Virgin StartUp of the week: TeaTime
Ruby Chan is the founder of TeaTime, a subscription service bringing wholesome teas to your door or desk. Subscription services cater for our need for convenience, and TeaTime makes it easy to choose lower-caffeine alternatives, or simply have a taste of something different. Let's find out more.
We choose one Virgin StartUp company to be featured on Virginstartup.org each week. We ask our startups of the week to deliver the ultimate elevator pitch. What would they say if they had one minute in a lift with Sir Richard Branson? Please answer the questions below, keeping each answer to five sentences max.
Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does
We are a healthy tea subscription business which delivers caffeine-free, wholesome blends to your office or home.
Floor 1 to 2 - Where are you based?
On the world wide web! However, TeaTime was founded in Surrey, UK.
Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?
The main product is our TeaTime box which consists of 4 unique tea blends, packaged in portable, recyclable pots. Each pot contains as much as 3 servings and some brews are reinfusable, meaning you get around 10 cups per box. Each box is £4.50 and you can choose to have it delivered to you on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Your kit comes with self-fill tea bags (so you can adjust the strength of the brew to your liking) and a handy brewing guide- everything you need for the perfect cuppa.
Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?
Luckily, we are unique enough to not have any direct competitors however, there are subscription service companies who do very well selling their own products (i.e Graze snacks, Pact Coffee). Rather than keeping them at arms length, one of the first steps in developing TeaTime was approaching the CEO of Graze and having a meeting to discuss learnings and swap concepts.
Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?
There’s currently no other subscription service around that offers what we do. Unlike supermarket tea bags which are made up of powdered leftover leaves and stalks, all TeaTime blends are created using whole leaves and buds. We offer caffeine-free and low-caffeine healthy teas, free from perfumes or chemicals, that are delivered straight to your door in handy boxes. You get a different mix each time so you can have the variety without the risk of shelling out on packets of teas which may end up sitting in the back of the cupboard!
Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?
It all started in the office of the finance firm where I work; I would watch my colleagues get up for tea and coffee breaks as often as 8 times a day. Hearing them speak of how much they wished they didn’t have to rely so much on caffeine each day, I began crafting special brews from my natural herbal tea collection at home and packaging them in handy, portable containers with brewing instructions and a list of benefits of each blend (detox, energising etc). I then delivered these to their desks. It was a great success and it was then that I realised I had a great business concept to work with.
Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?
Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?
The funding will enable us to cover our stock costs for launch, as well as initial marketing campaigns to grow our database.
Floor 8 to 9 – Who’s your Virgin StartUp Mentor?
David Franks of Glacia, a food consultancy expert who specialises in helping food and drink startups. I’ve yet to meet him but I’ve seen and heard many good things!
Floor 9 to 10 – What’s your workspace like?
Floor 10 to 11 – where will your business be in 12 month’s time?
I envisage us having a strong and growing number of both individual and corporate subscribers across the UK and also having a healthy presence in the realm of wholesome consumables.