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Tea Experience getting the right package

South Yorkshire-based Tea Experience has a mission to bring the pleasure of little-known teas from around the world to a wider audience. Teas from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China, South Africa and Egypt all feature in their repertoire.

As well as their fantastic selection of leaf teas and herbal and caffeine-free alternatives, the company specialises in the gift market, providing beautiful teas alongside tea-related products, such as mugs, teapots, tea tins and caddies.

The Tea Experience was in search of new packaging for their ‘flowering tea blooms’ range of products. The new packs needed to be structurally secure to protect the product as well as having strong visual appeal – and the packaging they were using at the time fell short of what they needed.

Targeting the high end and gift market, the company needed an innovative solution to present the range as a high value option, whilst keeping costs under control. With a range including two styles of glass teapot, the tea blooms and glass tea bowls, the challenge facing the designers was to produce attractive and secure packaging, not only for each individual item, but also for a gift pack containing a teapot, two bowls and a box of six blooms.

As part of the Innovation Futures programme, the Packaging Design studio at Sheffield Hallam’s Design Futures worked up some initial concepts for the Tea Experience, looking at both branding and structural design.

The brief was to provide innovative packaging that could be delivered within the production budget. It was also vital that the final designs allowed for future product development, so flexibility for use beyond the initial ‘flowering tea blooms’ product range was a must.

Following initial feedback, the designs were then developed further until the client was fully satisfied and gave the green light for go!

The Tea Experience were delighted with the results of their collaboration with Design Futures and the new designs have hit the spot and led to commercial success.

Since the introduction of the new packaging, the company has been able to move into new markets, with their products now stocked in cafes, hotels and specialist food shops as far afield as Newcastle and London.

Other exciting new developments include being chosen by an international bank to provide flowering tea blooms for two corporate banquets, supplying a PR firm in the USA with flowering tea bloom gift sets for use by one of their clients as corporate gifts, and helping to promote a book on Tea by Elaine Lemm, a Yorkshire-based food author, restaurateur and columnist with the Yorkshire Post.

And the company’s most recent good news is that they have been invited by a food PR company to link up with their Belgian biscuit client on a joint promotional campaign in regional newspapers up and down the country as well as online.

Ann Davis of the Tea Experience said that working with the Design Futures’ team had been an ‘absolutely enjoyable and productive experience'.

'Design Futures were a real dream to work with. The team listened attentively to our needs and we really felt they were in tune with who we were and what we wanted – but were also prepared to stretch us in our thinking, which was brilliant. They provided workable designs and solutions, worked with us to enhance and refine the detail, and worked with us in a professional and timely way.'

John Kirkby, Creative Director of Design Futures Packaging said he was particularly pleased with the outcome of the project. 'The initial request was focused on structural packaging design but the development of a new brand at the same time means the work we’ve produced should have a major impact in the future.'

Project supported by Innovation Futures.

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