From party caterer to tearoom owner, Stephanie Williams says her business is going from strength to strength.
The Tea Party in Lee-on-the-Solent’s high street opened just over a year ago and has proved a big hit with locals.
The cafe currently ranks second out of 25 restaurants in Lee-on-the-Solent, according to the TripAdvisor website.
Many of the five-star reviews touch on the ‘delicious’ homemade cakes, ‘excellent’ ambiance and ‘smiley staff’.
Stephanie, who started The Tea Party from home four years ago, says good service and freshly-made food is her key to success.
She now has eight members of staff who help to deliver the winning combination of nice people and tasty cake, along with breakfasts and lunches.
‘I started about four years ago as an outside catering company called The Tea Party.
‘We were the first people in Hampshire to offer vintage afternoon tea outside London.
‘The name came from a traditional tea party.
‘The Alice in Wonderland theme is quite common, so that’s why we went for the name. I was working from home and we also did a lot of pop-up cafes and events.
‘We went up to London and provided an afternoon tea at a press launch for a bridal company.
‘There were people from Vogue and the Daily Mail and bridal magazines and they all loved the afternoon tea.
‘We did that and did a lot of big catering events. I have been in the shop for 15 months.
‘Now we do children’s parties with Alice in Wonderland and Frozen themes.
‘People come back to see us because they get really lovely service.
‘We give good service and every time we get a review, either on TripAdvisor or on the dedicated Facebook page, people do say about the quality of service. The girls are friendly and it is a personal service.
‘Our cakes are good, too. We have a couple of local people who do supply homemade cakes.
‘They use recipes which are exclusive to us, so they are not generic – you wouldn’t find them if you went to another cafe down the road.
‘We have things like Oreo cakes, coconut and lime, courgette and lime.
‘There are loads of different things that we do.
‘The business has grown. I have got lots and lots of very loyal customers and we have got nearly 3,000 people following us on Facebook now.
‘We get some really lovely reviews about the service and the food.’