This weeks spotlight is on Marina Tzima, founder of herbal tea company GREK:
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Marina, I come from Kefalonia, Greece but have been in the UK since 2004 as I love the weather so much and fish and chips! I have two little boys, 2 guinea pigs and GREK so life is very busy at the moment but I love it!
How did GREK start?
You can read the full story here: https://grektea.com/pages/our-story
I love retelling this story! Over a cup of tea of course!
What challenges do you face when running a business?
OMG! Where do I start? Money is always an issue when you are a start up. There is never enough and there is not much help out there either. A small business with limited funds struggles to promote their products through trade shows and events as the hire of stands costs hundreds of pounds. Time is always an issue too, especially when you have young kids. We set up the business over weekends and when babies were in beds. It took us longer than we anticipated, but we are really proud of what we have achieved so far. Challenges are what make us stronger. I like a good challenge. It makes me use my brain more.
What’s your biggest success or achievement so far?
We have won 5 national and international awards for our bespoke packaging design and 3 out of our 5 products have won Great Taste stars so far!
What do you do when you’re not working?
Yoga! It is what keeps me sane! After a busy day is what my body and mind need to calm down. And a cup of herbal tea of course! Yoga and tea is the best combination for me!
What can you not live without?
My boys, my yoga mat, and my teas!
What does work-life balance mean to you?
Having your own business means you work long days, night time and weekends when required. But when you leave the office and you go home, then this is family time.
What’s next for your business?
We would love to expand and introduce more products! Also we would love to have a presence in the US and Australia. We currently export to Japan and Middle East.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Definitely tea tasting. We are always on the look out for products/herbs of great quality. So when we receive samples from new producers we do a lot of tasting. Greece provides the best herbs and the variety is huge so it is always a treat to try something new. They taste good and they do good! Numerous health benefits and caffeine free, herbal teas is the new must have!
How do you handle criticism or setbacks?
We appreciate feedback and we try to learn from our mistakes. Having your own business is a learning process, mistakes are bound to happen. Just do not repeat them!
What advice would you give to people starting out?
Even when you are scared, do not stop, go for it! Think twice before you make a decision and do not be afraid to make mistakes – just learn from them!