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Oliver's Team


Darren Hartford, Owner


Favorite Product:  Oolong Tea

Darren is the newest member of the Oliver Pluff family. He was born and raised in Smithfield, Maine. Darren spent over 28 years in the Air Force where he had the opportunity to travel the world and experience many different tea and coffee cultures. He and his wife and two children recently returned to Charleston and enjoy all that the South Carolina lowcountry has to offer. 




Kyle Brown, Founder


Favorite Product:  Irish Breakfast Loose Tea

Kyle was born in Georgia and grew up tasting Louisiana-style cooking from his grandmother, a native of Baton Rouge. Strong tea and chicory coffee were staples. Kyle also had the chance to visit tea and coffee plantations in Latin America and Africa while working several years with Samaritan's Purse International Relief. The flavor of fresh, premium quality tea and coffee is what led him to create Oliver Pluff & Company. Kyle is an avid fisherman and a father to two young sons. 



Carol Rice, Sales Manager


Favorite Product:  Cacao Shell Tea

Carol is a native of Charleston and currently lives on the Isle of Palms. She is the self-proclaimed "Tea Lady" and has been involved in the tea trade for the past 8 years. Carol is currently serving on the Isle of Palms City Council and takes huge pride in her community. Carol enjoys live music, camping with her family and taking her dear dog Hudson to the bark park. Carol loves to talk tea and looks forward to creating lasting relationships with new tea friends.



Jen Thayer, Online Fulfillment Manager


Favorite Product: Oolong Loose Tea

Jen is a self-proclaimed tea drinker and veteran at Oliver Pluff & Company.  Jen is a huge fan of Oliver Pluff & Company products, but especially enjoys the Oolong Loose Tea for its nutty flavor, and the Peppermint Loose Tea for its calming effects.  Though originally from West Virginia, Jen ventured to Charleston for its historical significance and southern charm.  She has now resided in Charleston for nine years and refers to Charleston as a "city with a soul."  In her free time, Jen enjoys running, Mad Libs with friends, and playing outdoors with her dog Ollie.



Lydia McKee, Production Manager


Favorite Product:  Masala Chai

Originally from Georgia, Lydia has lived in Charleston for 15 years.  Lydia loves living near the water and going boating with friends and family.  When she's not on the water or at the beach, Lydia is spending time cheering on her Auburn Tiger football team.  Lydia's Oliver Pluff & Company favorite tea is Blackberry with just a little sugar.



Jim Faust, Warehouse Manager


Favorite Product:  Congou Loose Tea

Jim is a native Charlestonian who is proud to call Charleston home.  He is an avid bowler and belongs to a bowling club that meets every week.  He is also musically inclined and collects musical instruments!  Jim plays mostly strings, however he is able to play almost anything he attempts.  His favorite instruments include guitar, ukulele, drums and piano. Jim also spends time drawing cartoon figures and making crossword puzzles for friends to solve.



Mary Hanckel, Bookkeeper


Favorite Product:  Southern Style Iced Tea

Mary is native to Charleston and can't imagine living anywhere else.  Mary has always enjoyed living on the coast and has taken advantage of the seas by spending many years boating!  She has two sons, one daughter, and a granddaughter who she enjoys spending time with and who light up her life.  Mary likes her Southern Style Iced Tea sweet- "the way it was meant to be."



Brett Nash, Teamaker

Favorite Product:  Colonial Blend Coffee

Brett blends and packages teas by hand for our custom-packaging clients.  Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, he has been enjoying his home in Charleston for 9 years. On top of drinking his weight in coffee, Brett loves playing, writing, and listenting to music, especially jazz. He plays drums, bass guitar, and keyboards - sometimes in a band with Oliver Pluff warehouse manager, Jim Faust.   



Ashley Isom, Teamaker

Favorite Product: Blackberry Tea

Ashley was born and raised in the Charleston Area; she went to The Culinary Institute of Charleston to be a Pastry Chef. She is now studying English with a minor in Psychology to be a fiction and non-fiction writer. Ashley can be found with her nose in a book or doing  yoga when not at work. 



Rachel Carey, Teamaker

Favorite Product: Red Chai Tea

Rachel typically enjoys coffee after lunch and tea before bed, and loves learning about the benefits of other herbal teas and plants. A native to Maryland, she loves Charleston for its healthy, full-of-life waterways. She’s always down to go on a nature walk, thrift shop or simply enjoy being at home with her husband.  




Michelle Strager, Sales Representative – New England

mstrager@hotmail.com, 781-581-9394

Favorite Product:  Colonial Blend Coffee

Michelle is a coffee lover and enjoys traveling historic New England for her job. A native of Massachusetts, she spends her free time knee deep in some sort of home improvement initiative, painting, or spending time with friends and family. Michelle has also served as an adjunct professor at Marion Court College for the past 5 years for a course on “Principles of Buying”.  She lives in Swampscott, Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters.  

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