In 2008 I co-founded the Tea Appreciation Society; essentially a social media experiment. As an early adopter of social media, I was exploring how a brand could engage people online. I was responsible for developing and nurturing an online audience, that grew organically (no paid ads) to 450,000. I did this by creating and curating relevant content across social media platforms.
The success of the Tea Appreciation Society enabled me to develop co-marketing opportunities with brands such as Cravendale, Yorkshire Tea & Tetley, all of whom commissioned me to help them grow their online communities. This was prior to Facebook’s own advertising model. Due to this online exposure I was contracted by KEO Films and the BBC, as a consultant to Victoria Wood’s two-part programme; A Nice Cup of Tea (2013).
Here is the Manifesto in full:
1 We want to sing the love of tea.
2 The essential elements of our poetry will be loose leaf tea, boiled water, a tea pot, a china cup and a biscuit.
3 Literature has up to now magnified idleness, and slumber. We want to exalt these slow movements of ecstasy, feverish boiling of the kettle, the pour, the perilous stir, the rattle and the clink of the spoon.
4 We declare that the splendour of the world has been enriched by an old beauty: the beauty of tea.
5 Beauty exists only in considered brewing. There is no masterpiece that has an aggressive character. Poetry is not a violent assault on the forces of infusion.
6 We want to glorify peace - the only cure for the world – militarism, patriotism; these destructive gestures kill the beautiful ideas of the human race.
7 We want to visit museums and libraries, encourage philosophy.
8 We will sing of the great crowds agitated by work; the revolt. We will rejoice in the baking of bread. The polyphonic surf of revolutions in modern music as we play our ukuleles. The nocturnal vibration of the worms in our compost, our spirits suspended from the clouds by the thread of string ‘n tag teabags, and the gliding flight of creativity whose propeller sounds like the sipping of enthusiastic tea drinkers.
I was invited to give a talk at the Howies Bristol shop as part of their Wee Do Lectures. I gave a 20 minute talk about the relationship between tea and creativity.
We also donated one of our (Tea Appreciation Society) t-shirt designs to Howies, 20% of the proceeds of the sale of that design went to fund a part-time organiser for The Do Lectures for one year.
Our I Love Tea logo was also hand painted on the wall of the Howies store in Carnaby Street.
Wee Do Lecture images © Nick Hand