Loose-leaf tea side business becomes brewing success

Celebrities With Successful Side Businesses

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Launched during lockdown, Rianna Drake found inspiration to start her own side business in her morning cuppa. Now, after being featured in Forbes magazine and a successful Christmas collaboration with Lush under her belt, Ms Drake shares her secret brew for success with Express.co.uk

Tea & Me specialises in loose-leaf tea blends that are health conscious and provides for different moods and energy needs.

“It stemmed from a need for people to relax, switch off and be more in tune with their body during the lockdown,” she commented.

Ms Drake has a personal love for tea and used her knowledge and first-hand experience of what tea can do to shape her brand.

“I know the benefits and strength in tea, wellness and “coffee meetings” has in the workplace and a lot of my role would focused on networking and meeting people.

Tea & Me packaging

Tea & Me started during lockdown thanks to Ms Drake’s passion for tea and its health properties (Image: Rianna Drake)

“Tea allows people to have a moment of calm in their day, have that chat whilst it’s brewing, catch up whilst enjoying it and giving yourself a nice break.

Ms Drake added: “The initial aim was to design teas around health ailments prevalent in the black community, such as diabetes, cholesterol, and inflammation.

“For example, ingredients like fenugreek, ginger and black tea which are believed to aid in lowering blood sugar levels.”

Tea & Me had humble beginnings as a Kickstarter fundraiser, and Ms Drake credits this platform as being vital to the business’s success.

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We initially fundraised and raised over £8000, so we had a lovely following of people who believed in the brand from the outset.

“We then sold out of our Limited-Edition tea which was for Black History Month and had our first event with Lush on Oxford Street within 3 months of our launch.”

Alongside the stream of milestones and successes, Ms Drake was still working full-time in tech recruitment and has had to sacrifice her annual leave to attend to Tea & Me.

“I am juggling the business in my spare time, around work and I’m booking annual leave for the days I’m hosting our events.

Had it not been for the pandemic allowing me (and most of the world) to have some time to stop and focus on myself, I wouldn’t have been able to start the business at this point,” she added.

Tea & Me founder Rianna Drake

Ms Drake hopes to have Tea & Me stocked in luxury hotels and spas (Image: Rianna Drake)

Ms Drake aims to have Tea & Me stocked in luxury hotels, spa chains and high-end retailers across the world.

While Kickstarter had a large role in Tea & Me’s success, Ms Drake also suggests that product design, web design and social media are all equally vital for side business success.

“Having a great Product Designer and Web Designer to ensure your products look as best as possible, and ensuring you have the most functional and accessible platform to be found is essential.

“Social media is also a huge element in any business, staying consistent and having a presence on Instagram has been instrumental in our growth and word of mouth referrals as well.

As for other hopeful entrepreneurs, Ms Drake suggested that there is no such thing as too much planning.

Prepare, plan and then make a backup plan.

“So much of the daily functioning and when the business started was from several drafts of plans which keep you on course and moving in the right direction.

Something equally important in side business management is time management and commitment.

“If I have personal events on, then I will prioritise any Tea & Me admin before then so that I don’t fall behind or miss any deadlines.

“I hold myself just as accountable for my business as I do for my main job.”

William Murphy

William Murphy

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