Introduction by: Peter Marshall
Now here is something different and exciting for global Travel Retail. English Tea Shop brings a range of quality teas – flavourful, colourful and giftable to the burgeoning foods category. As you will read, sustainability is core to everything that stems from this 13 year old business. Their business ethos and philosophy is also refreshingly different (pun intended) and they are determined to grow their business in the Travel Retail Sector. I recently caught up with the company’s CEO, Suranga Herath.
Peter Marshall (PM): Suranga, English Tea Shop is 13 years old as a brand and is now making serious moves into the global travel retail business. Can we start this interview by you giving a brief history of your brand story, its success and how you would define your company’s approach to sustainability.
Suranga Herath (SH): English Tea Shop Organic (ETS) embarked on its journey in 2010, with a mission to uplift small-scale organic farming communities and nurture the next generation of farmers. Over 13 years, ETS has become a reputable brand, committed to organic and Fairtrade practices. It empowers organic farming, supports farmers, and even has 30% employee ownership. Sustainability is ingrained in the brand as a certified B-corp, prioritising positive impacts on people and the planet. ETS supports over 3100 farmers in Sri Lanka, appealing to environmentally conscious travellers who seek carbon-neutral products.
PM: So what makes your offer special to your consumers?
SH: English Tea Shop stands out by offering diverse organic tea blends. The vibrant packaging captures attention and sets a sensory journey in motion. The integration of blockchain QR codes offer traceability, and the Say Something with Tea range revolutionises gifting with personalised voice/video messages via secure QR codes.
What’s even more special is the strong social impact story that is inbuilt into our purpose. We created this brand to have a net positive impact on people, from farm to cup and the environment at large, and we invite all mindful tea drinkers to join our joyful tea revolution.
PM: You certainly appear to be catering to trending preferences in the marketplace. Gin Botanicals is a good example. Tell us more.
SH: We get how important it is to cater to traveler’s tastes, and that’s exactly why we rolled out our Gin Botanicals line. With gin’s rising fame, we introduced this to level up the game.