Eteaket moves things oolong despite uncertainty over Brexit

Erica Moore, Founder of Scottish tea wholesaler eteaket discusses what she has been doing to prepare her business for the UK leaving the EU.

In research carried out by Business Gateway in September this year, just over a third of Scottish businesses felt prepared for leaving the EU. Many instead have been focused on surviving the impact of COVID-19, which has been the primary challenge for almost all businesses.

However, with the end of the transition period rapidly approaching, businesses across all sectors must turn their attention towards ensuring their operations and supply chains are ready for the changes that will be in place from the 1st January 2021.

Erica Moore, the founder of eteaket, supplies consumers and businesses across the world and has been no stranger to the need to adapt after this year. As a result of restrictions put in place to halt the spread of the virus, both her Tea Room and Tea Store, located in Edinburgh’s city centre, as well as her wholesale business have been significantly impacted.

She said: “After this year, all businesses, including mine, have learnt how to run with an element of uncertainty embedded into our operations. At eteaket, we have responded by ensuring our business model is as robust as possible and resilient to the challenges we have faced over the year. On balance, it’s been a baptism of fire, as we’ve all had to get on with it to survive, and while I have been focused on preparing where I can, I’m feeling calmer than I was. Ultimately, I’m going to do what I can and adapt to the rest as it comes.”

At eteaket, we have responded by ensuring our business model is as robust as possible and resilient to the challenges we have faced over the year.

Ensuring the resilience of her online business and working collaboratively with partners has been a priority, as eteaket has been selling in high volumes to markets such as France, Germany and the United States. Products such as the Isle of Harris Gin Tea remain firm favourites with customers, and over the last ten months, the business has brought out a new blend, ‘Keep the Heid’ which has proved popular overseas.

For some businesses, adapting to leaving the EU will involve reviewing supply chains, applying for funding or preparing for new customers regulations.

At eteaket, Erica has been looking at some of this and been preparing for upcoming changes to customs regulations. She has also been assessing all imports and exports currently in place across her operations.

At times, the lack of clarity has been frustrating, and managing the dual impact of a pandemic and significant changes to trading has been difficult.

Erica said: “There have been so many things to juggle this year from a business perspective, and in terms of leaving the EU, there have been so many false starts which have been frustrating as we would invest in stock to be prepared and avoid delays, only to be left in the same position. On top of this, I am also concerned about the impact on my staff, as I employ some European citizens, but I’m hoping for clarity on this soon.”

The UK has already introduced a points-based immigration system that will impact employers and to support them, TalentScotland has webinars and tutorials to help Scottish based SMEs understand and navigate the new rules.

Ultimately, in Erica’s experience, time has been a valuable commodity this year and she said: “It’s been difficult to manage all the competing priorities and challenges that have faced the business this year. However, it is important to get whatever ducks we can in a row, and I would encourage any business who does not feel prepared to take a look at some of the available resources. Whether online or through a webinar, there is information out there that can help ensure your business is in the strongest possible position as we go into 2021.”

For up-to-date advice and information about how to prepare for leaving the EU, please visit https://www.prepareforbrexit.scot/

To speak to a local adviser about preparing your business for leaving the EU or any other business issue, contact your nearest Business Gateway office

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