Business Technology

54-year-old British woman's vintage tea shop memorial to become online store

5 min read

14 January 2015

Former deputy editor

After her nephew died in Afghanistan, 54-year-old Nancy Clack left her “unfulfilling job” as a school business manager and set out to follow her dream of opening a classic-feeling tea shop – a project that will now be taken online.

On 12 January we reported the top five reasons that Brits launch their own businesses, and chief among them was wanting to work independently without ties.

But for Nancy Clack, she had a dream of owning a vintage tea shop and it was the death of her nephew Daniel in 2011 that spurred her on to open Nancy’s Vintage Teashop, which was achieved within two years.

Clack considers the location an ongoing tribute to Daniel, while a portion of proceeds from her Blight-tea is donated to Help For Heroes. The entire family was involved in getting the business up and running, supporting fittings, soft furnishing and also social media. 

She said: “Whilst grieving for Daniel I was struck by how short life is and how important it is to seize every opportunity. I realised that Daniel would have wanted me to have to follow my dream and that any insecurities about my age should not stand in my way.

“Turning 50 made me feel I had not achieved what I wanted to do through working for other companies and schools. I needed some enrichment in my life and have always wanted to run my own teashop and serve good English food and tea. I handed in my notice at the school a month after Daniel passed and took a year out from work to construct a solid business plan for Nancy’s Vintage Teashop.”

The “old world charm” of the venue is achieved with 14 original blends of tea, while all of the pastries are made by hand. As Clack put it: “Everything we serve is made at the shop and you won’t find a microwave in our kitchen.”

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More than 20,000 pots of tea were sold in the first year of business alone at the Newmarket venue, and the former school business manager now plans to take her classic venture digital to sell to customers across the UK and overseas as the business turns 18 months.

Speaking to Real Business, Clack explained: “During the past year it has become apparent that loose tea sells, especially our uniquely blended teas. We started to sell our tea over the counter about two months after opening as it grew so popular so quickly that customers wanted to purchase Nancy’s to enjoy at home as well as in the shop.

“We had a brilliant Christmas this year and our general day-to-day sales of the loose teas seem to be on the increase, hence we are now looking at selling the teas via the website.  This is all in the early stages but we are also looking at selling our aprons as well.  

“We have a strong American following due to our local military base. They love to send the tea back home and also when they go back home themselves after their deployment they like take tea with them. It’s been a nice connection to due to the inspiration behind opening the shop in the first place.

“Opening my teashop has made me feel proud, that I have achieved something in my life and shown that women over 50 can start their own business from scratch.”

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