When I packed up and moved to Southeast Asia in July (still can’t believe it’s now nearly November!), I headed to Bangkok to meet Kevin. He’d already been there for about a month, but had recently transitioned over to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Of course, I’d already booked my flight to Bangkok by the time he made that move, so he just flew back to meet me when I arrived.
Wise move: Bangkok was a nice transition to Phnom Penh. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a crazy huge, crazy busy city, especially downtown, where we were staying, but it was certainly more like “home” than Phnom Penh. Anyways, we spent around 4 days in Bangkok, and did lots of various sight seeing. This, naturally, included going to malls. Downtown Bangkok is choc-full-o-malls: expensive malls, western malls, discount malls, small malls, enormous malls, super local malls, technology malls, you name it.
This is just a long-winded way of saying: I went to Bangkok and I went to a mall and I saw something that I thought was pretty darn interesting.
What was this? A TWG Tea Salon. I don’t have photos from that moment, but here are a few things I picked off Google Images that give a sense of what their signature Tea Salons look like: fancy, like tea-with-the-Queen fancy, but positioned in an open space in the middle of a mall. See below:
Kevin and I were really into the idea of this place. My reaction? “Wow, Twinnings has tea salons in Asia?? That would play SO well in North America!”. For weeks we talked about how much we liked this idea, how we were surprised Twinnings hadn’t opened something like this in Canada, and how we wanted to see if we could get the rights to open one of our own in Canada. I mean, come on. Twinnings? The favourite tea of the Canadian Motherland? How could that not be a success?
A few weeks later, Kevin and I went to Manila, and found another of these delightful tea salons. In need of breakfast, we decided to sit down and eat there, instead of just ogling it from outside.
Sitting there in a Tea Room in the middle of a mall in Manila, we noticed the following
1. This is kinda weird – it feels like we’re on display
2. This tea room looks fancy, but I can see un-fancy mall stores and people all around me
3. Everything is labelled TWG – how exactly does that translate to Twinnings?
Spoiler Alert: it doesn’t.
After thinking and talking about this place for a month, we realized that we actually had no idea what we were talking about.
TWG stands for The Wellness Group – a Singapore based company that imports teas from all around the world. Not connected to Twinnings.
And yet, their branding seemed so similar – that yellow? TW? Seriously? It was a serious *mind blown* moment for us when we realized that TWG and Twinnings were totally separate companies.
Anyways, there’s a TWG Shop in Times Square, and there’s also one in Phnom Penh, so I guess TWG is slowly but surely creeping around the world.
When it reaches London, is Twinnings going to have something to say about this? I’d be calling my lawyer if I were them.
Check out photos below of Kevin and I at TWG in Manila, including photos from their TWG Menu. A few feet away from their Tea Salon, they also have a Tea Shop, where they sell packaged teas, tea pots worth thousands of dollars, and other TWG merchandise.