Meet Friday Elliott — Hufflepuff, synesthete, and owner of the geeky-themed tea shop Friday Afternoon Tea in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. Friday has had a lifelong love affair with tea and opened Friday Afternoon Tea in 2010. She also has synesthesia — a unique ability that allows her to taste words and ideas, which is especially helpful when she creates their fandom tea blends inspired by Star Trek, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and more. Friday loves how tea can bring so many different types of people together, and customers have dubbed Friday Afternoon Tea the Hufflepuff Common Room because the shop is all about fostering community and friendship.
Bonus: a portion of the proceeds made from Friday Afternoon Tea’s Earl Gay blend during Pride Month will benefit the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network!
Get to know more about Friday and her tea shop in this week’s Business Spotlight Q&A.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
That’s a little difficult because I tell my entire life story to everyone within moments of meeting them [she laughs]. My first career ever was singing jazz professionally at a club in Belltown between the ages of 16 and 22. I also taught special needs dance classes and high school French during that time period. I actually got into the culinary arts as a back up for the performing arts and then just fell in love with food and beverages and ditched the performing arts altogether and went all in on tea for nerds.
As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried?
We were one of the first tea companies doing edible glitter in tea. I wanted to make tribute teas for some of my favorite queer rock gods. I was like, “We have to do that, but I’m not going to insult David Bowie’s memory by not putting glitter in his tea.” So, if we can put edible glitter on top of cupcakes and in beer, I see no reason why we couldn’t do that in tea. We made this trio, it’s called the Holy Trinitea, and it’s tribute teas for Bowie, Prince, and Freddie Mercury, and they’re called Purple, Stardust, and Mercury. They all have edible glitter in them, and they’re all completely wild. And this is how the essence of that artist and the impression that they left behind when they passed away — it’s how that tastes to me.
What are some of your favorite local businesses and what do you love about them?
I love Distant Worlds [Coffeehouse] so much because, you know, sci-fi nerd-friendly femme-owned groovy dweeb coffee shop! [Rebecca Servoss] listens so much to her customers and what they want and what kind of community they want. And she puts her whole self into building the space to facilitate the kind of environment her customers want, and that’s beautiful and so personal. I adore Frelard [Tamales]. I mean, Osbaldo [Hernandez] is over there with his whole family — they put their hearts out so hard, so unhesitatingly, every day of their damn lives. All that they’re doing over there is aggressively being heart-ful at the world, and that is such a beautiful level of fierce vulnerability and faith in their community. And it’s working for them so well. They’re beautiful human beings.