Hope & Glory: Nina Chudasama
The serial entrepreneur talks about how her heritage inspired her to create a luxury tea brand for this 'nation of tea lovers'
Name: Nina Chudasama
Company Name: Hope & Glory
Location: South East
Date Launched: Late 2015
No. of employees: 5
Tell us what your business does:
Our vision is to create an internationally recognised premium British tea brand experience. As we say at Hope & Glory – to tea or not to tea, quite simply, is never the question.
We believe that the tea you take should always be top notch. Our ethos is to bring excellent teas and extravagant tea experiences to our nation of tea lovers, all across the country.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
It all began as a mobile coffee business, Cupcakery, in 2012. We were about to launch an expansion across the South East when we were challenged by a friend on bringing our own history into the brand and focussing on tea. Given that coffee has become a saturated market and teas was all about our history.
So we revisited our branding, and considering our British Indian heritage, Hope & Glory tea was born!
How did you know there was a market for it?
We conducted a lot of market research. We visited gardens and experts, inc. packers, auctioneers, garden owners, industry leaders, tea consultants, tea-pickers, tea-houses across Asia – India, Sri Lanka and China.
We also learnt a lot from employing and engaging with our sommelier, Angela. We spoke to UK industry insights– the one market growing in tea was specialist teas.
What were you doing before starting up?
My early career was in IT. I worked as an IT consultant for many blue-chip organisations. Then for the most part in the last 10 years, I’ve concentrated on being a mother to our 3 children.
During that time, I also began running a pilot business called Cupcakery, as a proof of concept for 1 of the arms of the Hope & Glory business model.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, in many ways, it’s always been a dream to have something special and although we have other business ventures too, Hope & Glory is really taking the boldest step.
We’ve invested a lot of our own blood, sweat and tears into making this brand and getting it to where we are today.
That is the scary part and you make a lot of mistakes along the way and learn a lot about yourself in the journey.
How did you raise the money?
We were lucky to have our own savings that we were able to invest into the business and then we were fortunate that family and friends supported us.
That is a great testament of why it is so important to have the right people around you to give you the support, confidence and encouragement you need to make a business work.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Our tea brand is available for consumers and the public to enjoy from various touch points – online, through to various POS locations in premium stores and through B2B partnerships.
We want to provide consumers with a chance to experience a premium tea brand at events, while also providing a geographic footprint for the brand using tuktuks and franchising our business model.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
1. Raising seed capital.
Despite all the supposed publicity on supporting small businesses, in general, banks and government small business grant groups’ attitude/criteria to supporting new businesses has been alarmingly poor. Especially when you consider small businesses are the growth life blood of the economy.
They want to remove all risk for them by asking for such a significant security stake that it makes no sense at all.If you didn’t want their help you wouldn’t come to them and they don’t want to help you. There are exceptions to this.
2. Optimising cash flow – you realise how critical it is to get past the 1st 12 months.
3.Creating a brand requires some serious cash injection – do not underestimate how much. Add 30% on top of what you calculate!
4.Finding the right people to work with
5.Keeping focused on your strategy – not being distracted by opportunities in the short-term that may not be aligned to your long term plan and damage your business.
6.TCUP – thinking clearly under pressure – dealing with pressure and making the right decisions
7.Social media is critical cog in your business machine in creating a brand.
What was your first big breakthrough?
We are working on some exciting deals currently which we hope will build into something and we can announce soon enough. Watch this space…
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
As said above, find the right people to work with you and keep focused on your strategy – do not get distracted by others.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
To see a mind-set change towards having premium tea everyday (like wine!) from consumers, establishing Hope & Glory tea brand as the nation’s favourite and can be seen as a beacon of entrepreneurial success as an international British brand.
We hope to always have a happy, content family life with a business that is stable