'We decided to bring bubble tea to Glasgow'

Who are you?

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We are May Gem and Liam Tan, a sister and brother partnership. We recently opened up our own bubble tea room, Tempo Tea Bar.

What does your business do?

We sell bubble tea, which is a drink from Taiwan that is tea-based and infused with fruit syrup or milk and contains small tapioca balls, jellies or popping boba at the bottom.

Where are you based?

We are based in Queen Street, Glasgow. We felt this was the perfect premises for our business as it's in the middle of the city centre and in a busy street.

How did you get started?

Our parents are Malaysian and on childhood holidays to visit our family we were introduced to bubble tea.

We both loved it but grew up never knowing the English word for it.

I was amazed that on a recent trip to London I walked past a packed bubble tea shop.

Seeing the shop brought back lovely memories of our trips to Malaysia, and when I saw that it was becoming popular with people outside the Asian community, I realised that it didn't need to be sold solely in the traditional style, but in multiple different flavours.

I told Liam my idea and we decided to bring bubble tea to Glasgow, and set up our own tea shop together.

What is your background?

I graduated in Finance and Economics at Strathclyde University and began a graduate programme working as a collateral analyst for a large financial institution.

Liam had studied mechanical engineering and worked as a senior pipeline engineer in the Oil and Gas industry for eight years.

What is your top tip?

To ensure you always have a plan in case your deadlines are pushed back.

I learned that everything takes longer than expected but if you plan for the worst case scenario then you will be fine.

How long has your business been running?

We opened last October.

Has anyone helped you get started and how?

We had never run a business before and the advice we received from Business Gateway has helped us a huge amount.

The support we have had from our adviser, Bill Cameron, has saved us a lot of time and money.

Where do you plan your business to be in five years' time?

We have a huge number of ideas for the company.

We have been encouraged by Glasgow's response to our bubble tea so far, and hope to expand out to other cities around the country.

Our main challenge is figuring out the best way in which to implement our ideas. and also educating the Scottish population about Bubble tea.

Useful contacts

Business Gateway Glasgow www.bgateway.com/ 0141 276 5333. Client Contact Details www.tempoteabar.com/ 0791 2975 059.


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