In March this year one of our creative partners Rose set up a brand new business – becoming one of the first manufacturers and retailers of authentic artisan chai latte in the UK. Next month she will be sampling her whole spice blend Aura Chai at our very own Beehive Lofts in Ancoats. Here she shares some insights behind the brand and explains what inspired her to venture away from familiar territory into the hot drinks market.
What made you branch out?
“As a freelance creative you become dependent on your own personal reputation and skillset – which is wonderful in one way, because I’ve been able to build a successful business and varied client base on word of mouth. But on the other hand it’s very restrictive. Because clients are buying into me and the quality of service I provide it’s been difficult to grow beyond the confines of the time I have available to me. I could never really develop or sell this business – but in the future I want to be more flexible as I would like to start a family eventually and be able to take more of a back seat. When the opportunity presented itself it just felt right. I’m a big believer in Law of Attraction and I had lots of signs pointing me in this direction, so I went for it! In business terms there’s a massive niche in the market and the #NotCoffee movement is growing as people look for healthy, quirky alternatives. It is a completely different type of industry compared with what I’m used to, so I do get asked about this a lot as people see it as a slightly unusual step! For me it was just a natural transition.”
“Manchester’s coffee scene is really developing, with lots of speciality coffee shops serving carefully sourced freshly ground beans, often single origin or organic. I felt that an authentic chai latte was what was missing.”
Why did you choose to set up Aura Chai, and what makes it different compared with other brands?
“In late 2016 I went out to Australia for a year to live with my partner. Over there I got very attached to chai lattes – as the coffee shop culture in Melbourne is incredible. When I came back to Manchester I found I was continually disappointed by what was on offer. It was always powdered chai or concentrated syrup – both of which are really not the same as a real, authentic whole spice blend. Sometimes chai lattes weren’t even on the menu. Manchester’s coffee scene is really developing, with lots of speciality coffee shops serving carefully sourced freshly ground beans, often single origin or organic. I felt that an authentic chai latte was what was missing. I had the idea one evening seemingly out of the blue and when I told my partner he was really excited by it and told me to go for it. So I did!”
Is it difficult running the two businesses alongside one another?
“It is sometimes difficult as I’m as busy as ever on both sides – but I’ve become good at juggling my time between the two now! The brilliant thing about both the marketing and copywriting business and Aura Chai is that my time is always fully flexible. I am still focusing much more on the marketing side as that’s where I need to be the most – that’s my ‘bread and butter’. I still love writing and content marketing and would never give it up completely. And whilst I can’t really delegate much as a freelance writer I can outsource where necessary with Aura Chai – so I’m enlisting help on the sales and order fulfilment side of things to help me cope with the demand. It helps of course that I have been able to take care of the content writing and social media and have fantastic contacts and friends who have helped me to set up the website and company as a whole.”