Singaporean brand TWG Tea has entered the North American market with a store in Vancouver.
In its eight years, TWG Tea has opened 56 owned and franchised boutiques and salons in 17 cities including Dubai, London and Shanghai.
In Canada, its franchise and distribution rights have been bought by Tom and Karinna James, who previously owned Urban Tea Merchants in Vancouver. The city is ideal for TWG’s North American debut because of its tea culture, large Asian population and local appreciation for niche and artisanal beverages.
“Our Asian population are very sophisticated tea drinkers,” says Tom James, thanks to the introduction of tea concepts such as Davids Tea and Starbucks’ Teavana.
Tea sales in Canada reached $1.3 billion last year, with 40 per cent growth by 2020 predicted.
Tom and Karinna James opened luxury tea house Urban Tea Merchant in 2004. The shop has been closed and will reopen as TWG next month with a boutique, salon and small wholesale component focussing on hotels and gourmet stores.
Tea will be served in 18-carat gold-plated teapots, says James, who plans to open several stores in Canada.