The aim of our business is to create high quality tea experiences. It is our vision to create a new product category, which is ‘alcoholic tea’, that aims to disrupt the alcoholic beverage industry. Another objective of the company is to promote our product 'NOVELTEA' internationally. We want to go beyond the North East, beyond the UK and go worldwide at some point. Hopefully sooner than later.
What made you start your own business?
Vincent: I always thought that if there was the right opportunity, then I most likely would. It was never the end goal to become self-employed, to start or own a company, but it felt right so I took the opportunity with Lukas.
Lukas: Vincent had a module where he had to create a business idea and so he was working on that. He had this idea of alcoholic teas, which I was also thinking of when I studied years ago in Singapore. I got an invitation from him to attend a focus group with alcoholic teas, and I thought, ‘These guys are really doing it. Why am I not doing it?’. I went to the focus group, took part and liked it. We then went to a Weatherspoon’s and had a beer over the idea together. The other guys who were involved in this module and this idea did not want to pursue it. So we were thinking about it and then we applied for the Founderships Programme, and then we got it and then I think when we received the confirmation it took us about an hour to decide to go for it.
Achievements so far…
Lukas: We have achieved quite a lot in just 9 months. We developed a complete new product in two new flavours, designed and created NOVELTEA as a brand, put a sustainable supply chain together, launched NOVELTEA in Fenwick Newcastle and several other stores.
Experiences on the Foundership Programme
Vincent: Exceptional. Good. I think it’s just a great support network, for everything. Emotional support, networking, advice. It’s great support.
Something I learnt here is, ‘Shy bairns get nowt,’ and that’s what I think. Talk to anyone, ask anyone. That’s the same with Rise Up, if you don’t ask them, then nothing will happen, but if you talk to them, interact with them, and they know what you’re looking for, then you get a lot more out of it.
Have you had to overcome any challenges along the way?
Vincent: I think there have been a lot of challenges but there has never been a challenge where we’ve thought of just stopping it. Whatever was in front of us we tried to understand and then tried to find a solution and cope with it, which we were either able to do ourselves or we talked to people who could give us pointers or could do it for us. So there have been a lot of things and it’s funny now, on a Sunday we always say, ‘Oh next week will be quite important and essential to how it works out’, and we say that every 2 weeks again and again. Yesterday again we said ‘The next three weeks will be…’
What advice would you give for starting a new business?
Vincent: Talk to everyone you know, use networks and use events to meet people and just start talking about your business and the new challenges. You may meet someone who knows someone that can help you or they can give you some tips and advice.
That’s how we did it, through this guy we met this guy and then you collaborate and it kind of builds up and it is really helpful and supportive because with two people and very limited resources, you need to look for different ways to make things happen and work.
Lukas: I would also say do your market research, even though I know it doesn’t sound really motivating. If we hadn’t done it, NOVELTEA would have come in a champagne style bottle, which was not really well perceived by our focus group. It was incredibly beneficial for our entire branding and understanding.
Web site: www.noveltea-drinks.com