COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The clink of gold-edged bone china and the sound of champagne fizzing in crystal goblets represent an elegance that Ella Williams didn’t have growing up in foster care.
When she was 16, Williams’ mother was committed due to schizophrenia. That’s when Williams worked with Huckleberry House to get out of foster care so she wouldn’t be split from her sister. It was a life without the simplest luxury, Williams recalled.
“I worked two jobs throughout high school and had my own apartment all throughout high school and was able to really learn some essential life skills,” Williams said. “It was very hard. I won’t say it was easy. I will definitely say there where times when you feel discouraged.”
Williams became an IT systems analyst. Then she built Posh Teatime Co, a luxury, high-tea mobile room with support from her husband and daughter, Gabriella. They bring the crystal, china, cutlery and linens to serve up a variety of teas, and a special four-course from-scratch menu with gluten-free options available.
Jill Dole co-owns the Timbrook Guest House on Olentangy River Road. She was captured by Ella’s website and her story when Williams approached with a “High Tea Tuesday” concept.
“Her personality is just glowing,” Dole said. “We just felt like we both have a story and we both have something that we want to share. I’ve got the setting and she’s got the tea, so it’s High Tea at the Timbrook on Tuesdays.”
Timbrook, with its lush gardens, water features, mansion, and pool, is the perfect setting for a luxury high tea.
Opportunity to dress up
“People don’t get the opportunity to dress up anymore,” Williams said. “We really wanted to create an environment where people could really have fun with it and really be creative and come and enjoy really good quality food that we make from scratch.”
Some would think it was enough to escape foster care and start a new business. But Williams also teaches a program at Huckleberry House to give children the skills she wishes she’d had.
“It’s called our Posh Teatime Co. Etiquette and Charm School,” Williams said with a smile. “I did not have anyone to show me proper etiquette as a youth because I lived an unstable life. I grew up in instability. I never had anyone to show me how to pay bills, how to budget, and those essential life skills.”
Youth participating in Huckleberry House’s transitional living program can sign up free of charge. Free food, a dining etiquette course, medical professionals talking about hygiene, and even corporate etiquette are covered by the program.