We caught up with the tour de force who plays host to some of the most glamorous grown-up tea parties in town.
By Danielle Ransom, Photo courtesy of The Marvelous Vintage Tea Party Co.
Meet Sophie Parrott, the infectious, firecracker personality behind one of Austin’s most unique companies. As the owner and creator of The Marvelous Vintage Tea Party Co., Parrott has a penchant for all things vintage and a practice of turning fantasy into reality through the power of tea.
“When people ask me what I do, my quick answer is, ‘I create joy, ” Parrott says of her career. “It’s pure and utter joy from start to finish.”
From arranging a mermaid underwater party to constructing a twisted, dark wonderland, she’s brought many a far-fetched, ingenious party-planning idea to life since starting her business.
Parrott was 4 years old when she first forayed into acting in her native home of England. Later in life, she traveled to work in Los Angeles in theater, television and production. With more than 15 years of experience working in various areas of the creative industry, Parrott has gained diverse talents that have helped launch her to the top of Austin’s entrepreneurial scene.
“I could’ve worked for South By Southwest or ACL to carry on my career that way, but I wanted to do something different,” Parrott says.
So, she started drafting up a passion list. “I wanted to use the skills I had already learned, so, I [decided to]write things down that I like to do. Over the weeks, I cut things out and straightened out some of my ideas,” she says.
Tea, friends, vintage, party, production, cake and Champagne: These key ingredients are what she deduced from that passion list, all of which power The Marvelous Vintage Tea Party Co.
“I want to reinvent the way we think about tea parties and make them hip, fabulous, saucy and cool again,” Parrott says. “I think of each party as a creation because you are producing this whole piece from start to finish. What music will play and when? How will the flowers look and smell? How are people going to be greeted?”
As for why she settled on vintage, the reasoning is quite simple.
“Because it’s gorgeous,” Parrott says. “It’s set between the eras 1920 and 1960, and there is so much you can do [with vintage].”
Parrot works with her customers one on one to visualize every aspect of the party, from the silverware to the treats on the tables, giving great attention to detail in order to fully recreate her clients’ wildest dreams.
“Our parties are much more than just an event. It’s a full-on experience we work hard to create,” Parrott says. “We are not just serving food. We are making sure everyone is having the best time they can have.”
So far, she’s hosted everything from cocktail hours and bachelorette parties to weddings and baby showers.
“It’s a real process, but it’s so fun,” Parrott says.
Her most favorite party to host was her first. “It was a really fun one in the woods, just north of town in a graveyard,” she says. “There were six girls dressed in vintage lingerie and heels. They were friends and just wanted to throw a boozy tea party. There was a smoke machine and huge candelabras.”
“This was my first tea party for a customer. What I didn’t plan was when they left. I was by myself. The smoke had settled between the stones and it was incredibly late at night. It was so frightening. I packed up so fast and got out as quickly as I could. I’m sure I left behind some silverware or something.”
It wasn’t until later that she learned hosting a tea party at a graveyard was illegal.
Now more fluent in the legality of where to host and not host parties, Parrott finds other ways to take creative liberties and credits the city and people of Austin with her greatest sources of inspiration.
“Austin is the most amazing place for [a business concept]like this. I don’t know where else it would’ve have worked,” Parrott says. “The entrepreneurial women here are incredibly supportive and inspirational to me, which keeps me on my toes.”
Her next biggest source of inspiration comes from her talented team, whom she refers to as TeaMates.
“I have an amazing staff who often do the parties for me when I’m busy, so, I trust them immensely. They are like my second family,” Parrott says.
The next item on her packed agenda is to launch her own specially curated tea line, Luxury Bespoke Loose Leafe Tea, this October, through her new company, Marvelous Teas(e).
“It’s tea with a saucy twist,” Parrott says of her new entrepreneurial endeavor.
Each fair-trade, certified-organic tea has a bit of “naughty” flair, accompanied by unique and playful names and a how-to cocktail recipe on the side. Parrott’s personal favorite among the blends is Glitteratea.
“[Glitteratea] is such a stunning tea,” she says. “When you’re brewing it, you see this amazing tornado of finely ground edible glitter dust just swirling [around]. When you drink it, you get a coat of glitter of your lips. It’s beautiful.”
Soon, she plans to start hosting monthly tea parties through her other business, Drink Me, a concept that allows individuals wanting to join in the fun to attend a tea party without having to round up a group of friends.
The future looks bright and full of optimistic possibility for Parrott. She’ll start filming for her new reality TV show next year.
“I’ve wanted this so much,” Parrott says of the show. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster. We’ve gotten so close so many times and then backed out because either my agents weren’t feeling it or I didn’t see it fitting my brand. … I don’t just want to be on TV. It’s [about]the message of spreading joy.”