Tea is more than a necessity in our lives. Any mood, any place, any time...tea clicks! When it is a good cup of tea, the feeling is "THIS is it!" Since it’s not always possible to get that perfect blend, we turn to our chaiwalas to satisfy the craving. Here's a story of one such chaiwala
who is serves more than 1.5 lakh tea every day. Meet Amuleek Singh Bijral, Founder of Chai Point.
During his MBA days at Harvard Business School, Amuleek was convinced that he’d become an entrepreneur. "I wanted to be involved in building a strong and honest consumer brand." But what that brand offering would be, he wasn't so sure about. He started his career in a technology company in India, though the thought of setting up his own venture never left him.
We are all very particular about our tea breaks at our work place. And so were Amuleek's colleagues, who would leave office premises in groups to have tea at a nearby tapri as a daily routine. Amuleek realised that most of the large office hubs did not have tea joints. It was then that he decided to look into the world of tea; a 30,000 crore market that somehow did nothing or very little in delivering a quality cup of Chai to the end consumer. "This gap excited me then and it does even more so now."
Consequently, Amuleek resigned from his previous job as a country manager, and Chai Point saw its first micro hub in Bengaluru in April 2010.
"I was convinced that a last mile access focus on Tea would work. I realized that it was a problem that customers expected someone to solve. Also having studied and lived abroad, I could see that Coffee category had the same situation (much less adverse in fact) before Starbucks came along 40+ years ago and gave shape to last mile access to Coffee."
Reactions from Friends and Family
Amuleek, hailing from Jammu & Kashmir, was that kid in the family who was an expert in tea-making. He would make tea for visiting relatives who would love his brew while chatting away. When he told his mother about Chai Point, she would jokingly ask him why he wasted money and time at Harvard when he wanted to be a chaiwala! But, Amuleek's friends and family also had enough faith in him to know that he was not blindly jumping into it and had given it some serious thought.
"I was a mature professional when I took this decision. My family especially my parents appreciated that I was taking a serious risk but nevertheless had confidence in my ability to bounce back or correct course. That faith from my parents side was pivotal in my being able to relentlessly go after this goal of building a Chai brand."