Crossing “Circles” Tea People

Wenzhuo Liu

Liu Rui, who started modeling at the age of 16, had a very successful modeling career and won numerous awards. Since falling in love with drinking tea, she has opened up a new direction in her life. During her study abroad in London, she worked part-time as a model and accidentally brought tea and tea culture from her hometown of Guizhou into the international fashion circle. Every Thursday, the alcohol frenzy at the “Thursday Club” in London was also influenced by her, and tea parties were held instead. In 2016, Liu Rui founded the tea brand Grass People Tree in London, specializing in Guizhou tea and currently developing steadily.

Liu Rui started working in the modeling industry at the age of 16 and has won third place in the Miss Universe China division and the Most Promising Award in the China Professional Modeling Competition. After graduating from Shanghai Maritime University with a bachelor’s degree in English Art and Design, Liu Rui pursued a master’s degree in MA (Master of Arts) Innovation Management at the Central Saint Martins College of the University of the Arts London. She worked part-time as a model and was active in the international fashion industry, fashion week shows, and filming advertisements and participating in movies. Due to the fact that modeling requires frequent travel, relatively hard work, and irregular sleep patterns. Liu Rui’s parents often bring her green tea from their hometown of Guizhou, hoping that the health benefits of green tea can help her. By chance, while filming for an Italian fashion brand, Liu Rui brewed green tea and shared it with everyone. She still remembers the fragrance of tea wafting in the studio at that time. The first time someone was interested in her hometown, she showed some photos of her hometown, and everyone was amazed by the beauty of Guizhou. A cup of tea opened the conversation box of Guizhou’s cultural exchange. This tea chat lasted only 30 minutes and is still unforgettable to her.

After graduating with a master’s degree, Liu Rui worked in art design and guidance in London. Liu Rui prefers quietness, and she feels that her personality is more suitable for doing tea business. In 2013, she began conducting research and three years later, she established the tea brand Grass People Tree in London, with the focus on inheriting and promoting Guizhou’s ancient method tea craftsmanship and Guizhou’s original ecological local high-quality tea, and sharing Guizhou tea as the main focus of her work.

In the early stages of her entrepreneurship, she opened her tea studio in a shipyard, with measuring 18 meters in length and 3.5 meters in width serving as a tea space for external business. As a foreign entrepreneur, Liu Rui finds it very difficult. She once carried two suitcases of tea and tea utensils alone, and went to two or three tea parties every day to do tea related activities for well-known enterprises. Every Thursday, there is a “Thursday Club” in London, which used to be an alcohol frenzy. Liu Rui uses the gimmick of Thursday tea parties to attract business and build networks. Many people were influenced by her and changed Thursday to a tea party. She also uses the internet for promotion. Recently, her social media has exceeded 10000 subscribers, and her friends in the fashion industry have also helped her a lot. The company is gradually stabilizing.

The organic ecological tea produced within Guizhou Province is her brand’s flagship tea product, with a light luxury positioning and promotion targeting the mid to high end market in Europe. The company’s operating mode is mainly enterprise to enterprise, with a healthy lifestyle of drinking tea as the main focus, providing relevant tea services to enterprises. In addition, there are also activities such as organizing international tea enthusiasts to visit tea mountains in Guizhou. Customers are generally interested in Gongfu tea or culture, with sales mainly concentrated in the UK and the United States. There are people who make contact through the internet, people who enjoy listening to stories, people who are sensitive to specific fragrances, second-generation foreign citizens of Chinese origin who are trying to find their roots, and so on. Statistical data shows that customers are mostly distributed among the age group of 35-55, women, and office workers. Liu Rui understands that modern people with high life pressure hope to have a sense of ceremony in their free time, and tea tasting is a good medium for release.

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