In the busy lead-up to Christmas, there’s nothing quite like a nice cup of tea to warm you up and help you relax.
Jill Reidy takes a tea break to chat to Anna Paprzycka about Tea Amantes, a new tea room and gallery which has opened in Blackpool.
The new Tea Amantes sounds amazing. Tell me a little bit about how it came about.
The idea was born in 2018 when we decided to set up an online tea store. We exhibited our products at several events in Manchester, Evesham, and Preston. I also created unique blends for local institutions. For example, in the last year, they were available on Christmas market stall in front of HIVE or at school. I also prepared exclusively blend for the Old Electric.
After a log time of chatting about that with our friends and customers, I decided with my partner that we needed to open our own place and combine our passions. We had been planning to open our own artistic space connected with a teahouse for a long time. My partner and I travel a lot, most of our friends are artists. In Bydgoszcz, the city I lived in before I moved to Blackpool, there are many more artistic hubs – I have always missed it. So I think that establishing such a place was only a matter of time for us.
However, finding a suitable place was not easy. For those who may not know, Inkden tattoo studio (run by my partner Shamack Przemek Malachowski) has been on the first floor above our friend’s fancy-dress shop. After a long time our good friend and neighbour called us and told us that he was going to vacate the shop and did we want to take on the space? We couldn’t have dreamed of a better location.
The whole project is the result of amazing collaboration. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the opening of Tea Amantes – Tearoom & Gallery. Bev Wood, our interior designer helped us combine the tattoo studio with a tearoom. She designed it very nicely. You can see that there are separate spaces but they are still connected. Pawel Domagala changed the building’s ground floor and cellars. He is an incredibly strong building specialist who worked alone on the project for several months. The place is unrecognisable. We could also count on the help of our excellent graphic designer Edyta Flejszer. Even though she recently became a mother, she gave us lots of help. Last but not least, I would also like to thank our Manager Sarah Railton for her hard work and brilliant smile. She’s a very important part of the team and a great fit for Tea Amantes.
The taste of teas reminds me of my mother and grandmother. My grandma used to collect herbs and for as long as I can remember, my mother always loved green tea. I remember coming home after a long day at the university and drinking Earl Grey prepared by my mum – it was a time of calmness and relief.
I gather it’s not just a café/tea shop, but also an Art Gallery and merchandise store. What merchandise will you be selling? And what plans have you got for future exhibitions?
There is a tattoo studio on the first floor of the building. Every year, we host a lot of phenomenal world-famous tattoo artists. We will try to encourage them to create exhibitions in our newly space. We also want to invite local artists and start to organise art workshops in the future.
A few years back we used to run the Twórcze Blackpool group, this put on art evenings for children aged 6 to 14 with help from David Samuels and Michelle Minett from the Creative Arts & Futures foundation. We also have some experience in organising events and exhibitions. For several years Przemek was the co-organiser of the tattoo convention and as a teenager he organised concerts. A few years ago, together with our studio, we managed to organise a few days’ Tattoo Art Exhibition at North Pier in Blackpool. So, we hope that we will be up to the job!
We’re planning exhibitions of local artists’ work. A few days ago, we started to prepare the list of exhibitions for 2022 and we could not believe that we have already reserved 8 months. It’s amazing. The list will be available soon on our website.
How long was the idea in the making?
Ooh that’s a very difficult question. It took us over a year to prepare the building for the opening. As I mentioned before, the very idea of creating a tea shop was born in 2018. However, we have had a passion for art and good taste since we were children – hee hee! So as you see, the whole endeavour was a long-term process. It developed and matured over time. Those who know us well know that we love to surround ourselves with art and antiques. The combination of art with a passion for teas seemed to be a perfect idea.
Were there any/many obstacles along the way?
Exactly how is it in life: several smaller, several larger. Coronavirus, late deliveries, shortage of workers, but we should not complain. All of us have been struggling over the last year and fighting with something. We always try to look on the bright side of life. You can’t just focus on the obstacles, you need to focus on the task and get it completed – sooner or later! 😉
How was the opening night? It looked fantastic. Unfortunately, I was ill or I’d have been there taking pictures and chatting to people about it.
We were very positively surprised. A lot of people, an uplifting atmosphere, and a lot of positive comments. Even our friends from HIVE appeared. It was a really nice evening.
Do you also see Tea Amantes as a meeting place for other creatives?
Of course. Artists and tea lovers, coffee lovers… Positive people. Have you ever heard about Kopi Luwak? It’s well known as the most expensive coffee in the world. If you fancy trying it, it’s on our menu. We’d love to invite you for a tasting! 😉
Have you been busy since your opening night?
Only 4 weeks have passed since the opening of Tea Amantes – Tearoom & Gallery. I think that we are doing better and better every day by day. We decided to take a risk, and opened our new place in the end of the season, at the time of the year where everything is start slowing down. So of course, we don’t expect customers banging on our doors and windows! I’m also aware that to enter the local market we need at least 12 months for people to start recognising us.
However, I can already say, that we have several regular customers so far – we’re very happy about that – plus we’re already 6th in the TripAdvisor ranking! That means a lot to us. I think that may also help us in the future. Like anywhere else, we have some quiet and some busy days. I think we are doing well. You need to visit us, to find out 😉
How are you dividing your time between Tea Amantes and your other work?
Sometimes it is quite a challenging. But I think, that is always like that when you start a new business. I just need to get used to it and find my own way of working. I love my jobs… all of them!
As you know, I am a journalist and political scientist by education. I still write articles and record videos for our local artist. I used to rune radio shows Life with Passion and Na Emigracji on Lytham St Annes Radio. I’m also marketing and PR specialist, setting up AP Vision Media in 2014 with bunch of wonderful people. Thanks to my partner I was also able to join the Inkden team and run the Laser Removal Clinic at Inkden Tattoo Studio, which also gives me a lot of satisfaction. This year we also decide to create Northwest Art Point CIC, but that is probably another article!
Tea Amantes is just a piece of me. It’s a project that combines my and my partner’s souls. Fortunately, I have met many good people on the way, we’ve built a really special trust and created a really good team. Plus, Tea Amantes helps me to be closer to my Mum and Grandma because they passed on their love for tea to me. It’s a pure pleasure, believe me, I really love what I do! Sometimes I would just would like to have a few more hours in the day.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I would like to thank Inkden crew and all my friends for their support – without you, life would not be so easy. Especially: Dawn Mander, Kate Yates, Robin Ross, Richard Oughton, Andrew Davies, Dorota Gil, Ewa Świetlik. I would like to thank my partner Shamack, for the years of cooperation and inspiration – it is nice to have common goals. I would like to thank my Mum and grandma for everything that I was able to learn from you both. And of course, I would like to thank you Jill for your time 🙂
Please do come and visit us, you’ll love our Team! 😊
You can find Tea Amantes at:
Tea Amantes – Tearoom & Gallery.
53 Albert Rd,
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