Anna Sulan Masing
The Ten: Arielle Clark
Name and job title
Arielle Clark (she, her, hers): Owner & Founder, Sis Got Tea
Where were you born, and where do you live now?
Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky; and still here today!
How you describe what you do?
I do anything and everything for Sis Got Tea, from creating new tea blends to updating our website.
How much did you spend on your last cup of coffee?
Around $15. $5 for the drink (it was a chai latte) and $10 for the tip. 😊
What is one ingredient that is crucial to your life?
Tea! Tea in the base of my business. It’s even in our name! Tea provides so much – flavor, comfort, energy, togetherness, love…the list goes on. It’s everything that we do.
What does a food and/or drinks system mean to you?
Well, I have a STEM brain; so when I think of “system”, I think of a series of tasks that makes a foo/drink establishment the most effective and the most efficient. I think of engineering a convenient, interactive, positive food/drink experience.
Outside of STEM, when I think of a food/drink “system”, I think of all of the moving parts of my business and what makes it successful and community-focused – serving unique, delicious teas, offering a variety of products that all kinds of customers can enjoy, hosting much-needed and much-anticipated events for under-served communities, and more.
How does your immediate environment affect your work?
I’m located in the South, so everyone loves sweet tea around these parts. A lot of my blends have some form of sweetness to them, like my Apple Pie blend or my Sweet Potato Pie blend. It’s been fun playing around with teas that fit in to the food culture here!
Louisville is a diverse city that’s more accepting of LGBTQ+ people than other places in the state of Kentucky. Because of this, I feel I can be more out and proud about my business and whom I am as a Black, queer person. Sis Got Tea’s motto is “Black Brewed. Queer Approved”; and I’m not afraid of saying it in a crowd of people. I’m so fortunate.
Where do you draw inspiration from, in your work?
My community/the supporters of Sis Got Tea. They inspire me to keep going, to keep pushing, and to keep thriving in my business. I’ve been told by so many community members how much they love Sis Got Tea, how excited they are that we exist (and for us to open a physical location!), and how our existence has positively influenced their lives. Sis Got Tea for the community, and to know that the community loves Sis Got Tea so much keeps us going.
My other inspiration is Angela Mason, my scholarship donor from Bellarmine University (where I went to my undergraduate studies). She’s a Black woman who started her own Information Technology company, and she is my role model. We still talk to this day! It’s so nice to know another Black woman who’s an entrepreneur.
What impact do you want to have?
Oh, gosh, so much! In the short-term, I want to open a space where folks can come together and enjoy tea, feel safe, feel loved, and feel like they’re at home with a bunch of great friends. I want to serve great tea, have amazing events, and give folks the resources they need to success, especially for LGBTQ+ folks.
In the long term, I want to be able to establish scholarships for LGBTQ+ and Black students at multiple high schools and universities across Kentucky and southern Indiana, donate to charities and organizations focused on LGBTQ+ folks and Black folks, and contribute enough funds to open/expand LGBTQ+ centers at universities across Kentucky. Overall, I want to be able to change lives, especially financially.
What change do you want to see in the food and/or drinks system?
More sober spaces! I would love to see more sober social spaces, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community. Have you seen the small uptick in sober bars? What an amazing concept! It’s a bar/nightclub setting (for that social feel); but instead of alcohol, the business serves mocktails and other non-alcoholic drinks.
I’d love to see more accessible spaces as well. A lot of spaces I’ve seen aren’t accessible for everyone, such as folks who use mobility aids, blind folks, and fat folks.