Belfast Telegraph

Suki Tea in Belfast is a refreshing story of success

By Margaret Canning

The success of Suki Tea in Belfast has now been crowned with the ultimate accolade - a listing in Marks & Spencer around the UK.

Founder Oscar Woolley explained that the company had been approached by other retailers but that it was holding out for a high-end grocer - and finally, one has come along.

Suki's success - its teas and accessories are used in a large number of coffee shop chains and it successfully retails at markets - is a reminder that you don't have to restrict yourself to traditionally Ulster or Irish lines of products to do well. Suki has demonstrated great chutzpah in making its products work - particularly its camouflage-green teapots, which are close to ubiquitous.

Their low-key packaging is another ingredient in its success. But there's no question that as well as creative flair, Mr Woolley and business partner Anne Irwin have put in the hard work, from endless tea tasting to early starts at St George's Market and farmers' markets. But they are certainly not resting on their laurels, and have embarked on the challenge of growing their own tea leaves in Portaferry, where they'll join many other successful food businesses, such as poultry operation Marlfield Farm and granola maker Live a Little. In fact, Suki Tea is using land linked with Live a Little to grow their tea - an example, albeit a slightly-off-the-wall one, of how are food companies can work together.

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