The TeaShed. World domination, one teabag at a time!
Jules Quinn talks to The Daily Wiz about tea, business inspiration and her entrepreneurial journey that led to the creation of The TeaShed.
The British are well-known for their love of tea: be it Earl Grey, English Breakfast, or even Lady Grey if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. Jules, however, saw a gap in the tea market and decided to launch the TeaShed using her student overdraft. Today, Jules shares the inspiration behind this successful new startup revolutionizing the world of tea, her journey, useful tips for other young entrepreneurs and her plans for the future!
Firstly, how old were you when you came up with the idea for The TeaShed and what was it that inspired you?
As part of my Fashion Marketing degree I had a placement year and so I went down to London to work for a designer who was the spitting image of ‘Bruno’. He gave me boring jobs like filing, tracing and making cups of tea. It was then that I fell in love with tea. He sent me to Sainburys one lunch time to get some more tea for the office and I noticed how much coffee selection there was as opposed to tea, which I thought was strange as everyone in the office drank tea. Hmmm I thought… maybe this is my new venture. This was 5 years ago and now tea has equal(ish) shelf space to coffee.
Back at uni I developed The TeaShed, approached Fenwick Newcastle with my concept, got a listing, then bought some tea (!!), launched and three months later received an email from John Lewis after they had seen an article in a magazine which I had written to.
I was 22 when I launched it and now I am 27.
Can you describe the types of products offered by The TeaShed?
We only use quality whole leaf tea in silky pyramid teabags. We then pack 20 of these into a paper cup which can be used as storage, to drink out of and then recycled. We also have gift boxes of tea and other tea & biscuit related hampers.
We also have a new product PopaBall, a range of bursting juice bubbles which you add to cold drinks, suck up through a chunky straw, bite and feel the burst of flavour. It comes from a product called ‘bubble tea’, but they are also great in cordials, cocktails and prosecco!
What is it that sets you apart from other, similar businesses?
We are innovative with our products and packaging. We focus on gifting and the experience of receiving and using our products. We make sure our prices are reasonable whilst keeping the quality excellent. We put on and attend events with our pop up tea tents or PopaBall bars.
Can you tell us a little about your background and education?
Running my own business is all I have wanted to do since I was a young girl. My very first memory is aged about 7, when I used to move my little wooden desk in my bedroom door way, line up all my toys and have a box of plastic coins ready for ‘passers by’. By ‘passers by’ I mean my 2 year old sister, who I would sit on the other side of the desk in our hallway with a handful of the round grey plastic. I then proceeded to sell her all the toys I no longer wanted and then taking the money owed from her little hands in exchange for a barbie with one arm missing.
I then went on to do various ‘business’ ideas from making bracelets at school to running under 18 club nights. I wasn’t keen on going to university but my parents said it would be a good thing to fall back on if my business didn’t work out. So I went to Northumbria and studied Fashion Marketing because it looked fun and I enjoy design.
How did you get your first funding?
Student overdraft! Then I won some awards with cash prizes and as the business progressed by parents put some money in. The rest is just organic.
In your opinion, what is the hardest part about starting your own business?
Not getting distracted by what everyone else is doing
What advice would you like to give to other young entrepreneurs thinking about launching their own startup?
You have to want it more than anything else in the world and be prepared to do anything for it. Literally anything.
What is your favourite tea?
Our new Liquorice, Fennel & Mint blend!
What are your plans for the future of The TeaShed?
World domination, one teabag at a time.
If you’ve got a business idea you’d like to test out, head to Wizbii to create a free project page – you can test out your ideas, find potential associates and increase your visibility!