After a tree change saw her move from the fast-paced world of breakfast radio to NSW wine country, newsreader Honor Ridoutt created a gift range inspired by her new life.
Ridoutt ended up in Mudgee thanks to her now husband, who got a job in the regional centre. The pair did long distance for eight months before she made the move from their one bedroom apartment in South Melbourne to their newly purchased 45 acre property.
“After many trips to Mudgee (and visiting endless wineries) I decided to make the move and start my own business,” says Ridoutt. “It took me a while to come up with the business idea, a lot of time brainstorming over endless cups of tea.”
The business she created is Mud+Gee, a line of handcrafted teas that are blended and packaged into glass test tubes using natural ingredients.
The tea blends are designed to relax or uplift and include ‘Frankie says relax’, with peppermint, lime, rose, calendula and blue cornflowers, and ‘Can’t adult today’, which is a mix of green tea, cornflower blossoms, rose petals and sunflower blossoms.
“The tea range reflects my personal journey of getting out of the ‘go, go, go’ approach of the city and learning to appreciate time, space and quiet,” says Ridoutt.
“I’ve spent a lot of time researching the health benefits of the tea mixes and have spent even more time on our back deck drinking tea.”
Ridoutt started Mud+Gee in 2015 with 100 test tubes and her last order was for 5,500. She says this growth has come from taking tiny steps, which allows you to make mistakes without losing momentum.
Mud+Gee launched to trade at Life Instyle Sydney with two new products, a tea tumbler and mini test tube tea gift cards, and Ridoutt says she is a mixture of nerves and excitement.
“Christmas 2017 was my first major selling test and I was flat-out trying to keep up with the demand, so I figured it was time to take the next step.
“Keeping to my 'tiny steps' philosophy, I'm exhibiting at First Instyle to test the water. See if retailers take to my brand and love Mud+Gee as much as I do.”
She has designed Mud+Gee with retailers in mind, and says tea makes the perfect gift. “The whole idea of the test tube is to allow for an easy front counter 'grab and go' gift. A lot of tea packaging is bulky and designed for supermarkets, but the Mud+Gee range is fun, lightweight and eco-friendly.
“A good fit store for Mud+Gee has a similar approach and style. They are keen to be kind to the environment and enjoy having a laugh.”
The next 12 months will be about brand exposure and increasing the range but, true to her new lifestyle, there will also be time for a cuppa on the deck.
“It's about taking those tiny steps, continuing to be creative and remembering to ‘just breathe'.”
By Ruth Cooper