On Thursday night the owners of Quilliam Brothers, Newcastle Uni’s local tea and cake house, gave a talk at Newcastle University about how their very successful business came about, in the hope of inspiring students to turn their passions into a business.
The speech comes as part of the Entrepreneurial Insights High Profile Speaker Series, organised by the Entrepreneurial Society in collaboration with Rise Up (the entrepreneurial sector of the Career’s Service).
Past speakers have included Anna Jones, CEO of Hearst Magazines. However, this time the speakers are much more localised to our very own doorstep.
Their tea house is located virtually on campus right next to the Kings Gate building. The place offers one of the best tea experiences in Newcastle.
The Quilliam Brothers are three brothers, Tom, Sam and Patrick. Originally from Wylam village, they conceived the idea of a late night teahouse in Newcastle whilst sitting by Lake Balaton in Hungary in 2007.
The brothers started importing tea in 2009 after trips to tea producing areas of the world. After initially selling at market stalls, on their online shop and through retailers, the teahouse opened in 2013.
Growing up in an artistic household, they each have their creative side, whether it be with theatre, music or art. One studied fine art at Camberwell College, one apprenticed as a wind instrument maker, whilst one performed at Glastonbury.
They all worked together to create The Loft Hostel Budapest, and made it award winning. One left school to join the circus, one has done a maida vale session for radio 1, and one is a dad.
Now, their tea house serves over 100 brews sourced from their travels around the world, and the three brothers are keen to show exactly what they’ve learned on their global tour.
Whereas the ground floor is a cafe which also serves food and turns into a small-scale gig venue in the evenings, their basement is filled with an intimate cinema and art gallery space.
Due to the creative and artistic nature of the three brothers, the speech was fascinating, both to those students who were interested in setting up your own business and those who weren’t.
The brothers told an inspiring story of their six-year journey to the tea house’s creation, and all the mishaps that happened along the way.
Through various trips to India, China and Germany trying to source out the best teas for their business, the brothers also had time to make some hilarious memes which they showed to the audience.
Now the very successful business has been running for a few years, the brothers have decided to go on their next adventure – setting up a hostel in Mongolia!
Attendance for the event was free for students, and this was the last of the Entreprenurial Insights put on this semester.
However, both Fraser Doherty from Superjam and Tom Hatton from Refme will be doing a talk in the New Year.