Goodyear native Allison DeVane believed she had one route when she graduated from Millennium High School in 2008: Earn a degree, get a job, then get benefits.
She tried multiple employers, but nothing felt right.
“I could never keep just one job for over a year,” she said. “I was very disengaged or felt like I could do more.”
She could. Three years ago, she started the successful Teaspressa, a Phoenix-based gourmet beverage company that sells signature tea drinks comparable to lattes, mochas or other coffee beverages.
“I’m a coffee fanatic,” she said. “I love coffee. When I wanted to start a business, it was going to be a coffee shop. But there are a lot of great coffee shops out there.
“I basically decided to Americanize tea. Tea, after water, is the most consumed beverage in the entire world. We drink it here in America, but it’s not as embraced and accepted as coffee, which is made instantly. It gets you going in the morning. I made tea into something that’s more enjoyable.”
Teaspressa’s baristas handcraft a unique hybrid beverage that combines coffee and tea. Its signature tea blends are loose leaf and prepared like espresso shots, resulting in gourmet tea lattes and coffee-inspired beverages that contain as much caffeine as espresso.
“Some describe it as a different coffee,” she said. “It’s actually tea. There are no other additives. We don’t add caffeine or anything like that. It’s all-natural tea. We use organic tea, which is nice.”
An alum of the reality TV show Shark Tank, DeVane expanded Teaspressa in October to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, a National Historic Landmark and home of the School of Architecture at Taliesin and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
“It’s a good spot,” she said. “I appreciate the art here, and business-wise, it’s also great. We started in a nontraditional way. We started with online sales.
“We sell tea blends and infused sugar cubes so people can make the teas at home. We recently started a wholesale program. Now, we’re at the point where we can afford to have our own brick and mortar, which was our original business plan. This is one of our locations.”
An Arcadia location is expected to open soon, as will other stores in the Valley. She is working on an outlet in Ann Arbor, Michigan, too.
DeVane has been motivated to succeed since she was a business marketing student at ASU. A student in Barrett, The Honors College, DeVane minored in design and was a part of the alumni association. She designed the posters the football players ran through at games.
“I was involved in a lot of clubs and I started clubs, too,” she said. “I was just always dabbling in a lot of things. In ASU, I was part of sorority and scholarship programs. ASU opened a lot of doors for internships and trying out different industries.”
She interned at KPMG in accounting but soon realized that wasn’t the right direction for her. She changed her major and now appreciates “how flexible and ASU was.”
The 2012 ASU graduate is part of the Barrett Cabinet and helps plan fundraisers and other events. “I like doing things to help further the kids, as far as opportunities,” she said. “I like to connect with people and give life advice.”
She wouldn’t have her life any other way.
“Every day is different,” DeVane said. “If I’m not working, I don’t make money. It encourages me to do my best, which can be tiring and exhausting. But I really enjoy it.”