LK02 – Sir Thomas Lipton

Stitchers: Anne Findlay, Gail Ford, Gill Cochrane, Rebecca Trengove, Alison Aiton, Christine Hulbert, Carol Evans, Isla Evans, Jennifer Evetts, Sue Armstrong, Agnes Jeffs, Kate Ballantyne, Trish Gordon, Alison Reekie

Thomas Lipton (1850-1931): Shopkeeper, Entrepreneur and Yachtsman. We have all sipped a cup of Lipton’s tea, but how did the boy from Glasgow’s Gorbals become a multi-national businessman and a world renowned brand? America and Sri Lanka were highly influential. Lipton set off for America in 1864. There he was introduced to American enterprise culture and salesmanship. When he returned to Glasgow in 1869 he began establishing a chain of shops designed to tempt the customer – the goods were brought out from behind the counter, the store was brightly lit and he advertised the goods to ensure that Lipton’s became synonymous with the place to buy your groceries. In the 1880’s tea was fast emerging as a new product. Going to Sri Lanka, Lipton realised he could undercut tea from China. By 1890 he had purchased his own tea gardens taking control of the whole supply chain from ‘tea garden to teapot’. But, he had more tea than his shops could sell, so he began marketing tea in America and the worldwide brand we know today (now owned by Unilever) was born.