From fashion industry to family business

Sarah Holmes started her career in fashion journalism before launching her own designer clothing store - but tea was always at the back of her mind

‘On holiday I’m always the one with a suitcase full of teabags,’ says Sarah Holmes, founder of Victory Tea. ‘You can’t beat an English cuppa.’

The 32 year-old is marketing her new quality tea brand with all the style and substance you would expect from a career in the fashion industry.

Fifth generation and the first female family member to enter luxury tea brand Ringtons, Sarah started her career in fashion journalism, before launching her own designer clothing store, Ophelia in her native Newcastle.

But it was the creation of the Ophelia website, and later her role as marketing manager for designer fashion house Jules B, that taught her the art of e-commerce.

‘The family business was always calling but I have an overriding creative side too,’ says Sarah. ‘Victory Tea combines the two.’

Noticing a gap in the online market for a premium quality, cost-effective tea, Sarah developed a brand that appeals to tea-snobs as much as the budget-conscious. ‘It’s a designer teabag at a high street price,’ she says.

‘My three uncles run Ringtons and I’m thrilled they’ve given me the opportunity to develop the Victory Tea brand. It’s great to be able to use my experience to bring something to the family business.’

With her e-commerce background, and not least because she’s a girl, Sarah symbolises a new direction in a traditional industry. But she says: ‘I think they like the fresh approach. I’m a new blend!’

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