Simplicity and Co. Tea House
At Simplicity and Co., you can have your tea and drink it, too.
Ashley and Austin Ray opened Simplicity and Co. Tea House in 2015 to bring the magic of loose leaf tea to Stillwater.
“We love tea,” Ashely said. “We were tired of driving to Oklahoma City to buy our tea, and we both knew we wanted to own a business, and we both believe in the shop local community in Stillwater, so we said, ‘Why not?’”
The Rays met at Oklahoma State University and their mutual love of tea tourism took them to the British Isles.
“All the photos in our shop were taken on our honeymoon to Ireland and England,” Ashley said. “We each traveled to Asia separately before we started dating. Austin has been to a tea plantation in Bangladesh.”
The broad umbrella of tea has something for everyone, Ashely said.
“There are so many options — flavors and types,” she said. “If you don’t like black tea, you might like herbal tea. There are caffeine-free options… Tea is good for you. Green tea has antioxidants. Red tea (rooibos) has a lot of Vitamin C.”
But to Ashely, it’s more than the taste and health benefits of tea that warms her heart.
“I love the tradition and ceremony behind it,” she said. “We have been to so many tea-drinking places, and one of the things we love about those cultures is when you share a pot of tea, it’s a chance to slow down. It’s something we wanted to bring to Stillwater.”
Opening a tea house was a big step from liking tea, and they spent a significant amount of time learning about varieties of loose leaf tea and listening to what Stillwater wanted.
“We thought no one in Stillwater would know what loose leaf tea was, but we were really excited to find that some people did,” Ashley said.
Tea doesn’t grow in the United States, so they order tea through a few wholesalers, Ashley said, and blend it themselves to offer a unique variety of options for their customers to purchase by the ounce or as a beverage.
“We spent a lot of time listening to what people want, and our goal is that if you want a certain tea, we have it,” she said. “Our slogan is ‘Tea made simple,’ and that’s what we want. We want people who don’t care about all the details and the science behind it to still feel like they can make tea.”
Simplicity and Co. Tea House opened in Lakeview Pointe shopping center in 2015, and moved to Downtown Stillwater in July 2017.
“We moved because of all the other local places opening downtown, even in the past two years,” Ashley said. “We really wanted to be a part of that culture and how everyone works together.”
Ashley grew up in Stillwater, and said she had been looking for a way to convince Austin to stay in town after they married.
“People move places for the culture, and for us to be a part of that culture and help refine it is really important to us,” she said. “We love this town and we want to see more people staying here after they graduate, and the only way that is going to happen is places like Simplicity and Co. and 1907 Meat Co. opening and staying open.”
Simplicity and Co. partnered with 1907 in February 2017 to offer a selection of loose leaf teas brewed by the cup.
Simplicity and Co. Tea House
112 W. 8th
Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m.