Four generations of tea lovers are brewing up exciting plans for a new business.
The Tea Enthusiasts has been set up by Liza Johnson thanks to a £25,000 business loan from Virgin StartUp and help from the North Tyneside Business Factory.
Tea Enthusiasts sells a wide range of loose leaf tea and accessories through a bespoke online platform to customers around the world.
After starting trading in January, the business has become a family affair, with Liza’s mother, daughter, son and even nan all pitching in, alongside a newly appointed 17-year-old apprentice.
Liza, 38, said: “Tea has always been in my blood.
“My mother is a tea merchant and is almost never without a pouch of her favourite blend of tea to make sure doesn’t have to settle for an underwhelming cup.
“I grew up with tea, my children have grown up with tea and now, through Tea Enthusiasts, I can share my passion with the world, with the aim of building a strong brand offering quality teas and blends from across the globe.”
Liza formerly worked in child protection as a social worker before undertaking self-employment with a joint comic-book shop and trading card company.
However, the idea for Tea Enthusiasts started to take shape last summer.
Liza said: “I was ready for a new venture and felt that with my personal passion for the product and expert knowledge within the family to source quality teas from global suppliers, there was an opportunity for a new business.”
She added: “Tea is a real growth product, given that it is one of the few natural beverages to contain no salt, fat or calories, and in many known varieties has proven health benefits to the drinker.
“We literally scour the globe for the very best tea and seek to provide a ‘world of flavour’, with individual packets of tea for sale in different sizes on our website. We also offer a more adventurous subscription service designed to open up customers to new flavours.
“Our tea is about accessible, affordable, everyday luxury and wellness.”
Liza worked with the North Tyneside Business Factory to develop a robust and detailed business plan designed to launch Tea Enthusiasts to an online marketplace, being assigned personal business advisor Janice Ross.
Liza said: “Janice has given me a great deal of support and assistance in helping to get Tea Enthusiasts off the ground in a way that put the business in the best position for success.
“In addition to the one-to-one mentoring she offered on all aspects of running this type of business, she also helped me find the right type of finance to meet the capital needs of the business through a Virgin StartUp loan.”
Virgin StartUp is delivered in the North East by Tedco Business Support and offers low-cost, government-backed business loans to new ventures up to the value of £25,000.
Janice said: “Liza was successful in receiving £25,000 in a business loan from Virgin StartUp, which has helped to finance everything from initial stock to the warehouse premises essential to get the business running from day one.
“Tea Enthusiasts is a business born out of passion and knowledge and it has been a pleasure working with Liza to really work through the many different facets of an e-commerce business.”