Krisi Smith is the Founder of Bluebird Tea Co. Here she shares her experiences as an entrepreneur and how she was helped on her journey by somewhereto.
Tell us about Bluebird Tea Co.
Bluebird Tea Co. is a fairly young, happiness spreading, independent, award winning, unique Tea Mixology Company on a mission to make people happy with tea. We focus on developing unique blends of tea. So, rather than straight teas such as green tea or chamomile tea, we instead create exciting flavours by mixing them with a wide range of blending ingredients including herbs, flowers, fruits, caramel, chocolate.. and even cake sprinkles. Our range is currently over 80 blends and we release 4 limited edition blends each season, so it is still growing. Who knew tea could be so exciting!? It gets better… we also focus on making our teas versatile, not by just having them as a hot drink, but mixing them up into tea cocktails, fresh iced teas, real chai teas, cold brews, latte’s and even smoothies!
What is somewhereto_?
somewhereto_ is a non-profit organisation with a portfolio of amazing venues to hire across London for parties, away days, meetings, photoshoots and much more. What makes them different? When you book a space with somewhereto_ a young person gets a space for free. You get a venue that’s right for you, and a young person gets the space to do something they love. What’s not to like?
Have you always known you wanted to set up your own business?
Yes, I think so. I have worked over 30 jobs in my life and at each one I added a little more to the picture. I was building on what I was capable of and where I wanted to be. It became obvious pretty early on that I struggle to work for other people unless I truly understand the cause I am working towards and feel like I am able to contribute to the best of my ability. So building my own path was always on the agenda.
What have you learnt from setting up your own enterprise? What have others taught you?
I have learnt an awful lot since starting Bluebird, both about myself and about business. I have learnt a lot about people and how important it is to communicate clearly with those around you. I started this journey as a fairly closed person, especially when it came to my own ideas and drives but I have learnt that it is so much better to be open to new ideas and contribution from others. I have also learnt to let go of my perfectionism a little – getting something done and into the hands of your customers is much better than taking so long to get something perfect and it never be seen by anyone.
How optimistic are you for yourselves and other start ups succeeding in this current climate?
Very, but I am an optimistic. I always see ideas and potential in everything around me and that under pins everything we do at Bluebird. If you are open minded and creative in your approach you will succeed for sure, the path to get there just might not be quite how you originally envisioned it!
What advice would you give someone looking to do something similar?
I would say it is scary and it does feel like a mountain ahead of you at the beginning but if you start climbing bit by bit you start to achieve things you never thought you could. I would also say never to underestimate the impact people can have on your business success – getting the right people around you is the key to everything you do. Lastly, I would say not to give up, even when you think it can’t get any worse just don’t give up, you got this!
You were given access to free space by somewhereto_, what did this allow you to achieve?
When we were first starting out, a few years back, somewhereto_ opened doors for us to get our brand into new spaces – from a stall at Brixton market, to collaborative desk space in Camden and plenty of pop up shop and events opportunities too. It enabled us to talk tea with loads of new people that we just wouldn’t have reached without this exposure.
What has working with somewhereto_ meant to you?
It has been great to have access to the somewhereto_ community as well as the free space. The people we have met and the doors it has opened for us has far outgrown the free desk space that originally set us up with somewhereto_. In the early days you just need to be meeting as many people as possible, opening doors and always being up for new opportunities – that ethos is something that somewhereto_ really get behind too so we loved being a part of it.
If you were given free space at 10 Downing Street for the day, what would you do?
We set up our Tea Mixology Bar and serve the PM and her team the best chai tea they have ever had of course! Perhaps even a cheeky spiked iced tea or matcha too!
somewhereto_ is running a special promotion. Book before the end of September and get 10% off venue hire.