FORMER Royal Mail human resources manager Ann Davis has lifted the lid on a new career by turning a hobby into a growing business.
Ann, from Doncaster, got the inspiration for her company – The Tea Experience – after husband Paul bought her a traditional Yixing ‘purple sand’ China teapot.
She started learning more about the teapots and found she was repeatedly being approached by friends who wanted to know where they could get one.
Then she decided to set up a business selling them when she was looking for an occupation that would give her the quality of work and lifestyle balance she wanted, while recovering from breast cancer a few years ago.
With the help of international tea masters in London, she transformed herself from some one who didn’t even drink tea to an expert. Her business now imports loose tea from the Far East and Germany, as well as dealing with specialist tea importers and wholesalers in the UK. The growing business is always on the lookout for innovative new products to bring to the UK and recently launched an artisan tea called The Flowering Tea Bloom, handmade to order for The Tea Experience by an award-winning Chinese producer.
The Flowering Tea Bloom is made from leaves of silver needle green tea, which are long and slender and have a very fine coating of silver hairs, which give the tea blooms a distinctive greyish appearance.
Leaves are sorted by size and made into miniature hand-sewn bouquets with the dried flowers at the centre – a process that can take up to 10 minutes.
Ann Davis said: “We are still very small, but I can’t believe that my hobby of selling teapots is now growing into a viable website business.
“It’s very exciting times for us and we are currently investing in new branding and marketing to help build the business further.”