Chiki Tea is a Japanese green tea cafe and online retailer
specialising in premium grade matcha and loose-leaf teas, shipping
worldwide from Japan. Founder Holly Helt went on an IconicShift
mentoring programme to turn an idea into a global
Bringing the enchantment of Japanese tea to people
around the world
Chiki Tea started as an idea and a PowerPoint presentation.
Coffee culture is on the rise, but many people who enjoy the
experience are actually looking for a healthier alternative. Holly
Helt was convinced green tea was a great solution, but most of what
arrived in the western world was lower quality and not prepared
A second problem was that this was an industry in trouble in
Japan - only one per cent of Japanese tea is exported, but its
western looking youngsters want to drink coffee in a modern
environment - they don't want to drink 'Granny's brew'.
Taking Japanese tea to the Japanese
Holly started on the IconicShift mentoring programme in December
2012, Chiki Tea was founded in May 2012 and the company moved to
Japan in May 2013.
"IconicShift helped to move Chiki Tea from a PowerPoint to a
reality - I was out of my depth when I first started, I just had
the idea and the passion. I used IconicShift to gain clarity and
direction - and that was just priceless."
Chiki Tea opened its first café in Nakatsu - taking Japanese tea
to the Japanese and giving them a western cafe experience, but with
green tea. This first café was proof of concept and a 'safe' place
With an image built, fanbase created, customer data collected
and with the support of the Japanese government, Chiki Tea closed
its first café to raise funds for a new larger café in nearby
Chiki Tea plan to use the new café as a springboard to expand
across Japan and in five years move the concept to the UK and
"It was exhilarating to be on IconicShift. IconicShift gives you
clarity, which leads to confidence, which gives you influence
because people listen to you. A lot of entrepreneurs also don't
realise the emotional challenge - it's incredibly challenging and
the tools from IconicShift really helps us as a team.
"Had it not been for IconicShift I absolutely would not be CEO
of Chiki Tea, it's as simple as that. The tools are very easy to
implement - the roadmap, the architecture, the perfect pitch - are
all so clear and easy to understand. Anyone who is embarking on a
new adventure, a 100-year game plan needs these tools."