Jules Quinn set up The *TeaShed, a design-led tea, teaware and homeware company based at the Northern Design Centre in Gateshead, after completing her fashion marketing degree at Northumbria University in 2011.
*Teashed products are already stocked in John Lewis, Moonpig and the V&A shop but on April 20, Jules, 24, will open her first in-store concession in the Newcastle branch of Fenwick.
Jules, who was named Young Businessperson Of The Year at the 2012 North East Business Executive of the Year awards developed the *Teashed concept with the help of Northumbria University’s Graduate Enterprise Scheme.
Through the scheme Jules established links with Stephen Slater, a director at RMT Accountatns & Business Advisors who now acts as an advisor to the company.
Stephen said: “The quality of what Jules wanted to do stood out from our very first meeting – she’d already envisioned what her products were going to look like on the shelves of the retailers that she wanted to sell them, and she thrived on the ideas and advice we were able to give to her.
“Jules’ original use of design is the key to the company’s success, and her drive and ambition set a fantastic example for the next generation of young north east entrepreneurs to follow.
“The regional business community has a duty to encourage and support talented young business people like Jules, especially in an economic climate where it’s tough for even ambitious people with great ideas to get things going, and Northumbria University should be applauded for everything they do to help their graduates take those crucial first few steps into business.”
Jules now has ambitions to make her company the UK’s leading speciality tea company within five years as well as launching a series of TeaShed pop-up stores.
She said: “I always knew I wanted to run my own business but although you work for yourself, you never really work by yourself.
“The *TeaShed is surrounded by so many supportive businesses and people, who have been key in getting us where we are today.
“We’ve grown very quickly taking on staff and outsourcing other aspects of the business such as accountancy.
“I think one of the best things any business can do is take on an accountant, and with RMT, we’ve had tremendous support right from the start – they make invaluable help and advice available on tap, and have been key in helping us pull our Fenwick proposal together.
“Northumbria University have also been a huge contributing factor, both from the quality of education they gave me and the support that helped me get the business going, and having all these people and organisations that really care about the business from such an early stage has made a huge difference.
“Taking The *TeaShed into Fenwick is an important landmark as they were our first ever stockist, and we will in fact be celebrating our second birthday there on the 16th May.
“ It is fantastic that we have stayed listed with such a reputable retailer for all this time and that now we are taking things further with our first ever pop up, serving teas, cakes and afternoon teas.
“Fenwick have put a great deal of effort into supporting us and this pop up will celebrate the importance of local support.”