For many tea is the first and last drink they have in a day and for a good reason. Depending on the blend, a good cup of tea can give you the energy you need to get through your busy day at work, make you feel comfortable during a cold and rainy evening at home and even prevent illnesses.
If they are also produced organically, are sugar free, have no fake sugars or flavours added and are produced locally, then it ticks all the boxes for me.
I have recently discovered one such tea brand in Malaysia. It made me completely ignore all other big tea brands that you can find in a supermarket. The brand is called Tea Bird Tea. Not only are their blends delicious and comforting in taste, they also come is a flashy and colourful reusable container that make me feel like I am staying in a 5-Star Hotel every morning when I open my cupboard to make myself a cup of tea.
Find out more about Tea Bird Tea and its creative founder Ashleigh Cotterill in this interview.
What inspired you to start this business?
It all began in Australia where the wellness trend was steadily growing. Australians started to become more health-conscious. During that time, I began to grow herbs and vegetables that are good for different parts of the body and used them for tea. Soon, I had people asking me about the health benefits and what they needed to do to in order to grow their own teas in their backyards. Since the demand was obviously there, I thought I would create my own health focused, organic tea brand.
Before launching my brand first in Sydney and at the Gold Coast, now here, I worked with a nutritionist. Based on her valuable insights, I came up with 6 original blends. I did not stop there, however. As someone who has worked in Marketing for many years and with a background in art, I know how important the packaging is. I therefore spent a lot of time designing the packaging for each blend.
What makes this brand successful?
Simple answer? Customers. It does not matter how big or small your company is. You have to listen to your customers and make everyone feel special and valued.
Since you started your business, what was your biggest challenge so far?
The ongoing pandemic is definitely the biggest challenge for my small business so far because the number of in-store buyers dropped tremendously during the months that we are spending in lockdown.
I was forced to cut costs wherever possible while making sure that I continue paying our suppliers and in-store promoters. That was important. I also tried growing my online presence.
Another challenge was the maintenance of my supply chain. Fortunately, I found a good solution and started stockpiling raw ingredients in larger quantities and use them as and when new batches of tea had to be distributed to the supermarkets.
Which markets have you already reached with Tea Bird Tea?
We are proud to have been able to reach customers in Ireland, England, America, Mauritius, China, Malaysia and Australia. Of course, we won't stop there.
Where do you get your ingredients from?
I get ingredients from different parts of the world including Australia, Sri Lanka, India, China and Malaysia. For example, I am currently working on a durian based tea. The durian comes from local farmers. The production is also handled here in Malaysia. Our factory is in Melaka.
What differentiates your tea brand from others?
Tea Bird Tea is an organic tea brand that started a few years ago in Malaysia. I am obsessed with getting the most out of natural ingredients and thus maximising the health benefits in every blend.
My teas are chemical free and all natural. That includes our tea bags. Many commercial brands use a type of glue to seal their tea bags. We use tea bags made from cornstarch and they are sealed with heat. You can also use each one of our tea bags twice. Just add hot water once you have finished your first cup.
Aside from that, we also put a lot of work into the packaging. We want to make them as attractive as possible. I studied art and design in university and really enjoyed creating these loud and colourful designs for each blend.
My goal is for our customers to keep them openly on their kitchen worktops and enjoy interacting with our brand every morning, lunch and evening times. There are different blends for different times of the day.
I want to make everyone feel special.
You have categorised your teas under cleanse, energise and digest? Could you elaborate a little on each category?
Our body has different needs at different times of the day. Our blends have been created based on a Morning, Noon & Night concept. Each one of our creations falls into one of these categories and aim at helping you feel more relaxed, energised and comfortable throughout the day.
Morning – Choose from Liver Detox, Green Tea or Dandelion to wake you up and get your liver and kidney’s working.
Noon – Choose either Sweet treat Vanilla Rooibus, Ginger Snap Immune Booster or Alkalizing PH to reduce acid.
Night - Choose from relaxing Lemongrass & Ginger, Overnight Colon Cleanse or Mint digestive to refresh your digestion and stop bloating after your evening meal.
Our teas are made to make you feel good throughout the day.
Which tea blend is your favourite?
I love all the blends that we have created, especially the sweet tasting ones. The four blends that I drink daily are lemongrass, ginger snap, vanilla rooibos and earl grey.
What's next for Tea Bird Tea?
I love Tea Bird Tea and how it makes people feel every day and while distribution is important to us, I am a designer at heart and I want to develop more complimentary designs and products to support our range. We are always looking at new flavours and reasons to drink tea so definitely more flavours, more gifting and accessory options.
Really though the most important thing for us is that we are continuing to deliver a high quality product at the right price on a consistent basis to our existing customers and to our new customers in the future.