for feedback of all kinds to see what worked and what didn’t. The response was so overwhelmingly positive that I was both humble and excited.

We have a tea each Spring for a large women’s group in the area and every year I am approached afterward by ladies saying how they felt like little girls again or sharing memories of special times. I wouldn’t trade that for anything!"

What challenges have you faced in building your business, and how have you overcome them?

"The biggest challenge came in that there isn’t any like this in the area. People frequently comment that they’ve never heard of this concept. That is a wonderful thing, but we had nothing to model ourselves after or compare ourselves to.

Everything we have accomplished has been by trial and error. I say "we" because my family and friends are very supportive and invested in what I do. I truly could never be where I am without them! They bring ideas, strong skills, and a genuine desire to see this succeed."

What makes your business unique?

"Well, that’s easy! As I said before, there is nothing like this in the area. I love doing vendor events and hearing the excitement from people. I try to help them see where a tea experience would fit in with their entertaining plans.

We don’t just serve tea and use china, we strive to make each event unique and memorable while also sharing the history and etiquette of tea service."

What advice would you give to other small business owners?

"I have learned so much through this journey, so never feel like you can’t learn something new. If someone has an idea for how to improve something, listen intently. They are only sharing out of a desire to help you grow.

Another piece of sage advice is to never mistake growth with success. We have been blessed beyond our grandest expectations but would rather turn down business than to deliver a subpar experience for anyone."

How do you see your business evolving in the future?

"I would love to be able to expand into other areas like Charlottesville. We will continue to “tweak” our practices and explore different menu options and themes.

I have recently read that “teatime is the new happy hour” which I find both amusing and exciting."

Do you have a special message that you'd like to share with the community through this article?

"So many people have a misconception that teatime is stuffy, regimented, and outdated. In reality, it offers a glimpse of the past and an opportunity to slow down.

There are countless ways to experience teatime, and I treasure the honour of serving you all."


Stay tuned for our next conversation, where we'll uncover another local business in our ongoing journey to celebrate and support the small and home-based businesses that make our community a vibrant and dynamic place.

Photo of the owner and her husband who live in Madison Heights VA

Hi, I'm Michelle

I'm the owner of County Compass, and an Amherst County resident. 

I love our community and want to help new homeowners find all the local gems that may not get enough exposure on social media.

Post Archive 


No tags yet.
bottom of page