wikiHow to Start a Tea Store

Opening a tea shop--either an online store or a shop in a physical location--can be a great niche business. Tea is popular for many reasons; most people are aware of the health benefits of green tea and the high ceremony associated with noon tea. Although there is a lot to learn about running a tea store, there are also many advantages and marketing ideas that could make it profitable and fun.


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    Learn about tea. There are four major types--white, black, oolong and green tea--and thousands of blends, brews and names within those groups. Tea has significance in various cultures and is touted for health benefits. If you are running a tea shop, expect to be asked questions about tea. You'll need to be knowledgeable about the regions tea comes from, the processing methods for tea, health benefits and significance of tea. Unlike other businesses you can choose, there is a lot to learn besides just how to start a tea store. Read about tea, join groups and go to seminars and presentations to get a good understanding of all there is to know about tea.
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    Identify your target market. The customers you intend to sell to will dictate what kind of tea store to run. Some customers will be attracted to the ritual and perceived luxury of tea, while others may be interested in the health benefits.
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    Define your niche and make a marketing plan. Based on your target market research, decide what type of tea shop to open and how to market it. Your niche and target market will determine everything from the location of your store to the look of your interior, website and stationary to the type of food you serve with tea. It will also help you to focus your advertising and marketing efforts.
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    Set financial goals and evaluate your start-up and operational costs. Decide how you will finance your business. Have a business plan written to attract investors or apply for loans.
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    Find a location for your tea shop. Think about the market you plan to serve as well as the amount of customers you want to be able to accommodate at one time when choosing a location. There must also be areas for tea and food preparation. Alternatively, you can open an Internet business selling loose or bulk tea. In this case you'll need room to store and package the tea as well as an office area to keep track of orders.
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    Find out what licenses you need. Register your business with the Internal Revenue Service. Apply for local and state licenses, including inspections required to run a food selling business.
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    Speak to an attorney, accountant or small business advisor for advice about how to start a tea store, including tax issues and liability protection. Choose a tax status for your company, such as a corporation, sole proprietorship or joint ownership.
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    Find reliable suppliers. Make sure to choose reputable companies and test all products. In addition to loose tea, you'll need food products, serving ware and preparation equipment.

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Categories: Buying & Forming a Business | Tea