Vah­dam Teas takes ‘ TEAch Me’ ini­tia­tive

TAKES ‘TEACH ME’ INI­TIA­TIVE

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - RITWIK MUKHER­JEE

VAH­DAM Teas, an up­com­ing on­line tea brand, funded by Fire­side Ven­tures, Mum­bai An­gels, Sin­ga­pore Angel Net­work and a few undis­closed in­vestors, is work­ing on to pro­mote it­self as an iconic made in In­dia tea brand in the global mar­ket on the ba­sis of ef­fi­ciency of its dis­rup­tive sup­ply chain. The brand con­cerns for the farm­ers and their fam­i­lies and pa­tro­n­i­sa­tion of a truly eth­i­cal and fair trade prod­uct, said Bala Sarda, founder, Vah­dam Teas.

Sarda, who hails from a fam­ily that has been into tea busi­ness for more than 80 years now, said that the com­pany has just come up with an ini­tia­tive called “TEAch Me”.

The com­pany, through this ini­tia­tive, is pledg­ing 1 per cent of its rev­enue to­wards the ed­u­ca­tion of the tea farm­ers’ chil­dren.

“We aim to fa­cil­i­tate qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion of these chil­dren, start­ing from the age of 14 till the time they ac­quire a de­sired, sta­ble form of em­ploy­ment. Our farm­ers, like any other par­ent, also have as­pi­ra­tions of their prog­eny hav­ing a bet­ter chance at life than them. Vah­dam Teas sim­ply wants to hon­our that as­pi­ra­tion,” said Sarda.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, Vah­dam Teas sources its Teas from 150-200 pre­mium tea plan­ta­tions across Dar­jeel­ing, As­sam, Nil­giris, Arunachal Pradesh, Kan­gra in Hi­machal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nepal. The com­pany has worked hard to stream­line its sup­ply chain where it doesn't have to waste time shuf­fling the tea be­tween mul­ti­ple mid­dle­men. This in turn, means that the com­pany is able to ship its teas in the short­est pos­si­ble time.

“Vah­dam Teas stands out from other brands as within 24-72 hours of the tea be­ing har­vested, it pro­cures the pro­duce and gets it at its state-of-the-art ware­house in Delhi where the tea goes through a se­ries of qual­ity checks and is then blended or flavoured. The tea is then stored in large vac­uum-sealed bags in a tem­per­a­ture con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment to en­sure that the fresh­ness of the tea is in­tact. And based on con­sumer de­mand we fur­ther pack them in sim­i­lar vac­uum-sealed packs be­fore ship­ping them off to their re­spec­tive lo­ca­tion. And that's how we make this up­com­ing iconic tea brand reach the cus­tomer,” said Sarda.

The com­pany also sources sev­eral lim­ited-edi­tion ex­otic teas from a few gar­dens which suit the lik­ing of a tea sa­vant. The White Teas, for in­stance, which the com­pany sources, are grown in very lim­ited quan­ti­ties, hand-rolled by trained tea ex­perts. These are highly sought af­ter by con­nois­seurs around the world. They also fetch much higher prices than other vari­ants, he said.

Vah­dam Teas sells more than 125 vari­ants on its plat­form. These in­clude de­lec­ta­ble sin­gle-ori­gin Spring. Sum­mer and Au­tum­nal flushes from Dar­jeel­ing and As­sam, lim­ited edi­tion Teas from Nil­giri and Kan­gra and a myr­iad of in-house blends which might be spiced or be a mot­ley of fruits. It also of­fers ex­quis­ite va­ri­eties of green tea, Oo­long Tea, White Tea and a whole range of up­lift­ing Her­bal Teas or Tisanes.

Vah­dam Teas’ strate­gies are pay­ing off as well. It has al­ready found mar­kets in as many as 85 coun­tries in­clud­ing the US, the UK, Europe, Ger­many, Rus­sia , Italy, China, Tai­wan, South Korea. In­ter­est­ingly, the US is the com­pany's fo­cal mar­ket ac­count­ing for more than half of the rev­enue. The com­pany, over the last 18 months, has grown seven to ten times and plans to keep the mo­men­tum, said Sarda.The com­pany has also lined up plans to re­in­force its ware­hous­ing and lo­gis­ti­cal fa­cil­i­ties in var­i­ous global lo­ca­tions to cap its ship­ping costs, he added.

Also in the pipe­line from Vah­dam Teas’ sta­ble is a line of sin­gle-serve, loose-leaf Tea bags, for sev­eral of its vari­ants, which have been in pop­u­lar de­mand in the US in the re­cent times.

The com­pany is pledg­ing 1 per cent of its rev­enue to­wards the ed­u­ca­tion of the tea farm­ers’ chil­dren

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