My name is Athena Bruton, I’m from Ireland. I live in Bulgaria and created an organic herbal tea company Balkan Pantry.
What inspired you to join the natural health sector?
I wanted to share the incredible quality Balkan nature has to offer with people back home in Ireland.
Where did you get the idea for your brand?
When I would visit food markets on trips away to the mountains, I would come home with bags of loose herbal teas with different benefits, but making a pot of tea at home in the evening was a messy and time consuming process, mixing the different herbs (still on branches!) My partner and I thought there must be a more convenient way to do this and Balkan Pantry was born.
What makes your brand unique?
The teas are harvested and handpicked in the purest mountain regions of Bulgaria from high altitudes reaching up to 2000 meters. The teas are hand-blended in small batches for freshness and quality, and then packaged with care in a facility at the foot of the mountains.Each tea has been blended by a Naturopath, to support specific health related areas such as the immune system, balance the skin and support a restful night's sleep.
What are your company’s core values?
We only work with local producers we trust,who are equally as passionate. We use organic botanicals, meaning no nasty toxins or chemicals. We use 100% recyclable packaging. We’re still on a journey to improve our packaging and will continue to examine more innovative options on the marketplace, as they become available.
How do you support your community?
I work with a family run business in the valley of the mountains of Bulgaria, who in turn support local farmers and workers in the region.
What has been the most rewarding part of your brands journey?
The most rewarding part of Balkan Pantry has been bringing the idea into fruition and getting to share it with people back home in Ireland.
What in your opinion makes Irish brands unique?
Irish people are very supportive and give great feedback.This motivates us brands to keep on innovating and improving, and bring the very best to our Irish customers.
What is your favourite product from your brand?
It would have to be ‘Glow Skin’ tea. Cleaner beauty is becoming more and more mainstream, products are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and I wanted to create a tea to complement that. The aim is to take your skincare from within by drinking herbal tea, for double the benefits, not just applying products to the surface of the skin. The tea has been specifically blended for anti-ageing benefits, as well as to balance, hydrate and heal the skin. Fun fact, all of our teas can be served as an ice tea perfect for summer!
Tell us about something that has shaped your brand?
There is an ever increasing awareness and movement towards healthier lifestyles, as we search for cleaner, better quality alternatives. This is something that was really important to me when creating Balkan Pantry, and something I personally look for when shopping for products. I wanted to create a tea brand that was ethically sourced, with the quality to match.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I would like to expand the product range in the future and share even more of what the beautiful Balkan nature has to offer.