How did the idea of getting into the tea industry come about?
I come from a family that has been in the tea industry for more than 50 years, I had great exposure to some very good teas. But in all the time I spent outside India, I never got the same kind of tea. I realised that by the time the tea reached the end consumer, there was complete deterioration in its quality. The Indian tea industry is around two centuries old. Unfortunately, it is not a simple garden-to-cup equation and a long supply chain featuring a network of intermediaries, including auction houses and exporter wholesalers, leads to inevitable degradation in the freshness and quality of tea. The idea was to bridge this gap and ensure that tea consumers, no matter where they are in the world, get access to the freshest teas. When I came back to India in 2011, I realised that no one had focused on that part of the market. So, I decided to create a direct-to-consumer brand, and that’s how Teabox began.
What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
When we started a few years back, everyone laughed at us. We were trying to bring Indian teas directly on a global level by connecting them to a global customer base through a D2C ecommerce platform. As this was a completely new idea then, literally everyone thought it would fail miserably. And today, after having shipped more than two billion cups to customers worldwide in 117 countries we have achieved what we set out to at the start. Our partners today realise that through us they are able to get a brand visibility which earlier they were not able to get directly in front of a worldwide customer base. It took a lot of effort and persistence for us to be able to change them. I remember in one instance, we have had to visit a plantation about 18 times for them to be able to share their teas with us. Today, they work exclusively with us. It took a long time for us to be able to break those barriers.
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