How this Sibling Duo is Brewing a New Age Tea Story
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Who doesn’t love a lovely cup of tea. And we all have our favourites by now, with tea companies offering a gamut of choices, right from the kadak masala chai, to the healthy green tea, to the refreshing lemon tea.
Even though India produces some of the finest tea samples growing in the hills of Darjeeling and Assam, most of it is reserved for export market by tea-estate owners who sell it in bulk. Most of the exotic variety of tea bags and leaves seen on market shelves are either by two or three of the big tea companies, that have created an oligopoly in the market, or from foreign brands that have repackaged the produce from India and are selling it at a much higher premium.
Bridging this gap between the tea producers and consumers, is sibling duo Rohan and Rahul Sirohia who hail from Kolkata’s Sirohia family, that have been in the tea business for decades. The brothers decided to turn some of their high quality produce from the family estates into a range of flavoured tea line under the Goodwyn brand, which has served over 124 million cups of the beverage till date.
Turning from Legacy to Modernity
Giving a legacy family business a new turn is always a challenge, but knowing the strength of their company, which is high quality produce, it wasn’t as difficult for them to figure how they would give it a modern touch.
“Selling in bulk is very different from selling in branded lower denomination packets. It always struck me as to why we can’t brand and market our own high grown teas. I wanted to create a brand where we could serve our teas to the end consumers directly,” says Rohan who started the brand in 2011.
The business model for a product based company is fairly simple, but single brands always find it a challenge to position themselves to consumers amidst the competition. To not solely depend on a single stream of revenue, Rohan decided to make their products available both directly to consumers as well as B2B partners.
“We deliver freshest teas direct from our estates in exquisite packaging . We are one of the only brands to pack teas directly at the tea estates as well ensuring authenticity & freshness,” says Rohan.
In a relatively short span of time, since 2014, Goodwyn has amassed a sizeable clientele in the B2B sector and a loyal consumer base in the B2C sector. Their B2B clientele is spread all across India extending to UAE, UK and Australia mostly catering to Hotels, Cafes and corporate clients.
The FMCG challenge
Although the Indian market has a huge consumer base, product-focused companies in the FMCG sector find it difficult to make their mark among the big players. The tea business is no different where most of the market is dominated by the Tatas and Unilever with various brands under them.
“Establishing a brand is a big challenge. It’s a very long process, just like nurturing a baby. Competing against FMCG giants with premium pricing & low branding visibility was the biggest challenge," says Rahul who joined his brother in 2014 to run the business.
The duo however, understands the value today’s consumers attach to personalisation and innovation and feel their brand resonates for both.
“We understand the mindset of next generation & our strong product procurements acts as a big backbone to our brand. We compete against age old brands which are being challenged by technology & innovation," says Rahul.
The Road Ahead
Procurement of high produce is definitely the strength of this company which has access to tea estates spreading across 6000 hectares with a capacity of over 7 million kgs. But, the duo wants to penetrate even further, and set goals for quicker deliveries.
“We have had 100 % growth in the last 2 years and shipped over 124 million cups of tea till date & we are targeting reach Rs 20 crore turnover in the next 18 months,” says Rohan. “ We are also focusing on e-commerce partners & having our own retail stores across India," he adds
The Foreign Facade
Addressing the issue of foreign brands trying to woo the exotic and flavoured tea market, the duo believe consumers will appreciate the quality and freshness of locally packaged tea that is economical yet high on quality.
“Foreign companies today are selling Indian grown teas in India, as well as globally. India has the highest consumption of tea & I feel new age tea brands like ours will be the future of the Indian tea sector,” says Rahul.