It seems that all of my updates begin with an apology for not having written sooner with our latest news, and this one will be no different. Time seems to fly by and quiet moments to sit down and put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) seem increasingly few and far between. But the good news is that we have been busy so there’s lots to share – never a dull moment here chez Watson so here goes the longest Kickstarter update to date:
Short recap of pre-Christmas when I last wrote:
- We moved an exciting 200m down the boulevard at Kings Cross and found ourselves right outside the exit of the station. Despite the short distance our customers changed hugely – we had more smokers, as one would expect out the back of a station (!), more tourists (we were right by the Eurostar exit) and lots of travelling Brits passing through, usually to Cambridge it seemed, excitedly stocking up on tea & crumpet supplies for their onward journeys.
- We were featured in Editer magazine, talking tips on how to make the perfect cup of tea http://editer.com/food-drink/tea/
- We served tea on a bespoke PINK G&P Brew Bar for Clinique’s Press day in aid of Great Ormond Street
- We took the van to Microsoft HQ for their Winter Wonderland staff party
- We were on BBC World, broadcast all around the world (although strangely hard to catch in the UK), talking about the new, younger tea-drinker for a programme aptly named ‘Tea: a Revolution Brewing’.
- We kept cold Christmas shoppers warm at Late Night Christmas Shopping at Covent Garden
- We took the Brew Bar out on it’s first real outing – to the Truman Brewery for the East London Design Show.
- The lovely Bearleader Chronicle came down to Brockley Market to chat about tea & take some pics of our favourite Saturday market http://bearleaderchronicle.com/site/entry_009/
- Christmas online madness happened, so we had the tea-packing production line in full swing – like delivering rewards all over again!
*pause for breath*
Then, after a much-needed break, we welcomed in 2014. We had big plans, renewed energy and great enthusiasm for all the exciting possibilities the year ahead would hold. The wonderful Oli & Harriet became an official part of the G&P team, manning the fort (aka van) at Kings Cross, while I took time to focus on the bigger picture – where the van would go next, where the Brew Bar would go next and even scarier, where G&P would go after that.
The answer to the first was not an easy one - we decided to keep up Brockley Market, but, with a heavy heart, to pull the van from Kings Cross from mid-February. We had done a full year there and loved it, but we needed a change, a new view out of the hatch and apart from anything else to make the most of Watson’s mobility. Since then we have had it at Canary Wharf, at the busy busy Southbank, in Shoreditch for Pancake Day, in Camden Lock for a day, and outside a shop for a shop launch.
It is a very different rhythm to trading every day, but it has been good – apart from anything else we have met a lot more people, all of whom are seeing Watson & trying our tea for the first time, which is great.
‘SIT IN OR TAKEWAY?’
As for the second, where to take the Brew Bar, we decided to shelter from the wind and rain and make our first foray into a fixed, indoor location. And not a bad indoor location either. For 4 weeks G&P was lucky enough to have a residency inside the beautiful tokyobike store in Shoreditch on Tabernacle Street. We love everything about them, from the clean design of their shop and products, to what they are all about, so it felt like a great fit and an exciting opportunity to try something new. We had our very own vinyl on the window, along with seating at what is surely one of the best people-watching spots in London. It was a whole new thing saying to customers ‘Would you like that to sit in or takeaway?’ And of course that also meant we had real cups and plates AND, in the absence of crumpets, lots of cake! It was great – we met some amazing people, many of whom we hope to work with in the future, it was very interesting being in a different part of London and we learned a huge amount about how a retail environment would work for tea, which will no doubt help us later down the line. Time Out even featured us in their ‘What to do this Weekend’ section.
Finally, the space that the shop offered us allowed us to kick off our G&P Tea Tasting evenings which have been an exciting new thing for us. We hosted one every Tuesday during our time at tokyobike and were delighted by how much people seemed to enjoy them. We talked about tea, what it is and where it comes from, the different types and growing regions, before tasting, discussing and comparing a selection of teas.
They were informal, but it was amazing to see how interested people were and how much they felt they had learned by the end – I had lovely emails following up to say how much they had enjoyed it so we are very keen to do more. Those first few dates sold out pretty quick so we have just opened up new dates in a new, beautiful North London location – I’d love to see some of you there or send it on to friends who might be interested. Tickets here: http://goodandpropertea.com/products and a review from one of our guests here: http://nicsays.tumblr.com/post/79786489767/tea-ii
As we got to know our new Shoreditch home, we were delighted to be asked to provide a G&P Tea Cocktail Bar for the launch of a new shop on Redchurch Street, Seek no Further. We had the van parked outside serving up Darjeeling Cold Brews, and a G&P cocktail bar inside serving Pear Green TEAzers to London’s fashion press. 300 cocktails in 2 hours was no easy task, but thanks to some cocktail-shaking muscle I recruited for the night, they seemed to be going down a treat.
TEA TRAVELS: SALT LAKE CITY & ON TO INDIA
Finally, we have been on our first official business trip since we launched AND have another coming up! First up, I flew all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah, to spend 10 hours tasting teas and crafting recipes on some very exciting new tea-brewing equipment some guys there have been working on. Yes I know, I’m officially a tea geek, but it really was amazing and would look very nice in a Good & Proper Tea shop don’t you think? ; )
Next stop and my last piece of news for you – I leave TOMORROW for India! We are heading up into the hills, right into tea country, to visit the beautiful estates from where we source our Darjeeling and Assam. I cannot wait to try the teas right where they are grown and most importantly meet the team who make it all happen. So my next update will be photos and news from there…
OTHER BITS & BOBS
The beautifully curated Taste Magazine featured us here: http://taste.icodesign.com/article/kickstart-your-food-truck
Velo-City-Girl came to see us at tokyobike and took some beautiful pics here: http://velo-city-girl.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/bicycles-and-brews-good-proper-tea-at.html
The hungry-making Delicious magazine featured us on their ‘Living the Dream’ page below:
The lovely sofa.com, for whom we made a bespoke G&P blend, came to visit and featured us on their Inspiration Corner: http://www.sofa.com/inspiration-corner/interviews/at-home-with-good-proper-teas-emilie-holmes
We got a weeny mention in last week's Stylist, within a big article on the greatness that is tea.
Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break (likely a distant memory now). It was great to see that so many of you chose to give tea to friends & family so I hope it went down well and that the year is off to a cracking start. Unfortunately ours began on a tow-truck, but after various mechanics poked around a bit in the engine, Watson is again fighting fit and ready to get going with 2014. We have lots of exciting plans for the year which we will tell you all about in due course.
For now I wanted to share with you the launch of our new 'Tea-Time Mondays' that kick off next week. You may remember that last year we offered to bring G&P to your offices to celebrate National Hot Tea Month? Well, despite still making me laugh that such a thing exists, it's that time again so naturally we want to join in..
So if any of you would like to have either the van or the Brew Bar come to your office to brighten up a wintery Monday then get in touch for details at firstname.lastname@example.org And do pass on to any others who might also be interested..
More soon on the rest.
Exciting news - G&P has been nominated for Best Startup in Tech City News Elevator Pitch Awards! Voting ends tonight so this is a slightly last minute request for you, my backers, to vote for G&P! One of the awards is People's Choice so we need your help to ramp up support and be in with the chance of winning...and the competition is tough so every vote will help. The results will be announced at the Awards Evening on Monday 25th November, which as it happens is also the date that marks 1 year since you all got me to my target!
Thank you so much for your ongoing support - what better way to celebrate our 1 year anniversary than winning an award!