We are two people (Paul and Renee) who live in the city and really like green tea: the simplicity and goodness of it; its heritage and the skill involved in making it; the ritual of drinking and sharing a cup of tea with someone; and the overall feeling of wellness and refreshment it gives you.
The first question we’re usually asked is, how did all this come about? So many things led us to the point of starting Perfect South: affection for the Australian countryside and farming; the desire for fresh, local produce; the need for a healthy drink; an affinity with Japan; a love of beautiful things and simplicity; a commitment to good design; passion for our vices of wine (which is a lot like tea), spirits, and coffee (yes we do drink coffee too); an itch to create a business; and a seed of an idea that formed late on a Saturday night, in an apartment in Sydney’s Inner West.
That idea, after many more nights and days, just wouldn’t leave us alone! And after three trips to Japan, we were well and truly in love with green tea. And when we discovered that tea was growing here, we knew that Australian green tea was the thing for us.
Now, we are city people through and through, and while fantasies of a farm life and mountain air were very tempting, we decided to play to our strengths and stick to sourcing the best green tea, instead of trying to grow it ourselves. We worked obsessively after hours to develop the initial brand concept and product offering. Paul created the design and packaging, and I set about on a journey of tea discovery. I studied to become a certified tea master (and later a tea blender) and in May of 2012 we launched Perfect South.
Our Ambition: to share Australian green tea and ignite people’s love of it.
Our Mission: to make Australian grown green tea famous.
Our Desire: to create and celebrate simple, beautiful things.
People are generally surprised to learn that green tea grows in Australia, and while the industry is young, the product has immense potential, both locally and abroad. When grown in the right climate and conditions, the tea plant thrives in our country, and when processed with skill, care and attention, it’s turned into an awesome and healthy product. We personally felt, when creating Perfect South, that if we could get behind an Australian grown product that’s good for people, good for farmers, and has a low impact on the environment, we’d be happy, we’d have a purpose, we’d do some good, and we’d have what we call a ‘positive product’ on our hands and in people’s cups. So we built our brand on the pillars of goodness, simplicity, creativity, beauty and naturalness. We’re not here to make ourselves famous, we’re here to make Australian green tea famous, and to get more people drinking and enjoying healthy green tea.
Having immersed ourselves in the world of tea, we soon realised there wasn’t much in the way of tea events in Sydney. There were dozens of events for wine, and events for spirits and coffee too. Craft beer even had its own week! Without our own shop front, we questioned how we could get people to try our tea.
Inspired by the thought of a huge public celebration of tea, we took matters into our own hands and with the help of friends from another tea company, we launched the inaugural Sydney Tea Festival in August of 2014 at Carriageworks. In just a few years the event has grown to become the biggest tea gathering in Australia, with up to 80 stallholders, a program of workshops and talks, and thousands of people in attendance. Spurred on by the success of this event, in 2016 we launched the Melbourne Tea Festival, right in the heart of the city.