You may have seen a lot of Tina and Megan on social media. Tina is HumaniTea’s founder, and she created the UK’s first vegan chilled tea latte in two flavours- Earl Grey Oat Milk Classic Tea Latte and Matcha Oat Milk Green Tea Latte. She is the sole founder of the business and has HumaniTea stocked in many shops, restaurants, and online stores across the UK.
She hired Megan (me!) in March 2021, I am the Brand and Marketing Specialist, and I am also the person who has been writing these blogs for the past few months. I have appeared on the brand’s Instagram page @humaniteadrinks, and I regularly appear in TikToks!
About Megan Robinson
As said above, I was hired in March 2021 and have been a happy member of the HumaniTeam ever since! I was hired through the UK’s government ‘Kickstart Scheme’ which is an excellent way to get young people into employment. They provide funding to employers, mostly small and local businesses, and this funding creates jobs for 16-24 year olds’ who are on Universal Credit.
This was created because a shocking amount of young people were out of work during the pandemic. Those who are employed through the scheme are paid a wage and work 25 hours a week, and they are given job security for six months. A lot of small brands are hiring through this scheme, as it helps out the brand and gives young people a start to their career.
I was so pleased to find out I got a job with Tina at HumaniTea! I was looking for a job for months after I graduated from university in 2020. After searching for months, I had three offers in the space of a week! I couldn’t believe my luck, but I was also overwhelmed that I had to choose between three companies that all had great benefits. I decided to go with HumaniTea because the job specification fitted what I wanted to do.
It said I would be a “Brand and Marketing Specialist” and at first I wasn’t sure if this was something I would be good at. When I read the specification in detail, I realised it was definitely something I would be good at! It involved using social media, PR, coming up with ideas for the brand, interviewing people, blogging, and creating content for Instagram.
I then had an interview with Tina and she was so lovely! I felt calm and at ease, and she made me feel like I could really fit in with her brand and do well in my role. She explained what she needed from me, and she let me choose the hours I work (as long as it meets the 25 hour requirement set by the scheme). I was hired straight away.
What I most enjoy about my role
Since starting my job, I have had so many different tasks to do! Having a variety of things to work on is great because I am never bored and I get to further my skills in different areas. I mainly do PR and marketing, where I contact magazines, websites, TV stations, and anything else involved in the media! I try to get HumaniTea’s name out there and build up more customers. Tina and I also spend time thinking about what to post on Instagram and TikTok, and we are constantly sharing ideas with each other.
When Tina suggested I should start up the brand’s TikTok page, I really didn’t want to do it! I had never created video content before and I felt really shy all of a sudden. Since starting up the page in April, I have grown to love making TikTok content and enjoy creating weird and wonderful recipes using our tea lattes.
I would say I have got a lot better at editing and planning the videos, and it is so fun to make so this part of my role is probably my favourite.
As I am a journalism graduate, of course my other favourite task is blogging. I get to write a blog once a week and it is all related to HumaniTea, but each blog is different. I have written recipe guides, informative articles about important days of the year like ‘World Plant Milk Day’ and ‘World Earth Day’, and I have sometimes interviewed people and written blogs about that.
More on Megan
Obviously, I have to be a tea lover in order to work here at HumaniTea! I adore tea and was surprised to see that I enjoy a chilled version of my favourite hot drink. I know most people love the Matcha Tea Latte, but I have to disagree and say that the Earl Grey Tea Latte is my favourite! It is sweet, creamy and delicious.
As well as being a tea lover, I am also a massive foodie and have pasta nearly every night. I am also passionate about writing, music, and going out to explore things. Pre-pandemic, I attended concerts quite a lot, so I hope that I can soon start visiting my favourite venues and enjoy being back in a crowd listening to my favourite bands!
Interview with Tina Chen
When did you realise you wanted to start your own business?
I worked at Accenture doing technology consulting for three years, but my interest in entrepreneurship started when I was at university. I remember meeting someone who did a kick starter campaign, and he raised a lot of money so I thought “if he can do that at 19 years old, then I think I can as well.”
I decided to do an MBA at Imperial College Business School. I took a lot of courses and then joined the ‘We Innovate program’ which is a program for females who are interested in entrepreneurship. You can join even if you don’t have a business, you just need an idea and the program will help you develop that. University and my masters were all pointing me into the direction of starting my own business.
How do you prepare yourself for the working day?
I think for me, everyday is different. There will be emails, social media, and phone calls with retailers for example, but to prepare for each day, you have to have that mindset ready in the morning. I don’t always do this, but I think it’s good to get a good night’s sleep, but it’s hard as an entrepreneur as you don’t always get the full eight hours. Even if it’s less, as long as you have a good sleep I think that helps.
Then in the morning, have a positive attitude, be ready for the day and drink some liquid – I drink HumaniTea to get some energy. It’s good to stay hydrated throughout the day and make sure you stand up and stretch. Without physical and mental health, I can’t run the business, so I need to make sure I am healthy and mentally prepared for the day.
If you could make any flavour of HumaniTea- what would you create?
There’s a few flavours that we’re thinking of, like chai, turmeric, and rooibos. If I could do any flavour, I would want to customise the flavours for each person… That would be ideal but obviously not possible! Flavours like rose, peach, or oolong, so it would be cool to get people’s preferences and then deliver that and make sure the customers are happy.
Are there any entrepreneurs that you look up to?
One of my mentors, Sam Duong, is an entrepreneur and he started his Chinese pancake factory over ten years ago. He has been growing it successfully with his business partner, and they have really loyal employees, so he is able to keep morale high, and puts them as a priority. Even during the pandemic when businesses faced difficulties, he always made sure his employees were comfortable and could come back to their job. He is a great leader, and will find a solution even if it isn’t easy to resolve, so I think those are traits of an entrepreneur that I admire.
Why did you decide to move to London?
I studied in London back in 2012 at UCL during my one-year exchange program. I really enjoyed my time there and made some lovely friends, and I think London is a wonderful city to live in as it’s so diverse. The city has so much to offer in terms of culture, public transportation, food, musicals, museums, parks! I really liked London when I studied here so I wanted to come back, and the other thing was that I love the tea culture and the afternoon tea here- the scones are so delicious!
If you could say anything to your supporters, what would you say?
A huge thank you because we wouldn’t be here today without our supporters and our community, so I’m really grateful. It’s been nearly three years and there have been people with us from the start who have donated to our crowdfunding campaign, followed our social media pages, and shown up to our pop up events. We also found new supporters when our BBC article went out and they have been repeat customers! As a small business, without our customers, supporters, and community, we wouldn’t be able to continue.