Matea Villegas co-founded and runs an herbal tea brand, Herbs & Love LLC.
What kind of work did you do throughout your internship experience?
The work I completed throughout my internship consisted of designing and establishing an herbal tea brand called “Herbs & Love LLC.” Through social media marketing, community outreach and engagement, collaboration with a business partner, and applying to sell Herbs & Love tea blends and products at local Tucson markets, I was able to complete a total of 182 internship work hours. Tabling events like #ThisIsTucson Artisan Market, Made In Tucson Market, and other various markets all over the Tucson area, is where I completed the majority of my internship hours. Selling Herbs & Love products, practicing customer service, managing sales and cash flow, and networking with other small businesses at the events allowed me continuous learning experiences that have given me what I feel is a comprehensive understanding of owning and operating a business.
What is unique about your situation that influenced your internship selection?
As a full-time student working two part-time jobs, a self-paced internship was the most effective use of my time. I had never heard of an entrepreneurial-based internship until I was impacted by the story of a UA alumni who launched her own business during her time in the Applied Humanities major and internship course. Inspired to also take an entrepreneurial approach, my desire to build a knowledge base of herbal supplements to improve one’s quality of life, gave me the idea to create a business that would provide others with the knowledge and ability to enhance their own quality of life. I got to share this passion with my business partner, and together we saw an opportunity in the local market to fill the void of high-quality herbal tea blends. Most of all, having the ability to let my creativity and entrepreneurship guide my internship was most unique and allowed me to learn how to apply for a business license and establish an LLC.
What did you find challenging about your internship?
The most challenging part about my internship was not being able to control my creative urges during times I wasn’t working for internship hours. The excitement and never ending ideas would come to me at the most random moments, but I wouldn’t know how to manage my time so that I wasn’t overworking myself. A step I took to face that challenge was just making a note of every idea that came to mind, instead of acting upon the idea right away. This helped me not forget about a good idea, control my excitement, and come back to ideas at a more appropriate time.
What was the most satisfying part of your internship?
The most satisfying part of my internship was creating my own herbal tea blends that have improved my own quality of life and the lives of the customers who purchase the tea blends. It was also the best feeling when returning customers would come back to markets to purchase more tea and mention how effective the tea was. Receiving feedback from customers has been and always is meaningful to the growth of Herbs and Love. Whether I received good or bad feedback, it still was one of my favorite parts of my internship, that influenced me to grow as a business owner and student.
What is the impact of your internship experience?
My internship experience has impacted me to continue expressing my creativity through any work I complete. The supportive PAH community and general Tucson community made the biggest impact on how successfully Herbs & Love came to life from my internship. Asking questions and participating in continuous learning experiences also made a huge impact on my confidence and success throughout my internship experience. It has also provided an impactful message that I really can do anything I put my mind to.
What advice do you have for other students as they search for their internship?
Do what your heart is telling you to do! It’s way too easy to compare yourself and your work to others around you, but I want to remind you that you have so much potential to be unique. Believing in yourself and listening to your creative thoughts can help you express yourself. Remember what you value and recognize what the type of internship you’re selecting values. If you think the internship you’re interested in will allow you to be your most authentic self and will provide you with continuous learning and engagement, then that’s the one!