Harrogate vitamin tea firm triples revenue by exporting

Jade and James Dawson, founders of Harrogate-based TEA+, which makes a range of vitamin-infused teas.
Jade and James Dawson, founders of Harrogate-based TEA+, which makes a range of vitamin-infused teas.

A Harrogate manufacturer of vitamin-infused teas that made a successful appearance on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den is set to triple its revenue to £700,000 this year following expansion into new overseas markets.

TEA+ is run by husband and wife James and Jade Dawson, who appeared on the TV show last year, securing investment from ‘dragon’ Tej Lalvani, chief executive of vitamin manufacturer Vitabiotics.

Despite only launching three years ago, TEA+ has already secured deals with major retailers in the US, Mexico, New Zealand and the UAE and is also in discussions with buyers in Australia, Canada, Iceland and the Netherlands. In the UK, it is stocked by major UK retailers, including Boots, Superdrug and Holland and Barrett.

TEA+ has been supported in its export efforts by International Trade Advisers (ITAs) working as part of Food is GREAT, the cross-departmental campaign between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) to enable UK food and drink producers to export.

ITAs introduced TEA+ to buyers and trade authorities in Mexico and helped it with credit checks on potential buyers.

Its products are now sold in 200 pharmacies in Mexico, accounting for more than £50,000 worth of sales.

Mr Dawson said: “Finding trusted overseas buyers, learning what we can and can’t put on our packaging in each market, and conducting credit checks on customers are just some of the hurdles we‘ve been able to overcome on our export journey with support from DIT.

“Our local ITAs at DIT have helped us in each of these areas, which has made the process of exporting much smoother and more straightforward.”

He added: “If we can make a success of exporting, so can you.”

Mark Robson, head of regions for Yorkshire and the Humber at DIT, said: “Perhaps best known for our love of tea, the UK is also renowned for the quality of our food and drink products.

“TEA+ has successfully capitalised on this with its unique, innovative teas – and by taking advantage of the support available from DIT to get firms exporting.

“Overseas sales of Yorkshire and the Humber food and drink totalled £1.2bn in the year up to March 2019, a 4 per cent rise on the previous 12-month period.

“With exports rising, we’d encourage other Yorkshire businesses to get in touch and see how we can help with everything from attending your first trade show to securing your first international contract.”