Meet the MD: Katherine Swift, OMGTea

Meet the MD: Katherine Swift, OMGTea

As well as being the tea guru at OMGTea, Katherine has also founded the Healthy Life Foundation, to fund research into age related disease. She explains what links the two things.

What is it the company does?

Brighton-based organic matcha green tea company - OMGTea provides premium grade Organic Matcha Green Tea. We sell the highest-grade matcha available in the UK, sourced directly from premium matcha suppliers in Japan. Our matcha is graded, but even the lowest grade we sell is a higher quality than any other brand’s finest offering, setting us apart as the only premium matcha company in the country.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

I am the CEO, Founder, and all round Matcha guru at OMGTea. I am also the founder of ‘The Healthy Life Foundation’, a charity that funds research into age related diseases with a mission of helping people to live healthier lives, for longer.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I founded the business after my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Desperate to help in any way I could, I set about researching alternative therapies and supplementary treatments to aid in my mother’s battle, and discovered information about cancer-fighting antioxidants found in Japanese matcha green tea. I immediately bought some and began drinking it with my mother, and after seeing how rapidly she felt the benefits, I became passionate about spreading the miracle of matcha to a wider audience. And so OMGTea was born - named OMGTea as the matcha really gives you that ‘OMG!’ feeling.

I’m also the Founder of the Healthy Life Foundation - a charity which funds research into age-related diseases. OMGTea supports the foundation and together they’ve raised over £500,000 to support such research.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

I believe that having a substantial level of emotional intelligence is incredibly important when it comes to being a great leader. Leaders must have passion, tenacity, integrity, good communication skills, and especially, a bucket load of positive-tea.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Time management. Eek!

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

I get my hands around a cup of Matcha tea and spend quality time with my children and family. Practising yoga, moving my body and concentrating on becoming more mindful, alleviates any stress that I may have. Stress is natural when you’re running your own businesses

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Lots of things, popstar, air hostess, nun!!!!

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

Negativity. A culture of positivity needs to be bred in the workspace. Everyone should feel comfortable, relaxed and in a non-judgmental and non-gossip orientated space.

Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

I am on a mission to make OMGTea a loved household name, with brand equity and the go-to Matcha tea brand in the UK. More imminently, I’m excited to announce the launch of our three-revolutionary ready-to-drink iced matchas, in Original, Citrus and Mint flavours – the ideal solution for a healthy lifestyle, on the go. Priced at £2.95 each, these on-the-go matcha miracles store the matcha powder separately from the purified water, allowing consumers to simply twist the cap to release the powder, and then shake and activate the matcha for a fresh, convenient drink that keeps 100% of its health benefits. We hope this to be.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Have resilience.

Life is full of setbacks, developing a thicker skin is essential to brushing yourself down and getting back up after a blow.

Be innovative and creative.

Entrepreneurs have to have creative and nimble mindsets. Creativity is what entrepreneurs build their business’s on.

Be the hardest working in the room.

The best entrepreneurs never shy away from hard work. To build a strong work ethic kids need to learn the value of hard work.

Have self-confidence.

If you believe in yourself other will follow and be inspired by you including your kids!

Be optimistic.

Visualising a better world and working to make it happen will cultivate and encourage positive thinking - giving back is a big focus of OMGTea and will be an inspiration too.

Be passionate.

Business leaders need passion for their work if the business is going to succeed.

Get help.

Use as much free support as you can, because there’s loads out there! ‘Entrepreneurial Spark’ was a huge support to my business. It’s a business accelerator that took me from being a health evangelist into a business woman.

What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?

The only thing would have been to forgive yourself, as you aren’t always going to get it right and very often making mistakes, is the best way to learn. Also, it’s been vital even from the very beginning, to never give up. Keep up the commitment, passion, and drive and you will get there.