Nick Phillips and Jaclyn Baggott are the couple behind the Suffolk Loose Leaf Tea Company, which recently opened a shop at Stonham Barns Park retail village. Here they explain how the range of flavoured loose-leaf teas are designed to enhance health and wellbeing
Nick Phillips and Jaclyn Baggott were both working in the health care industry when they decided to start a business to selling something they both felt passionate about – tea! The Suffolk Loose Leaf Tea Company idea has been ‘brewing’ for the last two years while owners Nick and Jaclyn were formulating a plan for the launch. Jaclyn explains that she was raised in a Suffolk family where food and drink was taken seriously, and she started her career in catering as a result. ‘My mother was a brilliant homemaker. She cooked beautiful meals and always enjoyed cups of tea to get her through the day. Breakfast tea was a particular tradition in our family, and I think my interest in food and beverages started from an early age.’
After running a catering business – providing food for weddings and occasions – Jaclyn moved into the care sector a career which she combined with as much travel as she could fit in – to destinations all around the world. She spent time in Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, South America, Africa and India before returning to her home county of Suffolk.
Jaclyn and Nick are particularly fond of fruit – from all countries and of all types – and so many of their loose-leaf teas are partnered with fruit flavourings such as one of the businesses new leading teas – Raspberry Leaf Tea. Chilli Flake Tea and Coffee Truffle Tea are other front runners in the portfolio of teas available to buy in a pack or tin. Customers can design their own tea flavours – using two or three different dried fruit infusers with guidance from the couple – or select from the Suffolk Loose-Tea Company flavours available.
Nick explains: ‘It’s all about matching a person with the right tea for them. Some of the teas promote calmness, some give you a wake-up boost and others help with restful sleep. We are learning about the positive effects of the different ingredients and happy to give as much advice as needed to customers.’
The teas – which are being sourced from Asian tea suppliers for authenticity – will be available in the shop and online. Packaging is also being kept to a minimum.
Nick adds: ‘We are absolutely delighted with the new shop at Stonham Barns Park retail village. It is everything we had hoped for and more. People who visit the venue are more than happy to take some time to relax over a cup of tea and do have time to find out more about the wellbeing benefits of tea. The blending is what makes it so special. To individualise your tea is quite a luxury but yet very affordable and there seems to be a real demand for special teas as coffee and tea sales continue to do well in the high streets.’
The business had a ‘soft’ official opening earlier this month with sample teas – and blending demonstrations – being provided to all visitors to the shop.
With ideas to expand the business already, the couple are looking to the future. Nick says: ‘This is our first move into business, and we are hugely excited for the future. You have got to love what you do, and this seems to be something we are passionate about. If we can make this concept work in Suffolk, we will be hoping to roll out some food ideas to complement the tea offering.’
Photo Credits: Keith Suffling/Stonham Barns Park