Navigating the Crisis | Catherine Archer on leading JING Tea through Covid-19

In today’s feature on how the UK’s luxury leaders are steering their brands through the crisis, we hear from Catherine Archer, CEO of the world’s finest tea brand JING. “With a business that has been traditionally focused on the high-end hospitality and travel sectors, the pandemic has brought some obvious challenges. However it has also unlocked unprecedented levels of determination and creativity amongst the team, which has been an inspiration to witness and a key enabler to ensuring we come through this crisis stronger as a result.”

While we had already increased our focus on the B2C area with the opening of our first retail store in late 2019, the emergence of COVID saw us pivot at speed to ensure we could continue to provide our consumers with the same great tea experiences at home that they had been enjoying in the world’s best hotels and restaurants, and to support our farmers and their teams, who like so many have been hit hard by the global events.

From online tea tastings with our founder – taking people on journeys to origins; one to one online consultations with our store staff – guiding you through the world of single garden teas; video updates from our Head of Tea’s tasting (kitchen) table – updating people on our latest sourcing in lockdown, to ‘how to’ videos to help people get the best out of their teas at home, we have significantly increased our focus on digital to provide safe and engaging experiences from the comfort of people’s homes.

While we haven’t been able to journey to origin this year during the early sourcing period, we’ve kept close to the farmers throughout the pandemic and have been able to share a lot of rich information on the amazing people and places behind our teas and get the latest updates from the gardens. This deeper connection is something a lot of our consumers have been really interested and engaged with and it’s been great to share and celebrate the amazing work being done in the gardens with them.

The New (Marketing) Rules for Luxury:

I don’t believe that the rules of luxury will change but I do believe that we will see an acceleration of some of the trends that were already emerging within the sector. In addition to the increased shift to digital for purchasing and experiential, I believe we will see the following areas increase at an even faster pace than before:

Purpose – with the increased focus on community values during the pandemic and time to focus on our priorities during lockdown, we expect to see brands with purpose within their DNA to accelerate

Sustainability – the crisis has brought our interconnection with the planet and the importance of food safety to the forefront and we expect to see more considered choices with a greater emphasis on long-term environmental protection

Authentic Connection – with separations forced through lockdown, the importance of connection has never been so top of mind. Brands that enable this connection with others and communicate in a more accessible and human approach will enable a deeper connection, which is appreciated and desired even more than ever

Reopening: Information

We are delighted to say that our store in St Christopher’s Place, London is now back open. Our new opening hours will be: Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5pm.

We have been working hard to ensure all of the right Covid safety measures are in place. We can’t take bookings for group Tea Flights yet, but our tasting bar will be open for sampling between 12:00-16:00. The store team will be on hand to give personal recommendations, answer your questions and even make you a cup of the new spring teas that have been arriving these last few months.

To help create a safe environment for you and our team, we have put the following covid safety measures are in place:

We are limiting the number of people in the store at one time.

You must wear a mask before entering the store. Disposable masks are available on request and our team will all be wearing masks.

You will be provided with hand sanitiser upon entering the store.

There will be perspex shields in place where social distancing isn’t be possible, for example at the till and the tasting bar.

We are operating cashless. Please make sure you have your payment cards with you before visiting.

If you know what you want and don’t need to browse, our team can serve you at the door.

We will be thoroughly cleaning the store on a regular basis.

For more information please click here.

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