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The time has come to spill the tea on what’s been brewing the past year…

For the past year we’ve been working with the brilliant branding agency – Neworld Associates. We wanted to create a stronger identity, brand and voice for Vintage Tea Tours. We loved our product but always knew we could improve.

After meetings and workshops and strong tea and gin an identity was forming – it was nostalgic yet playful. It was an afternoon tea experience that brought guests on a trip down memory lane, it was an afternoon tea experience where you didn’t have to be on your best behaviour, it was afternoon tea the Irish way.

On one of these meetings we were presented with a page of scribbles and sketches. A particular one caught our eye – it was a lady tilted back in her chair, head back laughing, throwing her tea. One of Neworld’s designers Glenn had sketched and sketched and sketched her until she was perfect. We loved her!

a close up of text on a white surface

After the logo and name change our brand identity was becoming clearer and clearer.

As you may know our two buses are named after Karen’s grannies. Pauline was our first bus and it was Karen’s granny Pauline who inspired the whole thing. There was always tea and cake on the table and the door was always open for chats whether you were the postman or the pope.

 It was this nostalgic idea of the old Irish kitchen where everything centralised around the kitchen table, where tea and chats prevailed and where the worries of the day dissolved. This is what we wanted to bring on board to Vintage Tea Trips. There is gentle gossip about so and so, traditional tray bakes and Barry’s tea. The kettle is always on and all are always welcome. It may be highfalutin but it’s an adventure, it may be pandemonium, but it’s civilised. It is after all afternoon tea the Irish way.

There was one thing, however, that was central to this nostalgic idea. Something that was and is still in all Irish households; although it may no longer hold what it was initially intended for.

a screenshot of a cell phone

That other thing that flooded our memories when we spoke about this nostalgic Irish kitchen was the iconic biscuit tin.

All Irish homes had and still have one. Once a home to biscuits that would be saved for the visitors but once all eaten, they took on a new life as a tin for buttons, for sewing kits, for kitchen utensils, the list goes on.

We loved their mismatched qualities from the bright colours to the metallic shine, the different fonts and quirky characters. They were beautiful and they were inherently Irish. In one of our meetings with Neworld Associates we were presented with the idea of our bus becoming a biscuit tin on wheels. We were sold.

Rachel Corcoran, an Irish illustrator, drew up and brought to life our very own characters. They totally encapsulated everything Vintage Tea Trips was

a close up of a piece of paper

Like everything else our characters are inherently Irish. We have a red squirrel, a deer, a hare and an Irish wolfhound. Glenn, a designer from Neworld drew up the bus and positioned our characters in place.

More meetings and visits to the bus began with another company Freeneys Graphics. These were the guys tasked with the arduous job of stripping, fixing, painting, polishing and wrapping the bus in all its new glory. To say they’re the best in the business is an understatement. We won’t lie though, up until this point it was just pictures drawn up on laptops and ideas not yet fixed down. Once we had agreed on a date and Liam our driver left with the bus for Freeneys there was no going back. This was it; the bus was changing; we couldn’t hit delete.

Kitty was first to head up to Tallaght to get her makeover with Tom Freeney and all his team. She was away for over three weeks getting not only the exterior done but also the interior. From wallpaper finishing’s to new tabletops Kitty got a complete overhaul.

We went up for the big reveal (video coming soon) and were blown away. We were giddy with excitement but had just a sprinkling of fear. We needn’t have worried!

a yellow school bus parked in a parking lot

It was a long road with tough decisions, long meetings, endless cups of tea and sleepless nights but we are so proud of every decision we made that brought us to where we are today with Vintage Tea Trips.

We aren’t finished just yet either. Pauline, our other bus, also needs to be repainted. There are brochures, flyers, history booklets and business cards that need to be redesigned in our new branding.

As a small business these were very expensive decisions to make but we knew in our heart of hearts it was the right thing to do. Our only goal was to enhance our experience for our guests; to transport them back in time and to give them an experience they’d never forget.

In the new year, when we’ve saved some more, Pauline will be painted and the new flyers, booklets etc will also be redesigned.

We cannot wait to welcome you all on board our new Kitty. If you see us on the streets of Dublin be sure to wave!

a yellow double decker bus parked on the side of a road

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