Salon Owner Creates Tea Brand
Prolific stylist Alan Vuong, who owns Salon Blanc on Ala Moana Boulevard., now has a new business venture: Lemontea, a Pearlridge Center-based kiosk that serves
flavored teas and lemonades. Lemontea, which opened about six months ago, also can be found at Eat The Street and other events periodically.
“We’re not just a lemonade and tea shop,” Vuong explains. “We are actually a mixology shop.
“As hairdressers, we mix colors; we are creative. So I brought this mechanism of creativity into this company,” he adds.
That means that Lemontea offers colorful, creative concoctions crafted from fresh ingredients and tea that has been imported from international locales such as Thailand, Taiwan and Japan. Flavors include Cap’n Crunch Milk Tea, Green Apple, Kumquat and White Gummy Bear.
Even with all of these fun flavors, Vuong says that The Lemon Tea remains one of his favorites. It’s got honey, fresh lemon and black tea.
Some of the flavors you find here have been derived from local inspirations — like the Taro Haupia Milk Tea — as well as from another source: “The flavors that we are creating are based off of our childhood memories,” Vuong says, explaining that’s how the Cap’n Crunch flavor came to be.
“A lot of our inspiration just comes from the everyday routine of what we’re doing — in my business in hair, with my kid, walking around,” adds Vuong as he stands near the kiosk.
Next to Vuong, his 2-year-old son Skyler swings his legs from a high stool at the counter. Vuong’s wife Michelle, who co-owns Lemontea, is on her way to meet them. Family values, Vuong says, are an important part of his business structure.
Lemontea even has its roots in those values: It all started with Skyler, really. The couple wanted to create something fun — yet lighter than other, similar drinks out there — for him to drink.
Vuong and Michelle both have experience in the food and beverage industry: He worked in various restaurants growing up, while she formerly owned a coffee shop. Plus, they both often drank lemon tea at home as children. The pair, along with their mixologists, are always working on new flavors.
“That is the fun part about it — we are always innovating,” Michelle adds. “What is here today may not be here next year, or even tomorrow.”
Vuong launched Salon Blanc in 2007 — he was only in his mid-20s at the time — and has built a reputation for working with high-profile clientele (they’re so high-profile that he isn’t supposed to say who they are).
The two businesses are fused: Not only will you see some of the same staff at both, but Vuong also plans to serve Lemontea at the salon by the end of the year. While offering coffee or tea has become par for the course in higher-end salons, it’s almost unheard of for one to have its very own brand of beverage.
Now the owner of two successful businesses, Vuong has this piece of advice to share: “Adaptation is the key to success. Always find a way to adapt.”
Lemontea is located on level 1 of Pearlridge Uptown, near Goma Tei. For more, check Lemontea out on Instagram, @lemonteahawaii.