5 Big Questions: KRISI SMITH


How do you build a multi-million pound business out of colourful tea?

When does a leader learn to let go?

And do your values change as the business gets bigger?


In this week’s 5 Big Questions interview we talk to the multi-award winning entrepreneur, KRISI SMITH


Known for:

  • Co-founder & Creative Director – Bird & Blend Tea Co.
  • Author – World Atlas of Tea: From the leaf to the cup, the world’s teas explored and enjoyed

The 5 Big Questions:

    1. How do you measure the impact of what you do?
    2. How should people/businesses be preparing for the future?
    3. How do we build the workforce we need for that future?
    4. How do you use creativity to solve problems?
    5. How do you collaborate?

Key quotes:

“Our original mission statement wasn’t anything about tea, it was to prove you could build a successful business based on people as well as profits.”

“Can we build a business where people are happy on both sides of our counter?”

“I know the world out there is mad but to grow a business like this, to be in business generally, you have to have a level of resilience and you have to be a little bit excited by dealing with this constant change and growth and learning.”

“Our retail side doesn’t make us a lot of profit on our P&L but it’s always been a part of our journey because that’s where the human connections are happening, that’s where you smell the tea, that’s where the brand comes to life.”

“Although the high street may be changing, the human desire to find spaces to hang out with other humans is not going anywhere. If brands like us can continue to provide spaces where you get humans talking, we actually become even more attractive in ‘retail 2.0’ or whatever you want to call it.”

“It’s usually those people who don’t know what they’re doing, don’t know if uni is right for them, who jump in and absorb everything like a sponge.”

“This is the hardest environment we’ve ever been in, to find recruits. We’re a tea company, maybe people don’t think it’s an exciting place to be bringing their tech skills. So we definitely are experiencing struggles with getting the visibility out there to the people.”

Useful links:

This episode was recorded in February 2022

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts


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