My name is April and I'm 17. I've been running The Leafy Tea Company for about a year now (time flies when you're having fun!) and now I've reached the stage where I want to blend MYSELF! I have so many ideas for so many blends that I am BURSTING to try out and for this I need you lovely people to help. Thus Operation Grow was launched.
Lemme tell you my story (sit back, relax and put that kettle on) , The Leafy Tea Company started when I got some vouchers for Christmas for a *large independent high- end retailer* I love tea (I'm British after all...) and so when I went there I spent ALL my vouchers on tea (average 16yr old right there). I was so excited that when I got home I made so many cups of tea just to try them all out. Then I tasted them. I was so disappointed! They smelt amazing but the taste was TERRIBLE, they tasted of hot water and no flavour. So this is when I resolved to do something about it, I scoured the internet for sources and found what I needed and thats how The Leafy Tea Company was born! Everything I sell is all about the flavour, I want my teas/infusions to actually taste as good as they smell (crazy philosophy I know!). All our flavours taste flipping good, take our Indulge - coconut tea for example, natural coconut goodness in a mug. Mmmmm......
Operation Grow is the hunt for a pyramid teabag packaging machine. This little beauty will help me to blend whatever I want, whenever I want without waiting for suppliers and whatnot, I will also have more flexibility with my blends as I can be like Willy Wonker and create taste explosions with my machine!
So you may be thinking I'm just a crazy student with a few marginally good ideas, BUT NO! I've won The Bath Chronicle & Bristol Post Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Women in Business Awards, the Milsted Langdon Award for Enterprise and been a finalist in the Bath Life Awards for best new business but here's something better... Hop to the next paragraph to see...
^ A slightly bemused me winning the Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2017
In October I was doing some charity work out in Malawi with my school for the absolutely incredible Fishermans Rest organisation who help with self-sufficiency in local communities and while I was over in Malawi I got the chance to visit a tea plantation. Oh my word, it was so beautiful, so I decided to import a batch because people need to see that Malawi (the poorest country in the world) has this amazing tea and it should be used on it's own and not just as a 'filler tea' in normal teabags. The one thing I'm most proud of in this entire year is not those awards up there, but the fact that I have got to the stage in my company that I can help a charity, so for every bag of my Wake Up tea (Malawi single-estate breakfast tea) I donate 40p to Fishermans Rest to help them carry on with their life-changing work.
As well as Malawi, my teas have also been to the Houses of Parliament to do an event there with other incdedible Bath artisan producers to raise the profile of amazing Bath products, invited up by Bath MP Ben Howlett!
^ The tea plantation in Malawi
^ Hanging out with the kids at Tilitonse Community Centre, Malawi
Where I am now & where I want to be:
At the moment I sell to Cafes, Delis and Farmers Markets in my local area but this needs to be grown too because the world of tea needs to be shaken out of the dark ages and catapaulted into the modern day. In my eyes, gone is the need for loose leaf (we're all busy folks!) and so here is the dawn of the pyramid teabag, you get the same awesome taste as the leaves are allowed to swell up but no mess to clear up! Simple! And each of my bags contain a whopping 20 tea bags! Bio-degradable too and all our teas are ethically sourced!
Here's the low down on what I have already:
- A truckload of ideas
- Avenues to diversify into (watch this space amigos....)
- Staple flavours that people love
- Enthusiasm and a drive to create an easier and tastier tea experience
^ The stand at Parliament :D