Reading the tea leaves: Watch out for this startup from Siliguri
The world’s second largest producer of tea, India has been blessed with the perfect natural habitat for tea plantations in multiple parts of the country – the state of West Bengal being a prominent one among them. Its beautiful hill stations – Darjeeling and Siliguri – are renowned for its multitude of tea flavours.
Having grown up in Darjeeling, tea was an essential part of life for Parvez Gupta and Punit Poddar. So when the two childhood friends grew up, it was no surprise that they chose a career path in the tea industry. Their brainchild, Udyan Tea, was launched in 2012 from Siliguri. An online-only brand, it was launched on Amazon India three years ago. Udyan means garden, and the name fits perfectly for the brand of tea leaves which are grown in the stunning tea gardens of Siliguri.
The bootstrapped startup is a team of 20 and does the end-to-end procedure of procuring, blending, processing, and packaging the tea leaves in house. In fact, Udyan Tea also provides these services for entire portfolios of over 20 tea planters. “One brand alone can’t cater to the needs of such a huge market. That’s why we create products for other brands,” Parvez tells Day One.
Parvez, an alumnus of University of Melbourne in Australia, had worked as an IT professional in Accenture at Singapore before takin the plunge into entrepreneurship with e-commerce. He joined hands with Punit Poddar, a professional tea-taster, to launch the online tea brand after wide research on the tea market.
“Annually, the market is growing at 30 to 40 percent; so the potential for growth is huge. We have been focused on providing fresh and high quality tea leaves to our customers, and have received only positive feedback. We make it a point to innovate in more blends based on market trends,” says Parvez.
On Amazon India, Udyan Tea currently sells more than 100 SKUs - including more than 50 varieties of tea as well as designer kettles, storage jars, gift packs, tea pot, tea set, tea infuser, etc. “We keep adding new varieties throughout the year. Due to the COVID-19 situation, herbal tea is in great demand. We are launching even non-tea herbal concoctions now,” says Parvez.
Udyan Tea plans to expand to US, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and Europe next. The brand recently launched on Amazon UK as well, and is all set to launch on Amazon US soon.