A North East female entrepreneur has taken her love for a cup of tea to new levels by developing her own brand of specially blended tea products designed for pregnant and breastfeeding mums, thanks to help from North Tyneside Business Factory.
Fiona Ng (30) from Wallsend launched Happy Me Tea just weeks after welcoming her second child in the summer of 2017. The Happy Me Tea five specialist loose leaf tea blends range from three wellness teas to two specific blends designed to support mums in the often tiring and hazy stages of later pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Happy Me tea founder, Fiona, comments: “I am a real tea aficionado and am known as the ‘tea queen’ by friends and family thanks to my collection of over 60 different loose leaf teas that I like to blend and create distinctive cups of tea for my own enjoyment.
“When I was pregnant with my first child I was looking for a raspberry leaf tea to help in the latter stages of pregnancy but was surprised to find a distinct lack of raspberry leaf loose leaf teas on the market. After being turned onto to the benefits of loose leaf teas over the bag variety by my husband some years ago due to his Chinese heritage, I felt there was a real gap in the market for good quality tea blends which can offer benefits to new mothers thanks to the inclusion of particularly beneficial ingredients.”
Fiona set about contacting international suppliers to gather samples of loose leaf teas, blending them herself until she came up with the five final blends sold via the Happy Me Tea website and online platforms such as Amazon and Ebay.
Fiona continues: “The Happy Me Tea brand really developed from the blends I created. The three wellness teas are focused around the different stages of the day with lemongrass and ginger for the morning to aid in digestion and a spearmint variety for the evening. I also offer a more energy boosting blend for mid-afternoon containing spirulina with a higher caffeine content whereas the two blends for pregnancy and breastfeeding are decaffeinated.
“The pregnancy tea is the raspberry leaf and the breastfeeding tea is actually a spiced blend designed to help improve breast milk supply with ingredients such as fennel and aniseed.
“I have growth plans in place for the business with the more immediate aim to continue trading as an online business, develop relationships with retail partners and appear at local markets to help really build brand awareness. I’m confident that with so few products on the market for this particular type of blended loose leaf tea for pregnant women and new mothers that Happy Me Tea has a particularly bright future ahead.”
Fiona worked with the North Tyneside Business Factory, which is funded by the ERDF and delivered in North Tyneside by TEDCO Business Support. A dedicated business advisor helped guide Fiona through the initial start-up phase with mentoring and one-to-one advice sessions covering every possible area of running a new venture.
Fiona added: “Working with my business advisor, Tracy Clarkson, really helped me not only drill down into the detailed aspects of how to actually launch and run a business but also receive the additional capital I needed to get up and running in developing Happy Me Tea products. The service has been invaluable to me and I couldn’t thank Tracy enough for how she has helped me really develop the business.”
The Business factory is delivered by TEDCO Business Support in North Tyneside and is dedicated to offering assistance to new and growing businesses across all areas of private and social enterprise. Happy Me Tea was also supported to apply for a £3,000 low-cost business loan offered through the Virgin StartUp programme, a Government-backed programme designed to support new ventures.
Tracy Clarkson, business advisor at The Business Factory, comments: “Fiona certainly has her hands full with her business so soon after having a new baby but it hasn’t stopped her in creating and bringing a new brand of tea to the market. I worked closely with Fiona to develop her idea, creating a more detailed business plan and really challenging her on all aspects of the business she might not have immediately considered. Fiona has great skill and natural ability in creating tea blends that have such a distinctive flavour and I’m looking forward to working more with Fiona and Happy Me Tea as the business grows.”