English Tea Shop Organic: Competitive Advantage through Sustainable Solutions
The case describes how the English Tea Shop Organic (ETS) brand has created a sustainable ecosystem ensuring the growth of supplier livelihood and the company’s competitiveness in the branded tea space. In 2021, they embarked on their second ten-year plan, which included their transformation into a sustainable, employee-owned business that promoted its brand as purpose – by 2022, 30% of the company was employee owned. The case addresses the challenges ETS faces in building and scaling its brand by attracting the mindful consumer to its organic tea offerings while helping farmers become organic, grow tea more productively, and earn a sustainable living. The case looks at the different options open to them: geographic options; developing its gifting offering that represents 71% of its revenues or focusing on regular in-home consumption; enter adjacent categories; or explore B2B options, possibly in the HoReCA segment. ETS wanted to build its brand further around purpose but discovered that ‘doing good’ wasn’t enough to make people pay a premium price – how could they achieve this? They had developed a blockchain system that could be used to connect with their customers better. But how could they use this to spur growth?
The case focuses on how to grow a purpose-led brand and how blockchain technology can be used to create engagement with consumers while at the same time creating wins for farmers and the planet. The case can be used in courses on branding, marketing strategy or sustainability as it straddles all three areas in an interconnected way. It works well with both degree participants in MBA or EMBA programs and can potentially be used in undergraduate programs as well. It also fits well in a half-day executive education session on the topics discussed above.