“I really think the best thing that happened to retail was the internet. You have to be a great retailer, and a great retailer isn’t someone with a shop. A great retailer is someone who offers a complete and absolute experience.”
– Maryanne Shearer, T2 cofounder
In today’s episode of Xero In, Maryanne chats with co-hosts Jeanne-Vida Douglas and Rob Stone about her journey: from failed homewares business to international buyout, and the value of a good cup of tea.
With T2 stores surviving the global financial crisis, and now going global, Maryanne shares her insights into creating a retail experience, inspiring brand love, and keeping your course during tough times.
Maryanne believes one of T2’s great advantages is that they weren’t just tea leaves – they were creating a retail experience. That meant a beautiful, welcoming environment, great music and amazingly passionate team members that loved what they sold.
“The way we injected them [their team members] with that knowledge was just making sure that they were passionate people. They would come in and they would get very excited about our more contemporary approach to tea. I think that was critical, right to the very end when, a few months ago, when I left, it was just hitting on 20 years of working on T2. I think that energy and passion is still there.”
For Maryanne and her original business partner, Jan O’Connor, success meant conquering one huge challenge: making tea modern. Sure, it already existed and was already popular – but making it cool? To succeed at that would feel like magic.
“We decided that tea was just too daggy, if you like, for want of a better word. They were very sort of scones and doilies. We decided that maybe it needed to be a little more modern. It was a bit of a challenge to get that modern coffee drinker, juice drinker to drink good, old, daggy tea.”
Small business resources:
- Video: Turning a hobby into a small business – Xero.com
- Small Business Guide: Email marketing for retail stores – Xero.com
- Article: 10 retail experts share their #1 tip for marketing and growing your store – Shopify.com
If you loved this podcast, check out last week’s episode on what kind of advice you should expect from you accountant with Sholto Macpherson.
What would you like to hear?
Got a topic you’d like to hear discussed? Or a business expert you admire and would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments below!