Our partner Boston Tea Party has a very clear ambition: Scale at a pace that retains the original vision and higher purpose.

Co-Owner and MD, Sam Roberts, explains, “… our soul is embedded in our mission, which is: To serve good things in great spaces that nourish the body & warm the heart. To not compromise on quality or ethics, to seek openness & integrity in all our relationships and keep our independent spirit alive. We see this mission as a mind-set, something that allows people to instantly understand what’s sacred and what’s taboo and act on it, rather than have to be told.

As we grow we want to develop teams that spread and instill this, so we scale up a mind-set, not just a footprint. So is it possible? Evidence to the contrary is strong. I’ll name no names, but time after time I see great concepts/brands slowly eroded as they scale up. The biggest threat to ‘soul’ is speed of expansion, it’s just not possible to retain and nurture a business’s cultural identity (mind-set) when rolling out at breakneck speed.”

Boston Tea Party is a maverick and worlds apart from the ‘me too’ coffee shop chains that are seeing rapid expansion on our high streets.

Sam continues, “… obsessing about every little detail, ensuring the vision is executed perfectly every time can lead to extremely rewarding results. Now try and do that in 5 different locations all at the same time. That’s the challenge we, and businesses like ours, face. You find yourself pressured to ‘streamline’, simplify, drive economies of scale and buy products in as opposed to make them in house, squeeze GPs, slash labour % and ultimately drive the bottom line. All fine if your primary objective is to make more cash. Is there another way? Is it possible to scale up business and retain (and dare I say it, perhaps enhance) it’s soul? I do hope so.”

We believe that businesses like Boston Tea Party are the sustainable businesses of the future. In every sector, aligning higher purpose with the desire to make profit, and doing it in a carefully paced way that protects, and enhances, the very reasons that the business was created in the first place, will provide controlled and profitable growth for many years to come.

>> read Sam’s full article

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Boston Tea Party will be sharing examples of sustainable and ethical best practice here.



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