60-second start-up: Tea Monkey

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence:

Tea Monkey is a chain of modern tea cafés which serve a delicious selection of teas, award-winning coffees and a great range of fresh food, cakes and gluten-free items, all served in a  relaxed environment with our signature wall-mounted iPads in store for customers to use free of charge.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

A 60/40% mix of owned/corporate stores, franchisees, on-line retail and a Hospitalitea Range (wholesale), working together to build this dynamic and refreshing brand globally

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

We're taking on the big coffee chains by providing a credible alternative and putting a modern spin on a classic British favourite. I love filling gaps in the market and everyone keeps telling me how surprised they are that no-one's done this before!

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

We are very personal with our service and genuinely engage with our customers.  Our team is passionate about the service they provide and it shows. I think people find us a very refreshing alternative.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

I was very lucky to sell my previous business before the recession, so I initially began funding Tea Monkey myself. And then within the first six months of launching our first store we'd won a few national awards and I was able to put an investor pack together and seek further investment.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

I used to work in the corporate world and even gained a position on the board. Then when I reached 31 I became a bit of a serial entrepreneur. Tea Monkey is actually my third business, though the others were in education outsourcing so the world of food and beverages has been a great adventure!

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

After I sold my last company I moved to the Middle East with my husband and spent a lot of time in coffee shops. I started to get fed up with getting a very bad cup of tea and paying a high price for it. Then it dawned on me that this was the case even in the UK and that, as a nation of tea drinkers, there should really be a chain of high quality, modern tea cafes.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

I built the business with solid foundations for growth. My corporate outsourcing background enabled me to put a robust infrastructure in right from the offset and now we can just plug and go.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

Paying consultants to tell us what we already know.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

A Jaffa Cake. It's got a bit of everything but it's a classic.

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

It would probably be Princi in Wardour Street [in Soho, London]. They've got it right: the food, the presentation, the ambience. I think it's incredible and just excellent. I would love to incorporate that level of food excellence within our stores…stunning.

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

We've now officially launched as a franchise and will be aiming to become the six to 12 franchises over the next year in five major cities across the UK.

Find out more about Tea Monkey...

www.teamonkeyfranchise.com

www.tea-monkey.com

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