5 minutes with teapigs: getting the nation drinking real tea again
teapigs was started in November 2006 with one mission – to get the nation drinking real tea again.
Since these early days, they’ve now spread throughout 35 countries, racking up over 114 Great Taste Awards along the way. teapigs is also dedicated to environmentally friendly principles: their teabags are plastic-free and all of their teas are packaged in compostable Natureflex packaging.
Beyond their daily tea operations, the team has a significant philanthropic commitment, investing money to help give young orphaned children in Rwanda the opportunity to get a university education (so far they’ve sponsored 28 young people in this way!)
We spoke to a couple of resident teapiggers following the company’s recent selection as one of the Best Companies To Escape To in 2019.
Hello! Who are you and what do you do at teapigs?
Andy: “My name is Andy and I’ve been at teapigs for just over three years now. I started off in the Out of Home team, but I’ve since become the Events, Training and Trade Marketing Manager.
I oversee any events and exhibitions we attend, run all our tea schools and blending workshops, and make sure all of our trade marketing and comms are on point.
I can also remember a large tea round for the office without having to write it down!”
Reece: “…and I’m Reece and I’ve spent the past five years at teapigs (plenty more to come, too!). I’m the E-commerce Channel Manager, so I look after our direct e-commerce channel as well as taking care of our products on Amazon.”
What inspired you to join teapigs; what did you used to do?
Reece: “The product inspired me; I can only sell a product I believe in. I used to sell material-testing equipment. Ever seen ‘Pursuit of Happyness’? Remember Chris Gardner lugging an X-ray machine around, failing to sell it at every attempt? Imagine that, but with a far bigger, far more boring machine!”
Andy: “I actually used to work as a primary school teacher for many years, but after a career break I took a gamble on following another passion by moving to London (from oop North) to pursue acting professionally. I lasted 6 years, which I’m really proud of!
After this, I was looking for a role in a company which offered me some routine and obvious career progression, while also allowing me to be creative and pick up challenges and tasks that I could make my own. I found all this and more in teapigs!”
Is the job how you thought it would be before your started?
Andy: “I had no idea the company would be so flexible – not only in supporting me in a role I hadn’t done before – but also in investing in me and making use of skills I had learned in previous jobs. Their adaptability has created a role in which I couldn’t be happier!”
Reece: “Things have changed a lot over the years, my responsibilities are completely different now to when I first started. I joined teapigs as a Customer Service Assistant and I remember it being a bit of an awakening; “so, work doesn’t have to be a horrible grind?”. Since starting, I’ve been given every opportunity I’ve put myself forward for, and been supported every step of the way. I couldn’t ask for more.”
What does teapigs do differently from conventional companies?
Reece: “teapigs genuinely puts its people first.”
Andy: “I feel valued every day. That’s an incredible incentive.”
What’s the best job perk?
Andy: “Three lunchtime fitness classes a week. I live a million miles away from the office (well, an hour and a half) so this breaks up the day, builds team camaraderie and gets you focussed all in one go!”
Reece: “No dress code; we spend our time at work being ourselves. Leave the uniforms at school.”
… and what do you enjoy most about your job?
Reece: “Every single day is different. Yeah there are projects that span months, but within them there are challenges and experiences that I’ve never faced before. I learn something new every day.”
Andy: “My role covers so many responsibilities that I would never get bored; no two days are the same. Also, out of all the products I could be working with, tea has to be one of the nicest and least offensive items you could be trying to sell.”
What’s it like working in the Tea industry?
Andy: “It’s fascinating. Part of my role is to look at tea trends and how things are changing within the business, not only from a consumer point of view but how this then has a knock on effect to the trade side of things. Coffee had a bit of a revolution 10-15 years ago and tea is now following suit, so it’s an exciting time to see where things go and be a part of something which is innovating.”
Reece: “I don’t really pay much mind to the wider industry, at least not on a daily basis. I focus on our product, our website and how we can be the best we can be. What I can say is that, at least in our small corner, there’s plenty of fun to be had!”
What personal qualities/characteristics are important to have for your job?
Reece: “Be approachable; be original; do quality work; do the right thing.”
Andy: “The ability to build relationships is essential, as well as a big smile. Don’t do things by half.”
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Andy: “Just go for it. An oops is always better than a what if.”
Reece: ““Enjoyment is as important as pay. Don’t go to work miserable every day for the sake of money.” – my old man.”
In 5 words, why should people make a career change?
Andy: “Don’t just settle for “ok”.”
Reece: “Because you’re reading this now.”