Harrogate tea company expands into Dubai

A Harrogate business is capitalising on the new health and well-being trend in the Middle East to launch its range of vitamin-infused tea in Dubai.

Thursday, 12th March 2020, 12:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th March 2020, 12:06 pm
Jade and James Dawson, founders of Harrogate-based TEA PLUS.

TEA PLUS, which was launched by James Dawson with the help of a £25,000 Start Up Loan in 2016, is expanding to the Middle East following an increase in online orders from the region.

The company’s healthy teas are stocked in more than 2,000 UK stores, including Holland & Barrett, Boots, SuperDrug and Sainsbury’s. Now, they will also be stocked in 400 pharmacies, 300 health stores and other outlets in Dubai, where the company will open an office.

Mr Dawson said: “Despite having no background in the food industry, witnessing a huge shift in trends and attitudes during my time in Dubai made me realise there was a gap in the market for a disruptive tea brand both in the Middle East and back home in the UK.

“I took a huge risk leaving a successful career and had faith in my idea, but never thought TEA PLUS would expand globally at such a rapid rate. The loan and support that I received from Start Up Loans made a huge difference to my business – I really wouldn’t be here without it.”

TEA PLUS has received funding from other sources too. In 2018, Dragon’s Den star Tej Lalvani, owner of the Vitabiotics group, invested £75,000 in return for 50 per cent of the business.

The Start Up Loans programme provides fixed-interest loans of between £500 and £25,000 to UK business owners who might be struggling to access other forms of finance.

Since 2012, the programme has lent more than £563m through 69,555 loans, of which over £50m went to business-owners from Yorkshire and the Humber.

Richard Bearman, managing director of Start Up Loans, said: “It’s fantastic to have helped James follow his passion and set up such a successful business.

“UK small businesses are vital to the health of our economy and it’s our mission to help as many people as possible from across the UK who need financial support to get their business of the ground.”

In addition to finance, Start Up Loan applicants receive support from an experienced business adviser to help them prepare a business plan and cashflow report. Successful applicants are also offered 12 months of free mentoring to guide them through the early stages of their business journey.