– An Entrepreneur’s Journey to Revive Ancient Indian Tea Traditions.
Seven Spring is an Ahmedabad-based premium tea brand founded in 2020 by Sejal Purohit with the aim of reviving ancient Indian goodness and natural purity. The brand offers 24 variants of premium teas made from natural ingredients sourced from around the world, and includes tea bag and loose tea options across different tea categories such as Infused Teas, Green Teas, and Black Teas. Some of the popular teas offered by Seven Spring include Black Currant Hibiscus Tea, Blue Pea Ginger Fennel Tea, Tusli Turmeric, and Mango Muesli Peppermint tea, all of which are available in different packaging and prices. Sejal’s passion for tea, business acumen, and goal to share the love of fresh premium teas with tea drinkers globally set her apart as a tea entrepreneur. We are publishing an interview with Ms. Sejal Purohit, Founder of Seven Spring:
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Please share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem.
Ans: We discovered a flaw while learning the business from the ground up. We discovered a gap when we discovered that major tea companies produced plastic sachets. Teabags are made of a plastic polymer called polypropylene or an epoxy resin called epichlorohydrin to ensure that they retain their shape in hot liquid. As a result, they are extremely harmful to the environment because they contain elements that are harmful to the ecosystem in the long run. Furthermore, due to the plastic content of these teabags, they will not decompose completely.
It is now the responsibility of businesses to incorporate methods to reduce their environmental impact, and of consumers to invest in eco-friendly goods and services.
As an initiative towards a greener Earth and safer environment, we as a country need to take conscious decisions. A step towards that we put all our resources together to come up with completely biodegradable, compostable and eco-friendly packaging. 9 months of tough research and hard work got us our perfect outcome.
Q.: Please tell us about the founders
Ans: I am the only founder of Seven Spring. I am a passionate entrepreneur from Ahmedabad. I am an academic scholar who was bestowed with a degree of MBA in Human Resources and Finance Management from the prestigious Strathclyde University, Scotland. My education and family background sowed the seeds of business sense in me, and I understood the golden principle: “for the human and by the human business.” My stints with Morgan Stanley, Barclays, the National Australian Bank group (UK), and Monarch Net Worth Capital Limited were the initial stepping stones towards my dream of becoming someone who adds value to mundane urban life and lifestyle.
I, myself, follow the Satvik way of living and came to a realization that ultimate happiness can only be attained when the mind and body are sound.
Seven Spring Tea is the result of an exceptionally disciplined way of life and my passion for tea with a dream to be part of a healthy and prospering society.
Q. : List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles – How you see them evolving over time. What would be each of their Skill Sets? – Elaborate also if any of the team members have specific domain expertise.
Ans: I would like to avoid naming my team members.
The core roles are:
Marketing head, responsible for crafting strategies including Digital, Advertising, Communications and Creative Preparing. Also, efficiently manages monthly, quarterly and annual budgets for the marketing department.
Finance head creates forecasting models, assesses risk in investments and ensures all accounting activities comply with regulations.
Accounts team head oversees all activities of the accounting and tax accounting departments and is involved in the supervision and management of general accounting activities, analyses, business partnerships, and the maintenance of effective internal controls while ensuring statutory compliance.
Operations head designs policies, oversees customer service and implements technology solutions.
Sales head manages and oversees the sales operations in an organization. Also, the role includes designing plans to meet targets, developing relationships with clients/customers, and evaluating costs for selling products and services.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. How did you get your first customer? Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: Our first set of products was a line of 12 power-packed flavoured loose-leaf tea. We saw that the market was filled with all kinds of tea but all with artificial flavours. They weren’t even serving the purpose they claimed. Health-conscious users needed more specific goal-oriented solutions for their health concerns. What better than a brand that believes in the goodness of nature, works on Ayurveda, operates on high nutritional and motivational values and wishes to give the tea exact health benefits? Hence, our brand saw an opportunity and grabbed it. Thus, the birth of Seven Spring.
We got our first set of customers through social media. We made optimum use of the platform and promoted our products mainly through Instagram. We got many Diwali orders in bulk.
We observed that our well-educated and self-conscious customer base had what they wanted especially in this segment. We saw an opportunity in the online market and leveraged it. We made all our products available on platforms like Amazon and made our own website too.
Q.: What is your USP?
Ans: For me, it is the uniqueness that our products bring to the table full of flavoured tea. The potential health benefits of green tea can also vary based on the brand you choose, as well as the way you make it. We wished to solve the purpose of drinking green tea or infused tea tactically. People consumed these teas because it is loaded with nutrients and plant compounds that can have positive health effects. The benefits included better immune system support, improved brain function, improved dental health and a lower risk of arthritis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. We tried to work our way around these and come up with teas that aided in preventing health hazards which is what helps us stand apart.
Having said that we all know that our Indian taste palette is very different from the rest of the world. Seven Spring as a brand understood this and came up with flavours that were for fellow country people inside out. Our flavours tantalize the senses in the best way.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have?
Ans: When we entered this market, we thought one of the ideal customers would be five-star hotels, their cafes and restaurants. We take pride in successfully tying up with 35 five-star hotels that include Pan India Novotels.
Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it?
Ans: We wouldn’t call it a failure but rather a learning that helped us take a step forward. Whenwe launched our first product line, we wished to offer the most natural form of tea to our customers with loose-leaf teas but it wasn’t a cut for the Indian Market. We found out that it was highly inconvenient, especially for corporates. Due to latent demand, we then decided to launch tea bags as our second line of products. Our learning from all this was that if a brand wishes to sustain itself, it is better for it to always make things that are viable and convenient.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it?
Ans: We are into the premium model of pricing and have tried to remove maximum channels to make our product the most price effective. We have done proper research on the pricing of other existing products in the market and what they offer as compared to what we offer. The removal of middlemen and channels has given our customers direct access to us and our products. They also get to leverage comparatively reduced costs.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: Ours is a bootstrapped company.
Q.: Is there any interesting success story of your startup? If yes, please write about it.
Ans: I was blessed with the opportunity of being a mother. During my journey, I gained 30 kgs (from 60 kgs to 90 kgs). Like every other mother, I also got busy with raising my newborn and later realized that I needed to shed some pounds to feel like myself again. I had to come out of my lethargy and become fit in order to keep my family healthy too. Also, I wanted to break the stereotypes of only the male counterparts of the family leaving behind a legacy for their children. Why can’t a mother do that? I was in all such dilemmas when a Eureka moment happened and I thought of starting this brand to turn my challenges into opportunities. The epiphany of wanting to feel like me was followed by a strict Yoga and Satvik diet regime. Being a skilled tea connoisseur myself, during this time, I started making tea concoctions for myself. These helped me balance my hormones, and stay active and up all day. I was astonished to see the results and the eureka moment came into the picture! I thought that if I can benefit so much from these teas, why not spread this knowledge around and help others with Nature’s gift? That is when Seven Spring happened!
Q. : What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: We wish to work on our topline and branding. At the moment, our focus is on B2B and online channels. We are most definitely planning to collaborate and tie up with more than 200 five-star hotels but that is the bigger step. We believe in baby steps before the big leap. Success and the completion of our vision will be a part of the journey that will take place organically. We also wish to have a strong online presence. Also, we are working on Omni-channels.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: I feel competition is good as it’s an ecosystem where everyone can grow and take the country to great heights. A healthy competition with Business Competitors should be nothing but inspirational. Knowing where you are, how far from your competition, and either catching up or leading is all that it should be. I feel monitoring competition gives you many benefits, among them is the opportunity to learn from them. It’s important not to downplay competition. You might learn to adopt new technologies or business strategies to stand out from your business competitors or even identify cues to grow. In the long run, you will be smart, insightful and self-reflective. Greater competition means we can prove our worth in a sea of similar products. With every type of product available in the market, our purity and use of natural ingredients are what make us different.
Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months? Any other information you would like to share?
Ans: As mentioned earlier, our goal is to penetrate 200 five-star hotels in the coming 4-6 months. Moreover, we wish to promote our company’s completely compostable products in the market vigorously.
Q. : What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: I would like to call out all my fellow entrepreneurs forward to keep up the business eco-system for our end users.
Having said that, I cannot stress more; the fact that today’s world is hectic, people busier, and achieving the perfect work-life balance seems far-fetched. According to me, the perfect work-life balance is a cycle, not an acquisition.
While I understand that a job is important, never make it your entire life. An unhealthy work-life balance disrupts your physical and mental health. Also, productivity goes for a toss. It is very important to understand that all of us have 24 hours alike but where you utilize and channel your energy is what matters.
When I talk about work-life balance, not everything has to be about completing and achieving the task, it has to include something that refreshes your mind, soul, and body. One way to do that is to identify what exactly is important to you: the tasks and human list. Once ready, draw firm boundaries around and allot time. This way you can devote quality time to those important people and work. Isn’t as simple as it sounds, but worth a try!