How Lipton Grew From a Childhood Dream into a Tea Empire

You’ve probably tried Lipton tea. Now it can be found on the shelves of any store, and the number of different tastes is impossible to count. The popular tea company was born from a little dream of a man named Thomas Lipton. Here is the story of his success.

Lipton’s signature yellow packaging immediately attracts attention and is associated with good inexpensive tea. Quality and affordability – this is what the founder put at the head of his business. And he was right. Today, the brand’s products are popular in more than 150 countries. Where at least 4.5 billion liters of this wonderful drink are drunk annually. How did the history of the tea empire develop?

Childhood dream

It began back in 1848, in Glasgow, Scotland. The future owner of a huge company, Thomas Johnston Lipton, was born into a grocer’s family. In addition to him, the parents had several more children. They all worked part-time in the shop. Little Thomas especially liked it. He had the makings of a businessman since childhood. First he helped his family, then he started working in a textile factory, and then got a job as a sales assistant at a local store. The boy considered all these part-time jobs to be training before starting his own business. He noticed how this or that company works, adopted valuable experience and made grandiose plans.

But the guy also dreamed of distant countries. Therefore, in his youth, Thomas became interested in navigation. He went as a cabin boy to the ship. And at the age of 14, without money and a ticket, he went on his first long journey – to America. This voyage became fateful in the life of Lipton. The thirst for travel helped him become a man who built a super-profitable business.

In the United States, Thomas did not immediately find himself. He began by working on tobacco plantations, rice fields, and other low-wage labor. For 4 years, the guy tried many positions and settled on a grocery employee in New York. Working there has become a very valuable contribution to his business strategy. Thomas learned all the intricacies of organizing his own business, advertising and sales.

First steps to success

By the age of 21, Lipton had gained experience and amassed a good fortune. It was enough to open the first grocery store at home. The owner was selling, buying, and promoting at the same time. Thomas did everything alone. He did not trust intermediaries and bought goods directly from manufacturers. Carrying out the duty routine, the young man dreamed that it would someday bring him huge profits.

And so it happened. Four years later, he already had 20 stores across Scotland. Things were going very well, all that was needed was loud ads. Thomas approached this creatively. The artist hired by him decorated shop windows and counters with bright drawings. And the employees laid out the goods in the form of interesting compositions. At the entrance to the shops, visitors were greeted by posters that were difficult to pass by. This is how the recognizable flamboyant style emerged that brought the Lipton chain to prominence.

Big achievements and awards

Thomas Lipton has been creative in all advertising campaigns. Glorified his “cheese action”. For Christmas, the businessman ordered a huge round of cheese – at that time the largest in the world. He put a circle in front of one of the shops and offered customers a free slice of the largest cheese in the world. There were so many interested parties that the profits from the sales that day covered the cost of cheese many times over. And customers loved the brand even more.

Even in critical situations, Thomas did not lose his enthusiasm and entrepreneurial streak. Once he was sailing on a ship, accompanying a large consignment of goods. But the load was poorly distributed. Because of what the ship began to sink. To keep it afloat, the sailors were forced to throw several bags of tea overboard. The businessman was not taken aback. To prevent the product from being wasted, he used a clever advertising move – he wrote the slogan: “Drink Lipton tea!” As a result, those on whose shore this valuable catch was washed recognized Lipton’s name.

To draw attention to the brand, the owner took part in the America’s Sailing Cup on numerous occasions. His yacht never came first, and Thomas was awarded the title of “loser of honor.” But this did not upset the entrepreneur. On the contrary, he believed that his goal had been achieved – the name of the company was constantly heard. So, at 35, the “tea businessman” already had his own stores, warehouses and packaging factories both throughout Europe and in the United States.