Young Entrepreneur Jacqueline Wan 26, is the owner of I LOVE BOBO TEA. She’s recently opened a kiosk cafe selling bubble tea at the Arndale Centre, Manchester, UK and it’s already proving to be a big hit with customers even travelling from other cities to get their fix.
Bubble tea is a very popular drink in East Asia and is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Nee Hao asks Jacqueline some questions about her exciting new venture.
What is Bubble Tea?
The popular Taiwanese drink comes in a rainbow of colours with flavours ranging from banana, strawberry and taro, to more exotic mango, lychee and guava flavours. Already a huge hit with the Asian and US market- Matcha Green Tea flavour is the one to try for the more adventurous taste buds out there. Tea in its traditional form is given a fun, bubbly twist with drinks served hot or cold. Each cup is customisable in sugar levels to suit taste, with additions of chewy tapioca balls “boba” balls that pop in your mouth or fruity jelly; it’s the new daytime cocktail, ideal for lunch hour.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Leicester but lived my childhood years in Germany, then I studied Law in Manchester.
What made you start your own business?
When I graduated, I worked for 2 years in investment banking but I never felt fully satisfied working for other people. I am a strong believer that success comes to those who work the hardest for it. Bubble tea is my own weakness and I’m always surprised that no one has gone mainstream with it in the UK. As a nation of tea lovers, I strongly believe that bubble tea is going to be a massive hit with the British market, and now it’s my job to tell and educate people about the delicious varieties and the yummy goodness in bubble tea.
Tell us the pros and cons of running your own business?
The best thing about running my own business so far is seeing people’s faces when they enjoy my drinks. I find it rewarding when customers thank me for introducing bubble tea to them. The worst is possibly the hours. I am a perfectionist and with it being a new business, I insist on being present everyday to ensure its smooth running.
What’s a typical day for you?
My day starts with waking up at 7am, usually to a cup of ginger and lemon tea! I would reply to emails and work with my suppliers. After this, I set to work making my tapioca which I like to create fresh everyday. I believe that this is the key to any good bubble tea, soft chewy tapioca! We open for business at 9am everyday. My working day involves ensuring all the drinks are made consistently and to a high standard. I like to dedicate a lot of my time at work chatting to customers, getting feedback and introducing the drinks to as many people as I can.
How did you come up with the concept?
The concept itself comes from Taiwan, I fell in love with these drinks as I find them healthier to calorie laden milkshakes and fizzy bottle drinks in the UK. The majority of my drinks are tea based, packed with antioxidants.
How did you design and develop the branding?
I came up with the name as I felt it was pretty catchy and hoped that it would generate a fan base by making a statement. I LOVE BOBO TEA has become quite a saying in Manchester!
How did you get a space at Arndale shopping centre?
It was tough, Arndale is one the most well known and prestigious shopping centres in the North and the application process was a long procedure as everything had to be checked and approved thoroughly, not to mention the paperwork involved.
Where do you want to take the business in the future?
Due to the success of our first kiosk and the popular demand we’re having, we intend to expand in the next 12 months, with the hope of taking our brand to major shopping centres around the UK, thus ensuring many more people can try bubble tea!
What good places are there to go out in Manchester?
I came to the city just 8 years ago and I have absolutely fallen in love with Manchester. In my opinion, outside of London, it has the best night life and friendliest crowds! K2 night club is a popular spot for me and my friends to let loose on the weekends.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love to travel. I like discovering new things and visiting new places.
Check out the Fb page for more information http://www.facebook.com/IloveBoboTea