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Kilgraston School blends with a Perthshire entrepreneur to produce a unique brand of tea

Tea for thought as Kilgraston School pupils put their ideas through the strainer


Steeping the next generation with a thirst for knowledge is all part of the process of a good education. This week witnessed Kilgraston School’s first event in its ‘Women in Business’ programme, with pupils being given the opportunity to name, create and market a unique blend of tea by successful Perthshire businesswoman, and home-grown talent, Clare Pinchbeck of Hettie’s Tearoom.

Developing pupils’ understanding of the business world is very high on the School’s priority list. Mrs MacGinty, the Headmistress, said: “Kilgraston has been teaching Business Management for the last seven years,” she continued, “developing this subject the aim is to turn the School into an industry hub, becoming the go-to destination for ambitious girls looking to enter the world of business, knowing that they will be nurtured and mentored, fully developing their entrepreneurial spirit.”

Mrs Pinchbeck has caffeine virtually running through her veins. Her mother used to run the famous tearoom at Rannoch Station and, brought up in this remote location, Clare and her five siblings soon learnt the value of a good cup of tea: “I have wonderful memories of that period in my life,” she says, “I want everyone to feel a story behind the flavour when they taste one of my unique blends.”

Using this life-long knowledge Clare was delighted to share her business acumen with 70 senior school pupils: “The level of your success in business and life can be directly attributed to the quality of the goals you set,” she told girls, “Those who set clear objectives will achieve far more than the person who leaves life and business to chance.”

During the morning, pupils learnt how to identify the market they would be trying to attract, creating a successful and clearly identifiable product ‘avatar’: “Who’s our target?” they had to ask themselves. Questions like: “What’s the purpose of the tea? How does it make the consumer feel? What’s the story behind it?” All points girls had to address. The resulting consumer was a sporty, eco-conscious, successful, fun-loving women in her mid-twenties who took her tea-drinking very seriously.

Logos, branding, names and promotional ideas were then all discussed: “Girls were very engaged,” commented Clare, “They were surprised that the product didn’t start with the tea but with a business plan instead.” The girls’ wanted their tea to make drinkers feel ‘bubbly’, ‘invigorated’, ‘driven’ and ‘full of energy’. “The creative energy from the girls was amazing,” said Clare, “they just ran with it and their ideas for the brand and logo were superb.”

The idea of ‘seasonal branding’ was also floated with the tea being iced in the summer and in a Thermos during winter. “Thoroughly planning your campaign was really brought home to us,” said another pupil, “we had to think ‘where and when would our market be looking for product information?’”

Conscience marketing was another subject covered, with the environmental credentials of packaging very high in pupils’ minds: “We want to make this a ‘future-proof’ product, one that can be bought with a clear conscience,” said another young business mind.

The girls’ ideas will now be presented to professional designers, branding experts and a master tea-blender with several options for the final product being put to the girls within the next few weeks. “It’s so exciting,” said one fifteen year old, “the planning process has been really eye-opening and to think that we will have our own unique blend of tea and be able to say that we had the idea and marketed it, is such a great opportunity.”

Clare told girls how she had moved from running hotels to her real love of tea-blending and marketing in 2010 when the opportunity to buy the Tearoom in Pitlochry came along: “The time was just right. Be open to chances that come your way, don’t be afraid to have confidence.”

Girls put their minds to the story behind the flavour learning that Hettie’s Teas make you really feel something: “Rocky’s Rainbow was named after a favourite horse who passed away,” said Clare, “It’s a lighter tea, full of chamomile, designed for younger palettes; every tea should be a cup of atmosphere.”

At the School, it’s not just older girls who are getting the chance to demonstrate the entrepreneurial flair: “Juniors run cake, craft and art enterprise projects, selling them every Friday morning,” says Mrs MacGinty, “And a ‘Dragon’s Apprentice’ programme for Firth Formers in well underway, combining elements of the two popular enterprise-based TV shows, ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘Dragon’s Den’”.

Later this month, Kilgraston’s Women in Business programme is welcoming a feature writer from a national newspaper and tax specialists from Edinburgh firm, Saffery Champness.

 

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