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Brief Published: 19 Oct 2018

Slow Retail: Teatulia’s Tea & Book Sanctuary in London

Teatulia, London

A new tea store in London's buzzing Covent Garden is letting consumers escape the hustle and bustle of the city by encouraging them to linger in a peaceful home-like setting with tea and books.

"Many tea shops fall into the trap of being too twee, too busy or too worthy, crammed with confusing varieties and accessories or banging on endlessly about their 'detox' properties," says Teatulia's creative director Ed Cumming. "We also think it's impossible to really get a sense of what a tea is like without taking the time to make it properly, sit back and relax. We hope the shop lets customers experience our bold, flavourful teas at their best – over a chat or a book, or even a cocktail."

The space offers a variety of organic tea blends (sourced from North Bangladesh) by day, and tea-infused cocktails at night. A 'Living Bookshelf' at the rear of the 16-cover space features a monthly edit of books, exclusively curated by famous writers, musicians and artists. Consumers can enjoy them for free on a sofa or take one home for £10 ($13) – enabling them to immerse themselves in the brand and its products at their own pace. This month's edit was created by US actress Tilda Swinton, one of the brand's ambassadors.

The intimate and cosy interior was designed by London agency Russell Sage Studio. It mixes art-deco and mid-century elements such as a black terrazzo bar, floor-to-ceiling wooden bookshelves and geometric patterned carpets – creating a friendly environment that mirrors the 'at-home' experience consumers often have with tea and books.

For more on the latest strategies within the tea industry, see The Evolving Tea Landscape. To read about how brands are expanding into adjacent industries, see Retail x Hospitality and Brand Stretch: Attraction of Food. See also Soft Sell: The New Retail.