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Meet Tania Lodi: The Founder of One of the World’s Most Instagrammable Cafés

Ground floor of Tania's Teahouse

One of the world’s most instagrammable cafés is closer to home than you may think. Dubai-based, female-centric, female-owned (but not excluding male clientele), and a space that also takes care of your well-being via a number of creative workshops and yoga classes – could there be a more perfect place to wind down?

Hoping to create a stylish and social space for socializing and sipping every type of tea for every type of mood, Tania Lodi opened Tania’s Tea House. It’s inviting and inspirational décor makes for the perfect place to entertain, learn, shop and more, or simply just take some fabulous pictures for the gram! From quirky puns, empowering quotes and picture-worthy plates of food, Tania Lodi tapped into just what the social media generation want from a hangout spot.

We’ve seen all of the Middle East’s most popular influencers have their picture taken against the Dubai café’s infamous “Hey There Habib-tea!” backdrop and we wanted to know more. managed to catch up with the F&B entrepreneur herself to find out just about everything, from where it all began to what she has in store for Tania’s Tea House in the future.

Tania Lodi, Founder of Tania’s Tea House

Tell us a bit about what made you want to open your own cafe. What were you doing prior to opening Tania's Tea House?
I’ve always wanted to do my own thing, and I really believe in the magic of cafe culture, and how it’s a space which lets you escape the nuances of your life. I also believe in the psychology of aesthetic places, which make you feel happy. And as an avid tea drinker and advocate for teas and all of the underrated health benefits that they harbour, I wanted to open a place that specialises in this. Before TTH, I was studying psychology at University of Toronto. I also dabbled in makeup artistry and had a cupcake business from home, growing up.

Rose Milk Cake

What sparked your ideas and concepts when you were opening Tania's Tea House?
I wanted to create a space of creativi-tea, and positivi-tea, where people could come to an aesthetically-pleasing place, escape the daily nuances of their daily life, benefit from the wonders of teas, and eat good food. I also wanted a community-like space which offered classes, workshops, personalized events, and a place to come and read a book, socialize, or bring your laptop and get work done.

Upstairs - Bou-tea-que

The cafe is all things pink, pretty and empowering all at once. Is being female-centric something that was part of your original plan?
I definitely did want somewhere that embraced pink and was female-centric (as it’s female-run), but I also wanted to bring a pink cafe to the Middle East to erase the stereotype of “pink” being a female color. Pink is more gender-neutral in the west, and is prominent in brands such as: Nike, Puma, Adidas, and Under Armour – I hoped that men wouldn’t feel their masculinity being threatened by being in a pink place!

What do you think sets TTH aside from your competitors?
Not to brag, but Tania’s Teahouse was the first cafe in Dubai to emphasise the use of puns – within our menu, and our theme itself (hey there, habib-tea). Since opening, so many cafes have copied our puns (directly!). In addition to that, we have been rated the 7th most instagrammable cafe in the world, and we’ve gone above and beyond with our exteriors, and food plating. I’m also proud of the fact that we highlight our importance of food allergies/dietary restriction, and we’re the only cafe to use magic tea steepers.

Tea at Tania's Teahouse

TTH has been proclaimed one of the "most instagrammable cafes in the world", is this something you ever envisaged for your cafe, or was social media something that was always at the forefront of your concept?
I did work really hard on making TTH uniquely-aesthetic, with so many cafes, you need to stand out, and be more creative. I was super shocked to be named 7th in the world, it was beyond my wildest dreams!

How has social media helped you grow your business and why is it important to you?
Social media is such a good marketing tactic, and a way for you to get your name out. We do live in a world where often times we “do it for the gram”, and sure that can be taken to the next extreme where people become obsessed. I do think that that being surrounded in a place that’s pretty to capture, and brings about a sense of belonging, and happiness has scientifically shown to increase serotonin levels.

Cactus cupcake

TTH isn't just a beautiful cafe, you also hold unique and inspiring workshops. Tell us a little about the types of events held there.
We hold lots of creative classes and workshops! We’ve done lots of crafting classes (such as clay earring making with The Turquoise boutique studio, painting, jewellery making, card making, etc.) As well as wellness related workshops such as: yoga, meditation, and foodie workshops. We ran a wellness week a few weeks ago and partnered up with brands such as lush cosmetics, and it was wildly successful. We’re in the process of planning a Tech Week, and Mum’s week, so stay tuned.

Lattes, cookies, and eclairs

As a female entrepreneur, and quite possibly a new role model for young women looking to start their own venture, what advice or experience could you share with our readers who are embarking on an entrepreneurial journey?
I’m so flattered to be considered a role model! I truly believe in the power of killing with kindness. In the business world you’re bound to deal with some nas-tea people, and you can’t let it bring you down. Always stay true to yourself, maintain your upbringing, and know that karma is a … well, what goes around comes around. I would never want to be known as unkind, cunning, or conceited, and I really do thing that if you do good, good things will happen to you.

Who have been the women that have inspired you in your life and why?
My mom and my sister; both of them have taught me the importance of kindness, creativity, and faith. My sister owns her own clothing label, and growing up my mom would always encourage us to harness the power of creativity, and DIY things! I’ve had utmost support and help from both of them in starting TTH, and I really look up to them.

How do you use TTH to empower other women?
Think outside the box, and if you have a dream to start your own business, do it! I had no previous business experience before TTH, and if you hustle and are passionate about something, you should really take it forward. Women are strong-minded. I would love to see women take over the business world, and prove that we can be powerful and successful.

Lastly, what can we expect from Tania's Tea House in the near future?
Something is brewing! We’re pursuing franchising, so keep an eye out for us!

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