#7 Things to Keep in Mind Before Starting a Tea Business
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One of the oldest beverages, Tea (Chai) is a highly and widely consumed beverage in the world. But before I opened my tea business, I spent countless hours speaking to lawyers, accountants, and other entrepreneurs trying to figure out next steps. Save yourself countless hours -- and the possible headache of making a huge foundational mistake -- by getting these seven things straight before you start up:
Understanding Camellia Sinensis- The Magical Plant
The whole of tea business depends on the magical plant called Camellia Sinensis which produces over 1000 varieties of tea. Anybody who aspires to set foot in the business needs to study about the plant. Various types of tea such as Yellow Tea, Green Tea, Black Tea, Puer Tea, Oolong & White Tea are all harvested from it. What makes them all different from each other the processing method involved in their production.The truest way of gaining knowledge about this plant is to actually visit tea estates and interacting with the farmers. Personal experience can surpass any kind of information you’ll come across in books or even the internet.
Realize Your Core Competency
India is the 2nd largest tea drinking nation after China. Naturally, thanks to the ever growing tea culture, numerous brands are cropping up. A key step is to identify how your tea brand is different from the others. Apart from this, weighing in other key factors such as the potential of premium tea market, expected profit margins, price points, all play a role.
For TDT, my father has created tea blends that set us apart from our competitors and are bound to introduce a new wave of tea drinking culture in the country.
Identify Your Audience & Marketing Approach
90% percent of houses in India consume tea but does that make everyone your target audience? Wrong. Your audience and consequently the marketing entirely depends on your brand’s offerings. Various factors that drive premium tea consumption in India are how easy the tea is to make, disposable income, increasing health awareness, willingness to experiment, and aspiration to stay fit. For TDT, we realized what resonates with our teas the most and this led us to decide the audience and a marketing plan to drive brand awareness and sales.
A crucial part of both logistics and marketing- your product’s packaging can play a major role in influencing consumer decisions. Packaging directly hits the 5 senses of a human being and can significantly contribute to your brand’s sales. It comes as no surprise that manufacturers today are annually spending over $150 billion in product packaging, globally. According to a report, I came across recently, 52% consumers look at repurchasing your product if they like the packaging and 90% prefer re-using product’s packaging.
Procurement and Storage of Teas
There is a serious amount of backend work and logistical support needed to ensure the success of your tea business. While it’s important to find the right teas from the right estates, procuring them and having them shipped to sell in India can be all the more challenging. For example, there is 110% percent duty levied on green teas. Also, the customs authorities in India are not well-versed with the different types of tea. This makes them suspicious and the procurement process al l the more difficult.
Once the teas have been shipped here, it’s crucial that their storage is done carefully to ensure that they’re not infested with insects. A lot of teas, especially mint carry a tendency of getting infested quickly.
Education of Internal Audience and External Audience :
As a founder, it’s important to be well aware of the above-mentioned points, but what’s even more crucial is to educate your team as well as your consumers. Let them share the vision that you have for the brand. Education about teas, whether it’s about how they are grown, how they’re brought home, how they’re stored, how they’re brewed and consumed, etc. How well your internal and external audience is aware of your strengths will directly impact the sales.
Passion fuels resilience and provides you with the ambition to learn and strive to become more competent at what you do. Most importantly than anything else, it affords you the ability to focus. It is my father’s passion which led him to switch from his diamond business to teas at the age of 52, made him climb mountains, take up a tea blending course and changes the face of tea drinking in India. If you are passionate about improving your skills, and about acquiring the emotional reasoning to keep your chin up during the downs, then you have a shot at loving your job because winning is fun.