Specialising in tea and teaware, T2 Tea is a retail brand that offers a range of products to tea lovers and others alike. With tea at the heart of everything they do, T2 presents a whole host of various teas, including herbal, fruit, semi-fermented and limited edition, amongst others. Stunning teaware items such as teapots, tea sets and accessories make for stunning gifts.
With an existing nine stores in the UK, T2 Tea revealed its tenth store in November 2015, at New Bond Street, Bath. Developments to the store commenced in August 2015. Ink Associates – a retail focused design and project management consultancy – were responsible for these particular aspects of the project, having worked on all of the other T2 stores beforehand.
In order to discover more information on the tea-themed store, Premier Retail caught up with Charles Harvey, Director at Ink Associates, who revealed:
“Our role at T2 means looking after everything from when the client selects the site – we help them verify the site to ensure that the design fits with that store and carry out a more pragmatic feasibility study on cost and time.
“We then take the concept standard and carry out the first stage design involving space planning, layout planning and visualisation and approve that with the client. Then we run the project through the landlord for stage one approval. Following this we produce a detailed design and fully co-ordinate any mechanical or electrical works and architectural drawings; tender the project, run the contract with the Construction Company and finally, hand over to the client.
“We have undertaken all of the UK T2 Tea stores – we’re doing the rollout management for T2 and the ongoing work for projects in the UK including project exhibitions and pop-up events as well.
“The key element about the T2 Tea stores is the fact that they are centred on the customer experience – specifically with the interaction with the staff – the members of staff are true brand ambassadors, they articulate the essence of T2 and its Australian roots.
“It’s purely instinctive for the staff – the way they meet and greet, and educate the customers on each individual tea, and the level of service they provide – is really quite a unique proposition for most retailers and it is one that really differentiates in the marketplace.”
Central to the store is the tasting bar where customers can taste any of the 300 teas which are part of the core collection. There are also rolling campaigns for tea to link in with the different seasons – this has dramatically changed the concept on tea which is usually classed as a grocery product – whereas in this environment, tea is seen as a fashion and lifestyle product.
The innovative tea library is the main visual iconic feature which houses the standard collection of teas. Accompanying this is an eclectic display of vintage teaware and seasonal collections. The visual merchandising is a key element to the space – allowing for a creative customer experience.
“As with any retailer, the client wanted to be open quickly, therefore my biggest challenge was moving through the process from site acquisition to handing over to the client in the most efficient time, whilst also managing the rollout.
“Due to the fact we’re involved as a long term partner for the brand, we’re building a relationship to support the client project after project, and continually improve the processes and efficiency with them – that is important. So as we build a very strong relationship with the brand, we become an extension of their team rather than being an agency; and that enables us to continually add value through the process.”