On the up · 13 June 2016

Zigzag teas: The tea brand stocking London’s new naked restaurant

ZigZag Teas_1
Lucy Dolan was inspired by her own experiences of the ancient Chinese Gong Fu tea ceremony and the journey of tea across the world

Starting out in East London, and aiming to become a global tea brand, Zigzag teas founder Lucy Dolan reveals her proudest achievements and business heroes. Now a stockist at one of London’s most talked about restaurants – the city’s first naked dining experience, Bunyadi – Dolan’s offering is fast becoming the cup of choice.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

I’m Lucy Dolan aged 26 from London and my business is called Zigzag teas. Zigzag teas harnesses ancient traditions and global variations of tea preparation before adding our own modern twist: modern infusions. ancient elements.

(2) How long have you been around for?

My tea brand has been in operation since November 2014.

(3) How do you make money?

We trade regularly at various markets across London: One New Change at St. Paul’s, Druid St market in Bermondsey and Chatsworth Rd market in Hackney on Sundays. We also supply our pure teas and house blends wholesale to local independent businesses looking to offer their customers something of high quality, different and created by a local business.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

Our one-of-a-kind tastes come from using a combination of single-estate loose leaf tea and natural ingredients blended locally by-hand. We harness global tea variations and are the best tea brand you’ve ever had.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

We were accepted onto The Prince’s Trust’s Enterprise Scheme which has given us regular workshops and talks from experts in business as well as a mentor for two years.  Through this scheme we have recently been given membership to an incubator in central London through Bathtub 2 Boardroom, which also offers mentor support and helpful events and talks. I think overall, though a clear vision of who you are and what you aim to achieve might sound obvious it is essential once competitors start to arise and the market gets more crowded.

ZigZag Teas_Lucy Dolan Founder_1
Lucy Dolan has made some impressive inroads in a short space of time

(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

I think this would have to be creating a bespoke blend for Partridges deli on the King’s Road in Chelsea.

(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?

We couldn’t find a designer that got our concept to begin with. Also, starting out solo can be tough!

(8) In five years’ time, I will be…

A global tea brand that started out in East London with an aim to unite others over a cup of the best.

(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?

It will sound simple, but just keep going.

(10) Who are your business heroes and why?

My father, he has been an entrepreneur his whole life.  Growing up in East London and working in Billingsgate fish market, to owning a car dealership on Bow Road to becoming a property developer – he’s done it all. His straight talking and down to earth nature is something I try to inherit.  My mother also, she worked in the City of London for over 45 years and worked her way right to the very top.  Finally, Steve Jobs, he had a vision and a goal of bringing people together and making technology accessible – he definitely changed the world and he didn’t have an easy ride either.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.

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