I guess I should start at the beginning of my entrepreneurial path. It’s a question that I am often asked. How did you start MayKing Tea (MayKing Tea, MayKing Mistakes, can you see a pattern forming? 🙂
MayKing Tea was the first business I started and I have my dear friend, Steve (whom we’ll call Steve because that’s his name 🙂 ) to thank. Y’see both of us were in the throes of our IT careers when he asked me to go into business with him. He was thinking a coffee house in London with an emphasis on art, poetry and films. My immediate thoughts were ‘what do I know about business? I have been a corporate career girl all my life. I have a degree! I didn’t leave school at 15 like most entrepreneurs I have read about’. My friend was extremely supportive though. He said that with my training experience, my outgoing personaliTEA (did I mention I love tea puns?) I would be great front of house whilst he dealt with the back of house stuff. We did some research. I read a lot of business books and realised, that there are lots of successful entrepreneurs who didn’t quit school to start their journey. In fact there are many entrepreneurs who became successful after 40!
Back to my research and I reluctantly went into a coffee chain to check out the competition. I say reluctantly, because I’m not a fan of big chains, preferring instead to shop local where possible. I had to call my partner at the time to find out from him what coffee I ought to drink! When I looked at the tea menu, all they had were tea bagged tea and herbal infusions, and that was when I had my eureka moment. It wasn’t a coffee house I was interested in but a tea house!
My friend loved the tea-house idea, and we refined our research. As time went on, however, we realised that our visions for the tea-house were quite different and so we went our separate ways, but we are still friends. So that was, my first lesson I learned in business. You can’t go into a business if you’re not passionate about the product or service (in my case, coffee). If you go into a business purely to make money, many authors will tell you that the business is probably doomed to fail. I have a passion for tea. I have been drinking the beverage since I was six years old so with my passion for tea in mind, and having done my research, I decided to start on my entrepreneurial path.