Jyoti Bharadwaj launched a health drink brand in 2019, which supplies a collection of unsweetened, flavourful beverages that are based on Ayurvedic principles.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Being a mother itself is full-time work, but with passion, the right support system, and determination, women are capable of achieving great feats. My family has played a key role in helping me set up and grow the business.
There was no need for me to persuade my mother-in-law (Dr. Urmila Pandey) at all as she has always been very supportive. She gave me my first cheque for TeaFit which was over Rs 10 lakh. My mother-in-law is a Ph.D. holder and used to be a professor. Sadly, she had to resign from her job because of family responsibilities. In my opinion, if her year of birth were different, she could have been a game-changer!
Tell us about your journey and what inspired you to get started?
Ours was a diabetic household – both my parents were diabetics for as long as I can remember. Which meant that we had no prior exposure to the beverage category. All beverages, including juices, colas, and everything in between, contained excessive amounts of sugar.
Then in 2015, I was in Japan for a few months. The stunning range of tea and drinks made from Japanese herbs with no added sugar were a complete eye-opener. Japanese households bought these by the gallon and swore by its benefits.
Tea Fit products contain 0-4 per cent sugar and 0-17 calories. It is healthy because it does not contain sugar.
Japan's traditional drink is barley tea. It is used to improve digestion and skin health. The children in China, Japan and Korea love it. In addition, TeaFit Glow can be used by people with diabetes or trying to avoid sugar.
Tea Fit Glow contains Ayurveda herbs such as Moringa and Ashwagandha, Tulsi and Goksha, which work together with their anti-ageing abilities to reduce stress. Ageing can harm the skin.
Peach Ginger Green Tea aids in weight loss by increasing metabolism. It is good for people with diabetes and helps to reduce obesity.
What has been your proudest moment?
We can proudly say that customers across age groups love us. 50 plus age group is more conscious of their health due to advancing age and goes the extra mile to take care of their health. We have a significant percentage of our repeat customers in this age group.
Younger customers love our green tea because it’s calorie-free and delicious. It helps with metabolism and maintaining health goals. Many young moms are repeating customers for this product.
Our barley tea is popular with all age groups.
What are some of the biggest challenges you faced or are facing as an entrepreneur?
Our most significant obstacle as a self-funded start-up was marketing as we didn’t have the big bucks to spend on massive campaigns.
We turned to our customers for word of mouth, reviews, and referrals, other frugal marketing innovations to spread the word. We used to work and continue to do so with influencers (not paid) who truly believe that TeaFit would be a good fit for them – that includes badminton academies, leading tennis players, and other wellness influencers.
Being endorsed by well-known retail chains was a stroke of luck for us. In India, there's no better way to establish the credibility of a brand than having a presence in a respected store. A lot of these retail stores, luckily for us, invited us purely based on the merit of the product and the passion of the individuals behind it. This helped our discovery and D2C conversion in a big way. Over 25% of our D2C customers have tried us at a retail store and then repeatedly bought directly from us.
What’s coming up in the world of TeaFit ?
Our short terms goals are to:
- Increase reach and distribution of TeaFit across the Indian subcontinent.
- Identifying like minded, purposeful start-ups to collaborate with
- Finalizing the next line of products currently under development
- Expanding the core team
- Achieving 95% positive feedback from customers & 80% repeat customers
- Community Outreach – We are committed to becoming a brand with a voice in our community. From COVID 19 related relief work to city beautification projects, TeaFit is at the frontlines supporting with resources, people, and of course, unlimited amounts of TeaFit. We also deeply believe in fostering the local education ecosystem – we actively work with colleges in Mumbai for talks, live projects, industry internships and case studies,
- Planet Love – All our bottles are made from 100% recyclable PET, and boxes from recycled paper. We are committed to ZERO single use plastic in brewing and packaging. We work with leading recyclers for waste recycling at our plant. Even our leftover teas, grains and herbs go back into the soil.
Our long term goals include:
- Becoming a voice for building a healthier India through preventive nutrition
- Achieving 95% positive feedback from customers & 85% repeat customers
- Identifying export markets for TeaFit since the drinks have a global palette and appeal
- Reigning in and optimizing costs at scale
- Identifying strategic partners and patient & socially responsible investors to grow with
- Developing a line of unsweetened Ayurvedic beverages for children
- Strengthening community outreach. Supporting yoga, sports and fitness in the local communities across India. Identifying specific needs of communities that we have the resources to address and make a meaningful difference in.
- Supporting alternative packaging material research – TeaFit is committed to making products that are good for you and good for the planet. We are committed to developing/ support development of sustainable packaging material for CPG industry.
Most importantly, how has it been working with your mother-in-law?
My mother-in-law is not involved in day-to-day business much, but provides moral support and acts as the guiding light. She drives me like she would drive her own ambition. That’s what I get from her…unbridled ambition to chase my dreams.
Checkout TeaFit: https://tea.fit/
Connect with Jyoti: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bharadwajjyoti/
Hope you enjoyed reading this blog-post!
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