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Be inspired every day with Living North
Marc & Owen of Batch Tea
June 2021
Reading time 5 minutes
The producers of Sheffield's sustainable, artisan tea company.

Who are you, what is your business and when did you start it?
We’re Marc & Owen of Batch Tea Company – a tea company who want to do tea differently. We started in late 2019 with the goal of encouraging more people to drink quality, sustainably sourced teas by making tea fun, accessible and affordable, and we try to keep that at the forefront in everything we do.

Why did you start out in business?
We started the company because, speaking to people about tea, you don’t find there’s the enthusiasm about it that you get from coffee, gin, food or other products that have seen a big move towards the artisan end of the spectrum. Yet tea is so versatile. There’s so much variety – over 20,000 types of tea and counting by one estimation! And there’s so much history, culture and passion that goes into cultivating and processing tea that we think it’s really worth shouting about.

What are you most proud of?
We’d have to say it’s not so much a single thing but more widely that we’re proud of the quality of what we offer to people and the response that we get. Of course our first Great Taste Award for Batch Breakfast sticks out as a real high too. And our chai – Kama Sutra Sticky Chai – which people just can’t speak highly enough of. When you put so much care into creating something and people really respond to it then it’s very heartwarming.

Tell us about the release of your new book and what inspired the idea behind it.
We’re all about collaborations and fun, and our book is really just about that! We love to experiment with tea. We don’t just pour boiling water on it and drink it – we bake with it, cook with it, infuse it into spirits and make great cocktails with it. We even make soap with it! So the book brings these ideas together in one place by bringing in some truly great independent businesses from across the UK (and beyond) to help us deliver some inspirational recipes and ideas for people to make at home. There’s no need for expensive equipment or methods outside the reach of your every-day person. Even though we have such collaborators as Michelin Guide recommended chefs, TV experts and businesses at the top of their game, everything will be accessible to all.

What is your vision for the future?
World domination! Actually, there isn’t really a strict plan as such. We just want to keep doing fun things and growing our business through positive relationships.

What is the best advice you would give others wanting to start their own business?
Try to have fun. It’s not easy all the time as there’s so many stresses to running any kind of business. But if you’re not doing something you love, then it’s a lot harder to put up with the stress. We’ve often looked at other people and businesses and thought, ‘how did they manage to do that?’ Nine times out of ten it’s probably just because they did something about it and spoke to somebody who could help. And that’s it. If you ask somebody to help or to collaborate on something the worst that can happen is they can say no. Or they could say yes and open up a whole world of possibility for you.

What is your favourite quote?
MARC: “Keep on dreamin’ boy cos when you stop dreamin’ it’s time to die” It’s a lyric from a song called Change by Blind Melon and it’s always kept me dreaming – a little too much, you might say!
OWEN: “Not all those who wander are lost” from a poem by JRR Tolkien. I’m a traveller at heart and those words help to keep me grounded when I don’t know where I’m going. It’s all about the journey and not the destination after all.

What is your favourite book (business or otherwise)?
I’d have to say The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I’ve read it about 8 times and it gets me every time. Such a painful book to read but it’s so powerful in a way that no other book has ever grabbed me.
OWEN: Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon or anything by Tolkien. Books about adventure and overcoming the odds always get me back on track when I need a bit of a boost.

How do you enjoy time off from business?
MARC: We’re so lucky to live by the Peak District so I love getting out into the open space. But there isn’t really such thing as time off from business when you’re a small business owner!
OWEN: Spending time with family or getting into a good book or film is often the go to. And as Marc says, getting out into the wilderness is always a firm favourite too.

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