Brewing up a storm in the retail market

July 11, 2013

The young north east entrepreneur behind a successful tea, teaware and homeware company is making plans for the next stages of the firm’s development as its first ever in-store concession reaches the end of its three-month run.

Jules Quinn opened The *TeaShed’s first ever in-store concession in the Newcastle branch of Fenwick in April this year, and its popularity means that, as it reaches its planned closing date of 14 July, it has comfortably surpassed the revenue targets that were set when it opened.

Jules is now in initial discussions with a number of retailers about potential franchise or concession opportunities in the future, and she is also looking at new product development plans on the back of the most popular products at the Fenwick concession.

This includes developing a new ‘Bubble Tea’ range, which is a fruit-based drink that originated in Taiwan and which is not currently available on a retail basis, but which was one of the Fenwick cafe’s best sellers.

Jules Quinn set up The *TeaShed after completing her fashion marketing degree at Northumbria University in 2011, at the age of 22, and has ambitions to make her firm the UK’s leading speciality tea company within five years.

As well as being available via the firm’s own website, *TeaShed products are already stocked by a growing range of online and High Street retailers, including Fenwick, John Lewis, Moonpig and the V&A.

The company has also run pop-up tea tents at some of the UK’s biggest music events, and will once again have a presence at the V Festival and T In The Park events later in the summer.

The *TeaShed concept was developed with the help of Northumbria University’s Graduate Enterprise Scheme, through which links were established with Stephen Slater, a director at RMT Accountants & Business Advisors, who has acted as an advisor to the company ever since.

Jules Quinn says: “The Fenwick concession was originally set up to predominantly be a marketing tool for the brand, but it’s proved extremely popular over our three months in store, and has provided me with a great deal of experience and knowledge that will be useful in the future.

“I hadn’t had much experience in the past of things like managing and motivating a team of people, so taking on these tasks on a day-to-day basis has given me the chance to learn in the most direct way possible, and will give me a head start when the plans we’re developing for future pop-ups come to fruition.

“The Fenwick cafe also gave me a great chance to see at first hand which *TeaShed products were most popular with my customer base, and we’ll be building on that with the new product development work that’s already now in progress.

“The support we’ve had from Fenwick over the last three months has been fantastic – the time has gone extremely quickly, and having the chance to be part of such a highly-regarded and busy retail space has been a wonderful opportunity for us.”

Stephen Slater adds: “Jules has, very typically, grabbed the opportunity presented to her by Fenwick with both hands, and her commitment to maximising the benefits of everything that she does sets a fantastic example to the next generation of young north east entrepreneurs.”

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