How did you get to where you are today?
I started my career in advertising and then moved
into television with the BBC where I was responsible
for selling programme rights to fund BBC programmes.
I had always dreamt of running my own business and
my inspiration came on my daily commute from my home in Bromley, Kent, to the BBC. I don't drink coffee but I love tea and found that it was a real struggle to
get a good cup of tea on my journey to work. I decided
to set up an upmarket mobile tea bar which I started
in 2000 with the help of the Princess Youth Trust and
a Business 2000 loan. I had a fleet of bars at four stations. On a visit to the US in 2002 I discovered chai latte - a spice-based tea from India. I started selling this in my tea bars but changed the business concept into Drink Me Chai.
Tell us a bit about Drink Me Chai?
Drink Me Chai, an upmarket range of chai beverages aimed at the young café culture, was formed soon after my discovery of chai latte. The mobile tea bars I originally set up were eventually wound down and I secured a listing for chai latte in Tesco soon afterwards. Chai latte
is a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, black tea, milk
and sugar and we have two varieties - spiced and
vanilla. The products are also available in Waitrose and some independents. Our sales have increased by 30% since 2005. We are a small, dynamic company with
only two employees.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently overseeing our national sampling and marketing campaign. We are also gearing up for the launch of a new product, Drink Me Chai Light, which is a low-fat spiced chai available in sachets. It is set for launch in November.
What are your plans for 2006 and beyond?
I would like to widen the range with new flavours and secure more listings for our products. The multiples know about us and our two original products have been really successful. We would love to be considered for a listing so that we can increase our distribution. My aim is for Drink Me Chai to be the number one instant chai latte brand in the UK and Europe, in the catering and retail markets. Wherever there is a gourmet coffee menu, we would like Drink Me Chai to be offered as the alternative to coffee or other hot beverages.