Meet Soliman, the founder and CEO of UK tea company Charbrew. Now in its second year, the brand has gone international, appearing on supermarket shelves as far afield as the US. Soliman looks into his tea leaves to tell us what lies in store for the business.
Sum your business up in a sentence
Charbrew is a quality tea brand offering innovative and unique blends to a curious and adventurous younger market.
What's the business model?
Identifying and catering to a modern palate in a traditional market. High standards and quality ingredients with minimal margin.
Who are your competitors?
Teapigs and Twinings are other experimental brands but we have a different edge in that we use real, whole pieces of fruit to give a distinct fresh-tasting flavour.
What's your USP?
Quality and innovation. We are always coming up with new, untried flavours and use only eco-friendly biodegradable mesh tea pyramids and whole ingredients to produce a rich, full taste and aroma.
How have you funded it so far?
I have put a lot of my own money into the business as well as help from the bank: acquiring an overdraft has helped my business to grow.
Where did the idea come from?
Poor prospects after the recession ignited a drive in me to be self-reliant and resourceful. I had a natural interest in trade and as a keen consumer of tea and coffee, I noticed a gap in the market for something different.
What's the smartest thing you've done so far
Single-handedly securing listings in major national and international retail outlets in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and USA.
What's the stupidest?
Throwing money down the drain with a simple miscalculation of stock.
Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?
A widely available and recognisable supermarket shelf brand, synonymous with quality with an innovative, expansive product offering.