The world’s largest tea company acquired Melbourne based T2 in September 2013, and today’s opening represents a first step to realising the potential of the highly contemporary tea brand.
The store will surprise and delight consumers with over 200 teas on offer alongside exclusively designed tea wares. Customers can interact with, and immerse themselves in, the world of tea through daily tastings delivered by a passionate team that encourages newcomers to touch, taste and smell these unique products.
Kevin Havelock, Unilever President for Refreshment commented: “We are excited to open our first store in London. By providing the benefits of scale and access to new markets as well as sharing our tea category expertise, we believe today marks the start of a very bright future with T2. We recognise retail is becoming an increasingly important channel for consumers looking for exciting, adventurous new tea experiences, with T2 perfectly complementing our current offering.”
First UK store
The first UK store is located in and features T2’s inimitable black interior, Chinese wallpaper and assorted tea range that includes Strawberries & Cream, Green Rose and new for launch, London Breakfast.
Kevin Havelock added: “Evidence suggests tea drinkers are looking to experiment with new diverse flavours and T2 is a business experiencing double-digit growth that offers this within a highly appealing and sophisticated retail environment that will provide a genuinely new addition to the existing Lipton and Brooke Bond family of teas.”
T2 Founder and Managing Director, Maryanne Shearer said: “We are thrilled to be launching our first international T2 store together with our new colleagues in the Unilever tea business. It’s long been a dream to take T2 to the world’s most avid and sophisticated tea drinkers. We look forward to introducing the T2 brand to UK tea drinkers and entering a new phase of growth for a business we have spent the last 17 years building.”
Under the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever leads the tea industry to adopt sustainable agriculture practices, initiating certification by the Rainforest Alliance (RA) in 2007, training 450,000 smallholder farmers to the RA standard in partnership with Unilever in preparation for certification. Similarly, T2 has been working with Fairtrade since 2009 on their English breakfast tea.
Notes for the editor
T2 was founded in 1996 by Maryanne Shearer. A devoted tea drinker at a time when the coffee scene was booming, Maryanne realised there was a gap in the market for a new retail experience in the tea category. With a background in fashion and interiors, she saw an opportunity to apply her sense of design to tea by doing things a little differently, being directional and always innovative.
The T2 tea generation soon began to grow, and is fast gathering more tea devotees. The current T2 business operates 40 stores and its range of fragrant teas and tea wares from around the world are also sold through some of the best restaurants in the country. T2 generated sales approaching AUS$57 million for the 12-month period ending June 30 2013.