Where did the inspiration come from to start a tea business?
As a family, we have a long history of tea lovers and avid tea drinkers, of course, it was our dream to create, blend and produce our own tea! During the first UK lockdown, whilst free from work and daily commitments myself (Yasmine) and my mom (Esther) sat down and put our heads together, contacting suppliers, sourcing packaging, logo designing and much more, during our spare minutes. At the time we had unfortunately lost a very close family member on who we heavily based our brand values off. My dear nan, my mom’s mom, who had been battling cancer for eight years, with incredible strength, refusing chemo and deciding natural healing was what she wanted, unfortunately, suffered like many others, the terrible effect of this cruel illness, alongside Covid 19. We wanted to take her amazing strength, kindness and love and put it into something important to us. We soon created The Tea Bees, sat in our beautiful garden on a beautiful summer day to spread love, positivity and amazing, natural tea!
How do you come up with the different tea blends and flavours?
We have incredible connections to some truly beautiful family-run suppliers who source our tea leaves for us from all over the world. Partnered with The Ethical Tea Partnership to ensure our products are always sourced fairly and naturally. They really know their tea! We sit down, over many cups, to design, source and create our lovely teas, working with our long list of amazing contacts in order to create and mix each handcrafted blend. A lot of long hours of research and tea tasting (our favourite part) go into the creation. We always try to create beautiful, unusual blends that promote different health benefits, as that’s what we love to share. Each tea has a different use, healing source and job from which the body benefits so much. Therefore, our blends are all individual in taste, look and power. Perfectly mixed to produce the perfect blend.
Your environmentally friendly approach is amazing, can you tell us more?
Yes!! We absolutely love talking about our eco-friendly approach, as you wouldn’t believe how much tea affects the world around us. We take as many small steps as we can to ensure that we are having an as little environmental impact as possible. Although we are small, our approach is very important to us. A lot of big companies are hugely responsible for the future of our planet, but we wanted to start as we meant to go on. Firstly, every one of our teas are sourced ethically. This means that each of our lovely pickers, packers and growers are fairly supported and ethically treated. Very important. Although not all our blends are organic, they are 100% natural, no nasties whatsoever, meaning that our used tea leaves are in no way harmful to the environment and can decompose as they would if they hadn’t been picked, not intrusively releasing chemicals into the earth or your body. We pride ourselves on 100% recyclable packaging, both our beautiful boxes and our lovely new padded mailing bags are made from recycled material, made in the UK (reducing air miles) and are obviously recyclable! So… we are creating as little environmental impact as possible upon being delivered to your door.
One of the big reasons we created The Tea Bees, which I haven’t previously mentioned, is due to loose tea being far more eco-friendly than plastic-filled tea bags, a huge environmental issue. As well as hindering the taste of natural tea leaves by being crushed down from their natural form they are also a big problem for our wildlife and seas, not cool! For us, it’s a no-brainer. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways and for us, tea is certainly one of them. You can’t beat a good teapot full of loose tea leaves, for taste and the environment. They, like strainers, are reusable and that’s sustainable.
Do you have any advice for small businesses?
We have met some absolutely amazing people along our journey so far and as we turned 1 on the 22nd September 2021, we have had a lot of learning experiences. Some advice we would give to small businesses would be that you are not alone. There will be incredibly positive things (even if they are small to others) and there will be some really tough days too. As a small business, we would argue, it is a lot harder to run day to day than huge corporations as usually it’s one or two people doing what feels like hundreds of jobs. It isn’t easy, but it is most definitely worth it to run your own schedule and do something that you love, which is the most important thing in life for us. For example, having the pleasure to write a second article for The Student Aspect is just amazing for us, spreading our little community further and being able to talk to other students, like myself. We all have to start somewhere, and we hope that you always excel in your amazing little venture.
To learn more about this amazing business, their eco-friendly approach and their products, check out their Instagram page @theteabeesuk.