Brighton tea company in ‘record-breaking’ crowdfunding bid

Krisi and Mike, founders of the Bluebird Tea Company (Photograph: Hikaru Funnell)
Krisi and Mike, founders of the Bluebird Tea Company (Photograph: Hikaru Funnell)

A Brighton-based tea shop has raised a huge £365,000 in just 48 hours to expand and open a tea mixology school.

The Bluebird Tea Company, which has a shop in the North Laine, broke its initial target of £160,000 in just 24 hours on crowdfunding site Crowdcube.

The Bluebird store in Brighton's North Laine

The Bluebird store in Brighton's North Laine

Mike Turner, who runs the company with Krisi Smith, said: “Our initial target was £160,000 and Crowdcube said this would probably take us 30 days to raise, but it didn’t quite go to plan!”

Within 24 hours the couple from Hove were asked to release further equity - raising the target to £300,000.

They closed the crowdfunding bid on Thursday evening after securing £365,000 from 288 investors, each investing between £10 and £65,000.

Investors were given the chance to buy shares in the company or rewards, such as early access to new blends, testing products, or even a visit to tea plantations in Sri Lanka.

Krisi in the Brighton shop

Krisi in the Brighton shop

The pair will use the money to open more stores and a Tea Mixology School in London this summer.

Krisi said: “It has always been part of the plan to open a space where we can really roll out our blending and tasting classes. They are sold out every Friday night in Brighton until September!

“The only problem has been finding the funds to expand further.”

The Bluebird Tea Company began in 2013 from the couple’s bedroom in Hove. The company now employs 30 people, and has a Brighton shop in Gardner Street, and stores in Tunbridge Wells and Bristol.