Boba for Canopy

December 14, 2018


Looking for an example of great work community members are doing? Look no further than Jasmine, Sophie and Izzy’s social enterprise raising awareness and funds for Canopy, a local organization that plants trees around Palo Alto, through selling boba tea to middle school students.


Originally, the girls began selling boba tea for a school project of Sophie's. She needed to complete 10 hours of service and raise money for an organization. The business started out small:


"Our business first started as an idea for my sister Sophie's school project. She needed to complete 10 hours of service and raise money for an organization. Since Sophie is passionate about nature and environmental causes, she decided to choose Canopy, a local organization that plants trees around Palo Alto. We invited my friend Izzy to help us as a business partner.


We decided to sell boba, a popular Asian drink made of milk tea and tapioca pearls. It started out small; my friend, Sophie, and I would sit outside of our school every Wednesday and waited for customers. In the beginning, we would only sell 10 cups, maybe 15 if we were lucky. Our boba business was so small that Izzy and I would sit at the table to sell and still have plenty of time to finish homework every week. There have been many times where we wanted to quit. It wasn't easy being rejected over and over again. Soon, however, as more customers started pouring in, we would then sell 25-30 cups a day. In a few months, we had raised hundreds of dollars.


My sister had spent many hours perfecting the recipe and many customers claimed they liked it better than the drinks from other boba shops, and our drinks were definitely cheaper. The line for our little stand would start to build even before I got there after school. From a school project, it grew into a business and a passion project. Even though we had already raised enough money for Canopy, we decided to continue because people loved our boba and we loved to make people happy. Through this experience, we learned that running a business, even if it is small is really hard, but it is easier with more people. We all have something different to contribute. My sister made the boba and kept track of the money, Izzy and I both sold and marketed the business. The product was the boba. The boba was not challenging to make, but it is challenging to run a business. In this case, you have to consider what is best for the customers, Canopy, and the quality of the boba.


We also learned about patience. For a business or a project, it always has to start small. We didn't get many customers in the beginning, but if we had quit, we wouldn't have been more successful. Customers like consistency, so it is important to persistent when running a small business. Another lesson I have personally learned is about customer service. You ALWAYS put the customer first. Our main customers are middle schoolers; that can be hectic, but I've learned to stay calm in frustrating situations because at the end of the day, it is very rewarding to see people happy. We are proud of what we accomplish, even if it is a little impact on helping our environment."

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Palo Alto, CA, USA

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