Vahdam Teas, an Indian digital native brand is changing the game of Global Tea Market
All over the world, people have testified to the relaxing and invigorating qualities of tea. The Tea hits differently if you are fond of sipping in your favourite mug in the favourite spot of your house. One third of every cup of tea consumed anywhere in the world comes from India.
India has got hold of grand status on the global tea map. As per the IBEF report, India holds second rank in tea production. After water, tea is the most frequently consumed beverage across the globe. Tea is grown in 16 states in India. Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala account for 95 percent of total production.
In recent years, Darjeeling tea has been acknowledged as the finest tea in the whole world due to its unique flavours which can’t be matched or replicated anywhere in the world. On one hand, demand for Indian teas has always been high in the global market. On the other hand, there was no single home grown brand of India in the global market.
Journey of Vahdam Teas
“Many of the foreign brands are sourcing tea from India and the consumers abroad love the taste of Indian tea. Yet I couldn’t find a single ‘Made in India’ tag on the products. There is a very wrong perception that the number of sales would decline if the same product is sold by an Indian brand” Bala said.
Bala was always passionate about starting something of his own right from the scratch. He didn’t go for any post-graduation in order to focus on his career as an entrepreneur. Bala Sarda turned this perception into an opportunity to create a home-grown global brand.
Being born and brought up in a family of tea exporters, he knew about the various aspects of the tea industry. Post-graduation, he went to his family estates in Darjeeling. He keenly observed the potential of Indian Tea Brand could have in the global market.
Bala Sarda founded Vahdam tea, a digitally native brand in 2015, which ships one of the finest teas and super foods to the world. The headquarter of the company is set up in New Delhi. The customer base of the company has expanded to more than 100 countries. With a total of 175 SKUs, the company clocked Rs 145 crore turnover this fiscal.
It has a solid grip in the market of UK and Europe. In India Vahdam Teas are available on Amazon, Flipkart and Bigbasket. Through its website it works as a D2C brand also.
Vahdam Teas is strengthening its foundation in the global market through digital media with other leading players like Twinings, Tazo, Tetley and Balasa.
VAHDAM has collaborated with the non-profit organization Doctors For You, to crowdfund a global COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to support India during the pandemic.
Huddle of the Tea Industry
Unlike wine or beer, tea is a beverage that loses its taste with the passing time. While exporting tea to other countries, this was the biggest huddle. The supply chain of the tea industry is presently fragmented. Maintaining the authentic taste and fragrance was the biggest challenge to overcome.
Vahdam teas are sourced directly from over 100 plantations within days of harvest. The packaging is done at the state-of-the-art facility and shipped directly to consumers. They cut out the middlemen in this process by leveraging the technology. Vadham provides fresh, high quality tea with its authentic flavour to the customers all over the world.
This supply chain is substantial as the farmers get a better price for their labour. “Our approach globally is digital-first. Our marketing mix consists of ATL and BTL activities, sampling, but the primary focus is digital since there is no spillage.” Bala said.
Stepping towards success
The tea brand is setting examples in the global market by being the only tea brands to be a certified plastic neutral and climate-neutral brand.
It also contributes to the India tea community. It donates 1% of its revenue to the education of the tea grower’s children. It has started a social initiative ‘TEAch Me’ in collaboration with BYJU's.
The brand is endorsed by many celebrities and influencers all over the world including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres , Mariah Carey, Martha Stewart, Chris Pratt, etc.
Vahdam Teas is the only Indian brand to be featured in OPRAH’S FAVOURITE THINGS two years in a row (2018-2019). It became the sole Indian brand to be featured on the US show called Ellen DeGeneres. No paid promotion initiative was done.
Vahdam was awarded the ‘Global SMB of the year’ in 2020 by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Bala, too, made it to Forbes 30 under 30 Asia, 2018; GQ Top 25 Influential Young Indians 2021, among others.
Bala wishes to expand his tea business in India while building an offline existence in coming years.
It plans to develop as a mainstream brand by launching innovative and new products.
“Our brand wheels comprise three things- any category we enter into will be native to India, it should have a wellness connotation and at last it should be focused around tea.” Bala said.
In the pandemic online business has seen tremendous growth. Bala shared that his brand has also reached new heights in online sales and an escalated sale in wellness and immunity-boosting products.