Cup of Tea Case Study

When an ambitious couple found the Thames Valley was too expensive to grow their business, they turned to Somerset and discovered it was just their cup of tea. Simon and Christine Collins’ business, based between Wells and Frome, is appropriately called Cup of Tea Limited. It supplies the very best teas and accessories to high-end hotels, restaurants and bars and sells more than 100 teas and infusions plus accessories and gifts through online mail-order. 

“Somerset offers excellent availability of great staff, realistically priced property, good communications with fast links to London and the South East and a wonderful lifestyle,” they say. “We moved in May 2008 from the Reading area. Our business had outgrown its circumstances there and commercial property in the Thames Valley is unaffordable. We found in Somerset an opportunity to enable the business to continue to grow in its own premises.” 
Cup of Tea was established in 2002 as a trade-only business distributing the well-known German brand Ronnefeldt Tea in the UK. The following year online consumer sales were added and both have grown. “We believe it is a remarkable achievement to successfully launch a foreign brand into the overcrowded UK tea market. Cup of Tea Ltd was started from nothing seven years ago and our strategy for healthy organic growth over that time has built a solid business which has weathered the current downturn very well. We work with good supply partners who have developed strong brands within their markets, helping us enormously to sell them on to our customers.” 
Simon and Christine have received strong support from Somerset’s business community. They greatly enjoy Somerset’s lifestyle, with its countryside, coast and market towns. “Add to that Bath, Bristol and the ease of reaching London and the other major South East towns and the combination is impressive. Outside of work life is much more relaxed and generally very calming.”