Class of 2024

Mischa Roy

Owner, Spill the Tea Sis: Age 38

Mischa RoyMischa Roy has long been connected with the arts in Western Mass.; two decades ago, at age 18, she was one of the youngest exhibitors at the Paradise City Arts Festival, among other high-profile events. She eventually opened retail spaces for her handmade wares and, in 2014, launched a wholesale brand called Spill the Tea Sis, selling to more than 6,000 stores across the country.

Roy moved to Florida for a while, but during the pandemic, she decided to come home and operate the wholesale business from Western Mass., but she was struck by the impact COVID was having on Northampton’s downtown.

“I was walking around Main Street and saying, ‘man, that little storefront could probably use some life,’” she recalled, so she opened a Spill the Tea Sis location there, selling unique home and gift items, in July 2022. Since then, the store has been named best gift shop by Valley Advocate readers two years running. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind of crazy growth since then. Now, it’s a million-dollar-a-year business, and we run events.”

Roy said all the candles, jewelry, and many other items sold at Spill the Tea Sis are made in-house, and she’s been able to support other local artisans as well. The store also features an active herb wall and its own tea line, and many of her offerings have a metaphysical bent.

“A lot of stores around here have similar products to each other. When somebody walks in our door, I want them to find the thing they can’t find anywhere else,” she said. “I want them to find something they love, that speaks to them.”

Last year, Roy launched a monthly block party from May to October, giving local vendors who may not have a brick-and-mortar presence, farmers, and other stores on Main Street the chance to set up tents and connect with visitors, and she’s looking forward to repeating the experience in 2024. She also brought a successful pop-up to the Big E in 2023 and plans to return this fall.

She has also spearheaded a slate of free artistic and cultural programming on Main Street and hosted events for community members to participate in, contributing to downtown vibrancy and drawing more visitors to town.

“People bring friends to town, and when they come here, they know they’re going to have an experience,” she said. “The reality is, people need more reasons to come back post-pandemic. I really enjoy making connections with our community and our customers.”

—Joseph Bednar