Teasy does it - the business brewing nicely for two Newcastle graduates

PUBLISHED: 16:17 16 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:55 20 February 2013

Jules Quinn and one of the teas in her range

Jules Quinn and one of the teas in her range

A pair of young entrepreneurs are brewing very nicely - and proving there is hope for the so-called 'lost generation'

We Brits love our tea whether its to soothe us after a hard day, to reward ourselves after a job well done, or just to relax. We drink more tea than any other country using something like 2.3kgs of tea each a year. Its part of our national identity, along with the stiff upper lip and the desire to queue.

So its a wise woman who taps into one of our national obsessions. And 23-year-old entrepreneurs Katherine Sheinman and Jules Quinn have done just that.

The pair both graduated last year and are succeeding in spite of the gloomy statistics that show unemployment among 16-24-year-olds has topped 1m for the first time since records began, prompting fears of a lost generation whose working lives could be permanently blighted.

Jules, who completed a four year fashion degree at Northumbria University, launched The TeaShed from her parents home in Stocksfield but is planning to move into premises at the Northern Design Centre on Gateshead Quayside soon.

She decided against a career in fashion and now sells cups, saucers, tea towels and cushions as well as a variety of teas online and through stockists across the North East and further afield. But although her career is brewing nicely, she only came to tea recently. I hated it, she admits. I was a coffee drinker and I thought tea was just so weak. But now Im a convert. It is refreshing and much healthier than coffee.

Katherines caf, Teasy Does It, on Heaton Park Road, Heaton in Newcastle, is flourishing by being a one-stop-shop for all things local and wholesome, with a variety of loose-leaf teas from Heaton tea-makers, Quilliam Brothers, green tea, afternoon tea, Earl Grey and more, as well as coffee and food made from locally sourced, ethically produced ingredients.

Katherine came to Newcastle to study geography and graduated from Newcastle University last year. She had intended to work with refugees but a trip to Scotland sent her in a whole new direction.

I saw this caf in Glasgow and thought thats it. So I set about making things happen, she said.

Katherine had help from the universitys Enterprise Service, but still found her relative youthfulness a problem when negotiating with banks and the like. However, shes now open for business, having done a lot of the refurbishment of the property herself, and the caf now employs three people.

I believe that as a food business owner it is my job to ensure that no-one is being hurt in the making of your sandwich, and also that the environment is being damaged as little as possible. So Im serving local food to support our region, seasonal products to keep a low carbon footprint, and lots of fair trade.

The caf is also designed to part of the local community, open every evening for gigs, talks, meetings and art exhibitions with music by local performers and even a cake making competition.

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