This month we speak to Twickenham resident Premdeep Grewal about his online tea business, Cuppa Chai.
When, and why, did you start your business?
I started Cuppa Chai during the first lockdown in 2020, after finding myself unemployed and unmotivated. Starting a business involving Indian tea was always something I’ve had in the back of my mind, and the pandemic was the drive I needed.
What challenges did you face when setting up?
I didn’t have a clue where to start! I’ve never done anything business-related before, so it was a case of figuring things out as I went. Defining what differentiated my brand from the others was one of my biggest hurdles.
So, what makes Cuppa Chai different from other brands?
Everything you need is expertly blended into one bag. I wanted to make the process of brewing your chai, which is most likely new to many people, as simple as possible. Each bag of chai contains the perfect ratio of high-quality Assam tea leaves, and my masala spice mix. It’s as simple as one teaspoon of Cuppa Chai per cup!
Tell us more about the flavour…
My masala spice mix (‘masala’ meaning blend of spices) includes a mix of aromatic green cardamom, sweet cinnamon, fiery ginger and warming cloves. Not only is the smell alone incredibly enticing, but it’s also packed with health benefits. I grind the whole spices by hand, for maximum taste and freshness, which have plenty of antioxidant, digestion promoting and anti-inflammatory properties.
What’s your most popular service or product?
My sample bag of chai. It’s only a mini 30g bag, but it makes 6-8 cups, and is perfect for people who are new to chai and just want to try it out.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I still work a full-time job (I’m an Account Manager for a Digital Advertising company, and I really enjoy it!) but the best thing about spending all of my free time on Cuppa Chai is that it never feels like a chore.
What valuable lessons have you learned?
No one is going to care more about your business than you, so if you don’t absolutely love the product or it isn’t yet perfect, then you can’t expect other people to love it either.
What advice would you share with other small businesses or those thinking of starting out?
Do your market research and figure out who your competitors are, and why you’re different. Most importantly, all you need is an idea, motivation and ambition and you can start anything.
What are your plans/hopes for the future of the business?
I have so many aspirations! I want to expand my product range; I’m working on Chocolate Chai, as well as herbal health blends. I want to develop my packaging so it’s more eco-friendly. Getting into physical shops is also a big ambition.
Name some other local independent businesses that you love to support.
I love Sidra for the freshest middle Eastern food! Baseri Barber Shop is a great spot with talented hairdressers, as well as the hard-working team at corner shop Fulwell Local.
What do you love about our local area?
Twickenham has the best of everything. It’s far enough from London to feel switched off from the hustle and bustle but is easily commutable with great transport links. The variety of open spaces and parks is amazing in summer.
And finally, tell us a little-known fact about yourself!
I got married this year! So, starting Cuppa Chai, whilst living through the pandemic, job hunting, and struggling with wedding postponements (three different wedding dates in total) was stressful at the best of times!
Social media: @cuppachai.official
Compiled by The Word Sanctum,
Copywriters for small businesses.