HomeThe InfluencersMy Other Life: The Afternoon Tea Expert

My Other Life: The Afternoon Tea Expert

Introducing a new column, My Other Life celebrates all the wonderful things professional services marketers achieve outside their ‘normal’ working life. 

Eileen Donaghey, the founder of Donaghey & Chance, helps lawyers with their business development and marketing. With programmes tailored to those building their careers and for partners, she has built quite a track record.

But Eileen has a delicious alter ego as the Afternoon Tea Expert.

Eileen, tell us about your other life.
My other life is one where I am paid to drink tea and eat cake. It’s absolutely wonderful and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m known as the Afternoon Tea Expert®.

It sounds delicious. How did that start?
It started as an accident. It was when Instagram was becoming popular that I decided I should have an account that I could use to learn about it and how it is a useful marketing tool. At that time, I was reasonably new to London, so I thought having an account about Afternoon Tea in London would be fun. and So ‘afternoontealondon’ was born.

It was just a hobby for years, but then I started getting invited by hotels to review afternoon tea and to glamourous events. That is when things started to change.

How has it grown?
I’ve established myself as a leading authority on afternoon tea. Who knew there was such a thing! I decided that if I wanted to grow the brand I would need to learn absolutely everything there is to know about afternoon tea. I’ve taken tea exams, read everything about the history and have experience in hosting hundreds of events.

I use a website and social media to promote my services. I think it’s still relatively small, but I have to remind myself it’s quite niche. So far this year, I’ve had around 12,000 impressions on my website and across all my social channels I have 25,000 followers.

I had just launched my event series when Covid hit, so I had to side step and come up with new ideas. I wrote a book during lockdown called ‘A Beginner’s guide to afternoon tea at home.’

How have you grown the Afternoon Tea Expert brand?
I had originally focused on growing my Instagram account to get followers and sell tickets to my events. One day a few years ago, Instagram ‘went down’ and I panicked. I knew I couldn’t solely rely on one social media platform because if it suddenly went out of fashion or stopped working then I wouldn’t have anything. I always say that social media is like your rental property, but your email list is your owned real estate. I have continued to grow the mailing list because it is so valuable to me.

I also used press to grow the brand and regularly appear quoted in articles about afternoon tea or anything related to it. The main thing I’ve done which has made it successful is to be consistent with it. I’ve had this as a side project for years and while it would have been easy to give up, I have kept going. I really enjoy the journey of how it’s going.

How do you use Instagram?
I use Instagram in two ways. I use it to include videos of me so that potential clients can see my style and showcase my knowledge. I also use it because it adds credibility to me, especially now that I have a blue tick on the platform.

Do you consider yourself an ‘afternoon tea’ influencer?
I never thought I would be one, but yes, I would say so. Lots of people contact me for recommendations of where to go in London.

Is it revenue generating?
As a self-employed woman, having multiple income streams is very important to me. The brand is generating a small amount of revenue, mainly through events, advertising on social media and through book sales. I am hopeful that someday it will be my main source of income.

If you had you had to choose legal marketing over afternoon tea, which would win?
I really do love the variety of both. I’m sure no one would blame me for wanting to have afternoon tea in a five star hotel over working in legal marketing!

And we have to ask. Cream teas – jam or cream first?
Oh, tough one. I say personal preference, unless you are in Cornwall or Devon. When I was at Buckingham Palace, we were served cream first on mini scones. If it’s good enough for the late Queen…

Find out more
Instagram – afternoontealondon
Website www.afternoonteaexpert.co.uk
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eileendonaghey/

Matt Baldwin
Matt Baldwin
Co-founder – Coast Communications

Related articles

The Professionals Newsletter