We sat down with Becci Fowler, Founder of The Tea Collective, a beautiful eco-conscious tea merchant based in Newcastle, Australia. In our chat we learn all about the timeless tradition of tea and the story behind the brands signature blends!

 

Tell us a bit about the story behind your brand, your inspiration, the meaning behind your practice, your brand mission.

I founded The Tea Collective in 2014, starting with a beautiful little bricks and mortar teahouse in the coastal town of Newcastle. I spent years working in high-end hospitality around the world, sourcing quality products for clients and collaborating with world-class chefs to bring unique flavour profiles and ideas to life. Returning home to Australia, it seemed a natural evolution to open my own boutique space, where I created more than 120 hand-blended teas. Within six months of opening, The Tea Collective was named Best Tea Menu in Australia and Best Tea House in NSW. I love creating products & spaces that make people feel special, calm and spoiled.

 

What sets your brand apart from other tea brands?

We blend the timeless tradition of tea with a touch of innovation. With creative signature blends such Mon Coeur - a smooth Sri Lankan Orange Pekoe with apricot pieces and vanilla bean or our beautiful organic herbal collection - carefully crafted for health and wellbeing, we have something for everyone.  We source the highest quality teas and ingredients from all over the world. We hand-craft and package all our blends right here in Australia. This ensures utmost attention to detail and quality assurance.

 

What is your favourite tea and why?

My personal favourite is our English Breakfast. I believe English Breakfast is the staple of most tea companies and is the tea I start every morning with. There are so many different types, every tea company has their own take on it. Ours is a blend of a strong Indian Assam and balanced with a smooth Sri Lankan Kenilworth black tea.

 

What were the first steps you took to launch? And what would you say was the scariest part/your biggest fear?

Creating all the blends and collections was my first step and ensuring a balance to make sure I had something for every palette. It was a creative time and I loved it! I still love that side of it. There’s a lot of scary parts but I guess initially it was creating what people perceived to be a cafe that didn't serve coffee. I needed to get my message across about taking time for yourself and committing to the ceremony of tea. However, that looks in our very busy lives.

 

What do your customers love about your brand/product?

We are a luxury tea brand. We are detail oriented in everything we do, and we create products that remind people to take that time for themselves. Our products make unique and elegant gifts and can also be part of people's everyday rituals. We pay serious attention to the details and don't cut corners. The packaging is high end and unique with glossy black apothecary jars, soft vintage stock and gold foiling highlights. 

 

What path led you to Life in Style and what is it about the show that makes it a great fit for you?

LIS is without a doubt the leaders for high quality, boutique brands in gifting and design. It is a great fit for us as we originally thought that I was going into high-end restaurants and cafes and supporting hospitality in the service of tea. But I quickly found that our biggest market was gifting and selling directly into people’s homes. Plus, LIS style is so much fun! I have the best time meeting all the buyers, other amazing boutique brands and dealing with the lovely LIS staff.

 

Can you share one of your proudest moments in business so far?

Oh, I’ve had a few but winning Best Tea Menu in Australia at the International Tea Awards was amazing and being flown to China to represent Australian tea brands. I’ve had some incredible collaborations with amazing people. Recently though, it's been the new branding rollout. I believe it really reflects our company’s growth and vision and who we are as a luxury tea brand.

 

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given?

Best advice I've been given is to stay positive, be prepared for flexibility in the ups and downs, while also staying true to your brand. Always trust your intuition and have fun.

 

Who is your dream stockist?

Bed Threads. I adore their beautiful products and the incredible images they create. You can really picture yourself snuggling into their flax linen bedding with a luxury Tea Collective tea, don't you think?  And David Jones. They have such a strong presence in the high-end gifting sector and selling Australian Made products. I love the way they tie all the brands together.

Quick Fire Questions.

 

Q. Where do you see The Tea Collective in 5 years’ time?

A.  Overseas, killing it as one of Australian luxury brand exports.

Q. What is your next dream travel destination?

A: Taking my little girl, Coco, to France via Sri Lanka.

Q. If you we’re not a tea merchant, what would you be?

A. I can't see myself doing anything else. I honestly love my job. But if I had to choose, perhaps a scientist that created cost effective and completely sustainable packaging.

Q. Favourite dinner recipe?

A. Organic eye fillet steak with freshly grated horseradish and a simple green salad.

 

MEET THE TEA COLLECTIVE AT LIFE INSTYLE SYDNEY 2022! 19-22 FEB, ICC SYDNEY.