Nina Chudasama, founder of premier tea brand, Hope & Glory, talks about the business.

Hope & Glory believes the tea you drink should always be top notch. Its organic teas are hand picked from around the globe and selected and blended particularly for the British palate. We catch up with founder, Nina Chudasama, to find out more.

We came up with the idea when... We wanted to own our own business but also make sure we had enough time to spend with our children. Hope & Glory started with an observation that the market was over-saturated with coffee shops. Being a nation of tea drinkers, we felt this strange and therefore made it our mission to reignite the UK’s passion for good quality tea. The UK absolutely love tea but so often we don’t do it justice. We don’t brew it for long enough, the water we use is too hot, we hide the flavour with sugar and milk and as a result, we settle for average tasting drinks. We feel that every tea lover should take the time, once a day to make themselves a cup of the very best tea and so, with that in mind, Hope & Glory was born.

The biggest challenge is... coming to the understanding that we cannot do everything at the same time. We are so passionate about our product and we’re bursting at the seams with ideas but are learning to prioritise and stay focused. Getting our foot in the door of some big department stores, hotels and restaurants in order to introduce them to our wonderful tea brand is our current focus but standing out from the crowd can sometimes feel like a struggle.

The average day starts... with a cup of Hope & Glory tea of course! We live and breathe the brand – we find that the more we drink, the more we learn about tea and tisanes and their complex characteristics. Working with Angela Pryce, expert tea sommelier, has been incredibly eye opening. We both love to learn and so make sure that learning more is a big part of our daily routine. As well as learning, we like to spend our day researching tea plantations, checking in with our suppliers and talking to our customers on social media.

The team consists of... I’m so lucky to be supported by such as fantastic team. Working alongside me is Bharat, my husband, chief tea maker and Commercial Director, Angela Pryse, our expert tea sommelier (with Angela’s expert knowledge we’ve ensured that all our teas have been perfectly blended for the British palate), then there is Philippa and Gemma who take care of our digital strategy including website and social media feeds and lastly, Chris our Tuk-Tuk engineer.

My favourite quote... I have two; the first is from Oscar Wilde “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught”

And the second is from Bharat, my husband “Where there is tea there is hope and where there is cake, there is glory.”

I am where I am today because of... my supportive family and friends – in particular my parents who taught me to work hard and never give up, I remind myself of their words of encouragement on a daily basis. And of course I am where I am today because of the love and support of my husband. Some find working with a partner challenging but personally, I find it a blessing. If I’ve had a stressful day and things are getting on top of me, Bharat will put the kettle on, make me a cup of my favourite Masala Chai and talk through my problems with me until we’ve established a resolve. He helps me to put it all into perspective.

I am who I am because of... my family and my Indian heritage. My family helped to inspire the Hope & Glory range and have supported me every step of the way. Growing up, I remember the smell of Masala Chai coming from the kitchen every morning, especially on Sundays when the tea was brewed longer and stronger. My Mum or Aunty always made it the same way; fresh black tea, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and pepper steeped in a mix of half milk and water and simmered in a pot on the stove. As children, we drank it out of saucers so we wouldn’t burn our mouths, as did my Dad who had to drink his tea quickly before rushing to work. On Sundays he had time to sit and relax and drink his tea from a beautiful cup and saucer, always sweetened to bring out the spices. I still relax when I smell Chai tea and spices brewing, it gives me such a homey feeling. Thinking about presenting my dad with my very own signature blend still brings a tear to my eye. It is a memory I will cherish forever (and I am pleased to say he loves it!).

The best advice I've been given... My Dad brought me up to believe that if you work hard, you can reap your glory. When he was younger that meant a roof over your head, food on the table and a happy, healthy family. I want the best for my family so I find these words of his very motivational.

In five years I’d like to be... the founder and owner of an international tea brand! I would love Hope & Glory tea to be enjoyed in every continent of the world. As well as selling tea to enjoy at home, I’d like to open a collection of international Hope & Glory tea salons – a place for people to go to enjoy top notch tea and a well paired slice of cake.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online... That social media really can make or break you. Without the luxury of an FMCG digital marketing budget, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter really are the very best platforms to get your message out to your target consumers. But standing out in this digital world is hard, there are so many unspoken rules and the standards are high – I’m very lucky to have the support of such a talented social media team. If we have news, our customers are aware of it within minutes. But my advice to others starting out is to read. Read blogs, read books, read news articles – anything regarding social media that you can get your hands on. Read, learn, understand and apply.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us... When starting out, our biggest mistake was working with people who didn’t believe in our brand as much as we did. Parting company with people is never easy but when you own your own business, integrity is everything and going with your gut is paramount.

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date... Nothing pleases me more than seeing the look on our customers’ faces when they taste their first cup of Hope & Glory tea. Their faces light up and all of a sudden you see their love for tea come rushing back. This is hugely rewarding but the standout moment thus far has to be being selected as the exclusive tea sponsor for a major UK sporting event. We can’t yet say who or what or when but be sure to follow us on Twitter to find out soon!

February 2016