Entrepreneurs see £4million revenue – having started business with just £5,000 savings

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The business began in a spare bedroom in 2012 and has flourished into 13 stores nationwide and seen an unbelievably successful crowdfund with £600,000 and growing. Bird & Blend Tea Co., originally Bluebird Tea, sells over 100 different flavoured tea including rarities such as birthday cake and monkey chops.

The innovative loose leaf tea company hit £4million revenue in 2021, and have estimated that it would have been £5.6million is stores had been open throughout.

The business was set up on £5,000 savings with Krisi and Mike spending the first year working market stalls, working from back bedroom.

In its second year, the business sought and secured a £25,000 Government loan to fit out the first store, in Brighton, which has been long since paid back and enabled Bird & Blend Tea Co. to get up, running and open on the high street.

The brand has always had a loyal and enthusiastic following and still has customers from its market stall days.

Bird & Blend Tea Co. founders Krisi Smith and Mike Turner

Bird & Blend Tea Co. founders Krisi Smith and Mike Turner started trading in 2018 as Bluebird Tea Co (Image: Krisi Smith and Mike Turner )

Their Instagram page has 56,000 followers and its Communi-TEA is very engaged.

Employing over 125 people across their stores, headquarters and ecommerce site, the TEAm now looks at a projected turnover of more than £30million in the next three years.

With the retail sector tanking during the pandemic, ecommerce stores saw their popularity more than double, which is why businesses like Bird & Blend Tea with a hybrid working world split between physical and digital, succeeded where so many others failed.   

Unlike other small businesses, Bird & Blend Tea Co. opened three more stores and launched a new website during the pandemic.

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This was fuelled by their research and knowledge of their consumer, understanding what user experience they were after and how they were most likely to access it.

The business also underwent recent crowdfunding, offering customers a chance to own a share of their favourite tea company.  

The campaign still running on Crowdcube saw it’s originally goal of £300,000 reached within 24 hours.

The campaign is now sitting 200 percent above target, with 1,000 investors and is not looking to slow down any time soon.

Bird & Blend Tea Co. founders Krisi Smith and Mike Turner

Bird & Blend Tea Co. has seen revenue of £4m this year and expect £30m in the next three years (Image: Krisi Smith and Mike Turner )

This is not the first time Bird & Blend Tea Co. has broken records, in 2017 they won Entrepreneurs of the Year at Crowdcube.

The founding duo are hoping to use this investment to continue their purpose of introducing tea mixology to people around the world through experiments, activities, events and innovative flavours that would be tempting to any tea-taster.  

Achieving this includes their plan to create a tea experience app and innovative product building as well as gaining ESG, environmental, social and governance, projects with a commitment to be a net-zero carbon company.

Additionally, this crowdfunding round is looking to invest in their digital innovation as well, growing their technology and team to handle it.

Bird & Blend Tea Co. also places a heavy emphasis on their communiTEA, hoping to invest in their local communities and high streets with more stores opening every year to help champion local retail.

Stores in Exeter and Norwich are soon to open with their first Scottish retail space opening shortly after.

Ms Smith views these spaces as not just stores, but community hubs that create opportunity for customers to interact and enjoy their teas with like-minded people.

This is also the driving force behind Bird & Blend Tea’s innovative flavours, with plenty more still due to come.

William Murphy

William Murphy

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