tea and sympathy

ceremony - contemplation - reflection

emma byrnes, tea and sympathy, melbourne photographer
emma byrnes, tea and sympathy, melbourne photographer
emma byrnes, tea and sympathy, melbourne photographer
Refining the imagery for Melbourne-based brand  Tea and Sympathy.  Photographs by  Emma Byrnes

Refining the imagery for Melbourne-based brand Tea and Sympathy. Photographs by Emma Byrnes

It was a couple of years ago that Anna of Sweet Polka and I worked together on the branding/imagery for Melbourne-based brand Tea and Sympathy. 
After recently refining the T & S marketing strategy Anna requested from me a new series of images for the brand that needed to evoke the following - Ceremony. Contemplation. Reflection.
Our mutual friends - James aka SuperMelody and Pauline aka Popcraft - had the perfect home setting to evoke this message. A lifetime of collecting and curating heirlooms plus an intrinsic sense of colour and style meant that props and setting were more-or-less taken care of. And James and Pauline have huge bursts of teal green in their home and this so happens to be the flagship colour for T & S. So it was a no-brainer - combine a workday alongside a much-loved collaborator for a wonderful local brand and a visit with dear friends - bliss!

tea & sympathy

A banner image from the new Tea & Sympathy website. Photograph by  Emma Byrnes.

A banner image from the new Tea & Sympathy website. Photograph by Emma Byrnes.

Earlier this year Anna from Sweet Polka approached me to work alongside her on the online rebranding of local tea artisan Tea & Sympathy. Anna would be responsible for the overall art direction of the project plus the word-smithing and I would generate the photographic imagery, design the look-and-feel of the new website and then rebuild the whole thing in Shopify.
Tea & Sympathy stocks a limited, hand-picked range of premium leaf teas - from classic blends, to many interesting bespoke Chinese and Taiwanese teas not otherwise available in Australia. Angelina Yannuccelli who founded the brand sees the range as an extension of her own personal tea odyssey and immersion in tea culture.
I first met Angelina when she established the brand back in 2012 so I was aware of the knowledge and passion she applies to her business and the calibre of the range she offers. When I visited her old web site I realised that it did not reflect the authority and perspective that she had garnered over the past five years in the tea business. The site was full of great information but it was cluttered and disparate, having been added to in a piecemeal way over time.

A banner image from the new Tea & Sympathy website. Photograph by  Emma Byrnes.

A banner image from the new Tea & Sympathy website. Photograph by Emma Byrnes.

 We decided to simplify the user experience and elevate the imagery to a standard that matched the quality of the tea for sale. Anna and I spent an afternoon photographing images to create a general mood for the brand - we wanted the feeling to be tangible yet sophisticated to reinforce the brand's authority on teas whilst reflecting the personal touch that Angelina brings.
We would also streamline the way the individual product was presented by photographing the teas in ceramic bowls provided by local homewares wholesalers - Marmoset Found. I must say this was a very pleasurable experience - spending the day with Angelina and her encyclopaedic knowledge of her range, visually honing in on each tea as a separate entity and observing the colours, textures and smells. 

Chrysanthemum flower tea  in beautiful ceramic bowls by  Marmoset Found.  Photograph by  Emma Byrnes.

Chrysanthemum flower tea in beautiful ceramic bowls by Marmoset Found. Photograph by Emma Byrnes.

Once the imagery was finished I built the site and Anna edited the copy. And, as of last week, it is out in the world ready for the next stage of the brand's growth.
I wish Angelina all the best with Tea & Sympathy. Having worked with her I understand that the motivation behind her brand comes from a passion for excellent product and supporting artisan growers and small family farms in tea-making traditions that have been passed down over the centuries. Wonderful!

Em x

PS - If you are in the market for specialty tea my favourite whilst working with Tea & Sympathy was the Jasmine Pearls - just sublime.