Time for Tea - Carly's Afternoon Teas
The summer is finally here! Out with the umbrellas, jumpers and jeans; hello floaty dresses, fancy hats and....afternoon tea?
As a proud nation of tea drinkers, we love nothing more than to put the kettle on and have a chat over a cuppa and a bit of cake. It's no wonder that the custom of afternoon tea is as much a part of the British heritage as a stiff upper lip.
There is something very special and nostalgic about the notion of this noble pastime. We are instantly transported back to an era where manners were everything, the conversations were eloquent and the service was faultless.
But did you know you can have this service personally delivered to you? Tea, scones and vintage cake stands included? Yeah neither did we! Well that's exactly what Carly of Carly's Afternoon Teas have started catering for.
We had to find out more! From one specialised mobile service to another, we are always inspired by new ideas and the people behind them. Starting a business is never easy and it means taking the road less travelled for those that are brave enough.
So what inspired Carly?
We've heard of afternoon tea but not a specialised mobile service; what inspired you to start this?
Carly: I had never heard of an afternoon tea delivery service but my sister-in-law had a baby last summer and I wanted to treat her to a nice lunch without her having to leave the house. After doing some research I realised that there was nothing like this locally. It was then that I came up with the concept.
Is this your first business venture? If not, what else have you tried?
Carly: This is my first business venture. My background is working in Child Protection for Social Services so it is nice to do something completely different.
What kind of occasions can one expect to order afternoon tea for?
Carly: Our most popular function that we cater for is baby showers, which is lovely as it is such an exciting time for people. Our Afternoon Teas can be enjoyed at any occasion however, such as engagement parties, hen parties, birthdays, working lunches, or simply as a nice treat one lunchtime!
What were the biggest obstacles you faced as you started to build your business?
Carly: The biggest obstacle that I faced whilst building the business was self-doubt. When the phone hadn't rung after a few weeks I became worried that it might not be a success. However when the enquiries did start it then really snowballed. The increased bookings and positive feedback boosted my confidence which pushed me to do even more promoting, something which is key to building any business.
What are the key factors that have allowed you to expand?
Carly: The key factor that has allowed us to grow is definitely social media. It has given us the ability to target certain geographical areas and having a presence on Facebook and Instagram definitely keeps our customers engaged which is very important.
What is the best piece of advice you could give to anyone thinking of starting a business?
Carly: Always try something, even if you think it may not work. When we first launched I sent out some promotional emails to local businesses, informing them of our service. One of these emails went to Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex and we are now in our second year of catering for their vineyard tours. Last year we supplied nearly 500 afternoon teas to them and this year we are set to supply even more. This is an example of how one email can bring in such good business leads.
What kind of growth can we expect to see from Carly's Afternoon Teas in the next 12 months?
When we launched just over a year ago we never thought we would be as successful as we are already but we are very mindful not to get complacent as success requires constant hard work. We are looking to franchise out into parts of London, Kent, Hampshire and Surrey due to the amount of enquiries we get from these areas so watch this space..
Carly's Afternoon Teas are available for delivery seven days a week.
+44 (0) 7444 554 739