This woman turned her interest in Chai into a business and earned million dollars.
01st, April 2018 - Featured entrepreneur
Selling a chai is considered as low dignified job profile in the Indian scenario. However, Brook Eddy proved it to be wrong when she turned her Chai business into a multimillion-dollar business.
It all happens when Brook Eddy, hippie women visited Indian during 2002. In 2002, after listening to an NPR story on Swadhyay, a social change movement originating in India, Eddy packed her bags for South Asia. "Swadhyay seemed like this really cool movement that 20 million people were practicing, but no one had heard of," says Eddy, who has a master's in social policy. "At the time, I was asking myself questions like, how can we make our nonprofits stronger? Can we make businesses more like nonprofits?"
Her research brought her to villages across Western India, where she quickly fell in love with the flavors and aromas of the country's favored drink: chai. She soon became an aficionado, able to distinguish one varietal from another, noticing no two cups were the same.
Back from India, entrepreneur Brook Eddy went looking at several Colorado cafes for tea that tasted the same as what she had in India, but without luck. She did not give up. If she could not find it, she would make it herself.
Moreover, so in 2006, Eddy started making a concoction that she called "Bhakti Chai." She stuffed gallons of the tea concentrate in the back of her car and started selling it to people.
In 2007, she began selling mason jars of her one-of-a-kind infusion out of the back of her car and soon gained a following, often coming home to find $10 bills on her kitchen counter from friends and family for the missing jars in her fridge.
She says "I realized the recipe I had crafted for myself, a fiery fresh ginger chai, could be produced for cafés and retailers to bring people not only 'India in a cup,' but build a mission-driven company on the tenants of bhakti," she says, using a Sanskrit term that means devotion. An entrepreneurial journey had begun.”
Her website claims the iced Bhakti Chai's fresh ginger and spicy masala flavor has gained a cult following. Soon the home-made product can be found at some coffee shops in Boulder, Colorado.
Since launch, she has raised a total of $10 million through angel investors and private equity firms. In 2011, Eddy launched the ready-to-drink cold box sets, which helped secure national distribution. Now, 26 employees brew, package, and market chai concentrate, which are natural, organic, and fair trade. All the ingredients come from outside the U.S., including her "special sauce"-- 300,000 pounds of organic ginger delivered annually from Peru.
Eddy, a single mother of twins, was among the top five finalists in Entrepreneur Magazine's "Entrepreneur of the Year" award in 2014. This year, her company's projected revenue is $7 million.
Turning Indian spices into conscious dollars, Eddy has become a principal translator in this industry. "I want customers to say, 'Whatever Bhakti does it is amazing because I trust them. It's going to have a soul,'" she says. "So maybe someday it's sauces or chutneys or snacks or food or a brick-and-mortar concept. Moreover, maybe the pulse and the vibration of India will come through somehow. I want that to be the legacy." Source
Website: Bhakti Chai
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