A Chat with Krisi Smith, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Bird & Blend Tea Co.

Bird & Blend Tea Co. is an independent, award-winning tea company on a mission to reimagine the Great British brew. After years of working in the tea industry, I, alongside my business partner Mike, decided to exploit our passion for tea to create our own innovative, top-quality blends. 

We started the business in one of our parents bedrooms, packing tea and attending markets to sell our tea creations. Building the brand from scratch, we now have a growing team and a thriving online store, employing 125+ staff across 13 stores and an ecommerce platform.

Bird & Blend offers the country’s largest range of creative blends, using a wide range of ingredients including herbs, flowers, fruits, caramels, and chocolate.  As well as the online based business, our shops are based in Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Tunbridge Wells, Worthing and London sites: Angel, Borough and Portobello.  We also attend festivals and run educational Tea Mixology workshops.

We genuinely love what we do!

Peach Soda | Loose Leaf Tea | Positive Bakes

How did you come up with the idea for the company?


Mike & I were working as ski instructors in Canada and we didn’t want to come back to the UK and return to 9-5 jobs working for someone else so we decided to create our own business with our own rules and with a mission to be as ethical and eco conscious as we could. I had a background in the tea industry so we decided to take that and run with it to challenge the UK tea industry by creating fun and imaginative blends.



How has the company evolved during the pandemic?


The last year has been challenging for us and the pandemic certainly changed many things for the business.  Bird & Blend has always been, first and foremost a bricks and mortar retail business; we believe in the importance of local communities, the high street and people-led experiences and so the temporary closures of our stores during the lockdown months represented a challenge for us financially, for our teams & for our customers. 

However, we acknowledge that consumer behaviours are changing, with a clear shift towards digital & on-demand. Over the last 12 months we have seen a 230% increase in sessions to our website, due to our loyal fan base stocking up online during lockdown, but also new customers looking for online replacements for their usual routines. This change represented an opportunity for our business but meant we had to quickly accelerate our digital offering & operations to continue providing exceptional service to our growing, digital customer base.

Through our strong team we were able to make changes including the restructure of our warehouse & the introduction of shift working to ensure social distancing and the safety of back of house teams.

We are bucking trends and thriving on the high street with 4 new stores opening since lockdown last year, a new website and new warehouse in Worthing.


What can we hope to see from Bird & Blend Tea Co. in the future?


Over the next three years, our business objectives are focused on the business’s mission to spread happiness & reimagine tea, we are committed to growing our business in a financially stable, sustainable way that is in line with our values. Our objectives include:

  • Reaching new audiences while continuing to surprise & delight our current customers
  • Investing in local communities & our high streets by opening 4 new stores a year, rolling out further across the UK 
  • Championing & partnering with other small businesses to support independent creators 
  • Initiatives around sustainability & ethics to become the most impactful tea company in the world, looking at supply chain, production methods, packaging and processes. 
  • Growing a team of fulfilled, supported & happy team members with a focus on employee wellbeing, progression and knowledge-sharing
  • Continuing to lead the way in tea innovation by creating exciting new tea blends, matcha flavours and other products that challenge the status quo and bring magical moments to everyday life.