TWO teenagers have launched their own company selling a little-known brand of tea.
Best friends Rosanna Bucknill, 15, and Alice Deryshire, 14, each drink up to five cups of tea a day and it was this that inspired their business venture.
They founded Ecoteaco after discovering lemon verveine, a sweet-tasting herbal tea while on holiday in France three years ago.
Rosanna, from Northfield, said: “It’s a distinctive citrus fusion, which creates a calming and refreshing aroma.
“We really liked it so we bought loads back with us. We couldn’t find it in the local supermarkets so we thought there was a gap in the market. We found a supplier in Marrakesh and then we designed the bags and paid for all the printing in time to do lots of fairs over Christmas.”
Alice, 14, from Berrick Salome, said they carried out market research at Headington School in Oxford, where they are both pupils.
“Our French teachers knew about the tea and told us that they loved it but couldn’t get it in the UK, so we have had a lot of repeat customers — and no, we haven’t been bribing them.”
The tea was traditionally used for its supposed health benefits, including calming indigestion, bringing down colds and fevers and soothing aching limbs. It has been used for thousands of years.
The girls, who have so far earned about £1,000 in sales, have their tea stocked at shops in Ewelme and Britwell Salome as well as on the Isle of Wight, where Rosanna’s family have a house.
“I went into a shop and pitched it to them,” said Rosanna, who lives with mother Amanda, an artist, father Steve, a solicitor at Coopers in Henley, and brother Ben, 13, who attends the Oratory School in Woodcote.
She said they believed the tea had been popular with health-conscious people.
“Later this year we hope to bring out a new flavour of lime blossom,” she added.
Alice, who lives with mother Sally and father Roger, a forensic scientist, said: “It is very much an entrepreneurial thing. In future we can put on our CV that we started a business.”
The natural tea is sold in 40g environmentally friendly homemade packets for £3.50 each. To place an order, email D00017@headington.org or call 01865 891280.