After selling my own tea brands, I joined the Edinburgh Tea & Coffee Company as their Director Of Marketing. My role here was to oversee its rebranding and repositioning.*
As director of marketing, I developed a strategy designed to create a premium heritage brand similar to Mariage Freres, Kusmi, or TWG, whom the new owners aspired this brand to be like.
By selectively interpreting the company's lineage, I added 200 years of history to this 25-year-old brand and created the slogan 'since 1812'.**
*ETCC's website, product, packaging, and social media output are deeply confused. The strategy I created has only ever been selectively implemented. ETCC's current business model and brand in no way reflect the product I aspired to create and should not be considered a representation of my work.
**ETCC was formed after a management buyout of The Melrose Tea Company. The Melrose Tea Company was originally founded in 1812.
While importing artisan tea, I launched an experimental lifestyle brand, The Skinny Tea Company®. This business became the catalyst for a global 'detox tea' trend and defined an entire category of products.
Within six months of launch, The Skinny Tea Co® ranked No1 on Google in key markets worldwide for the keywords: detox tea and skinny tea (ranking higher in the UK than previous No1 brands, Holland & Barrett and Pukka Tea).
In 2016 I sold my company Taste Fresher Teas Limited, to a venture capitalist who assumed ownership of the Skinny Tea IP and brand.
In 2009 I decided to leave my safe career and pursue my dream of becoming a tea importer. I started this journey with £500 of artisan tea which I began selling on eBay.
Within a few years, I grew this simple side hustle into a highly successful and critically acclaimed artisan tea brand.
Personally sourcing teas directly from farmers and small family-owned suppliers in China, India, Taiwan, and Thailand, driftwood tea became the number one ranked ‘online tea shop’ in the UK within its first year.
In 2016 I sold my company Taste Fresher Teas Limited, to a venture capitalist who assumed ownership of the driftwood tea | taste fresher teas® IP and brand.
Having worked with architects including Zaha Hadid and Raphael Vinoli, at the Brunswick Group, I was hired by careyjones to establish an in-house media and communications department. careyjones were a top-five commercial architect with studios in London, Leeds, and New York.
As a practice, careyjones regularly oversaw a billion £ worth of major building works and city centre master planning.
The media and communications department coordinated all press, PR, and internal communications for careyjones' studios and projects worldwide.
While running the international press office at The Gulf Art Fair I was invited by Dubai's premier PR agency - who were running the regional press office - to join their team.
While working as an account director at The Portsmouth Group, I helped to develop and promote many of the world's biggest brands in the Middle Eastern Market.
My clients included Christies, Art Dubai, Rosy Blue Diamonds, Thrifty Car Hire, UPS, and Fujitsu Siemans.
At the end of a two-week internship at the Brunswick Group, some team members said, "see you on Monday", so I continued to turn up. Eventually, I was given a job.
Being invited to join the prestigious Brunswick Arts team allowed me to learn from some of the finest publicists and work with some of the world's most important cultural institutions, including: The British Museum, The Rijksmuseum, The Gulf Art Fair (Art Dubai), Art Basel, La Biennale di Venezia, Christies, The Gem Palace of Jaipur, The London Art Fair, and many others.
As part of Brunswick's Young Executive Program, I worked on projects for other Brunswick teams. Through the YEP, I was asked to compose quotes for Tony Blair, which were then used in The Times, and Pippa Middleton became my intern for a day.
After university I studied at Le Cordon Bleu. Upon graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, my first job was as the Personal Chef to The Dutch Ambassador.
I ran a full professional kitchen at the Ambassador's residence in Kensington, London. My role included planning, coordinating, and delivering all catering for all Ambassadorial functions with dignitaries that included Royalty, politicians, and CEOs.
For major events, I could hire staff from Buckingham Palace. Many of those staff were unimpressed with a very green 24-year-old being in charge. However, I quickly learned to hold my own and run a successful kitchen in what was often a highly stressful environment.
The question I am asked most about this role is, did I ever serve Ferrero Rocher? As a child of the '80s, of course! I wrapped these in filo pastry and deep-fried them to make a chocolate-bomb-type desert. They were always very popular.
The Dilate Music Group was a business that supplied bands to venues I founded while at university.
As a student, I was elected Ents & Marketing Rep for Edinburgh University's Teviot Row House. As Ents Rep, I met a lot of bands and musicians. Recognising an opportunity, I set up the Dilate Music Group to supply bands to venues in Edinburgh. I ran this business from a mailbox on South Bridge.
As Dilate grew, I dropped out of university after 3rd year to focus on the business. I remain the only person I know who left university with an Ordinary Degree rather than Honours.