Teamonk Global, a made-in-India specialty tea brand, was founded in 2016 with a vision to celebrate the idea of a healthy version of 'chai' in India. According to Ashok Mittal, managing director of Teamonk Global, being the most preferred drink in our country, the demand for tea would never cease to exist. He adds, "Our vision is to encourage a cuppa of tea without guilt and any adverse impact on health. Therefore, we started by offering a range of 'Signature Teas' carefully handpicked from the best tea gardens, curated under expert guidance to offer our customers a unique experience, a sense of refreshment, and health and immunity-boosting benefits. This was already becoming a trend particularity amongst health-conscious youngsters."
Teamonk claims to be India's first tea venture offering exclusive quality pure and natural specialty green teas sourced from the finest tea plantations in Darjeeling, Nilgiris, Himachal, and Assam. The tea selection includes exquisite quality Black, Green, Oolong, and White teas curated by tea connoisseurs at Teamonk Global. Most of these teas are exported worldwide and, with growing awareness, are available in India.
Mittal states that Teamonk's product lines emerge from the deep understanding of its audiences and its deep experiences in the tea business. Today, Teamonk offers more than 60 variants of premium teas. He explains, "Our Darjeeling, Nilgiri White and Oolong teas are among our best and top-selling items. The most experienced tea pluckers pick the tea leaves. They are processed and crafted exclusively for us with extreme finesse by master craftsmen and then curated by tea connoisseurs for the finest taste. To preserve their purity, we make sure our teas are free from oils, artificial essences, or additives - just pure and natural teas and ingredients!"
During the last quarter of 2021, Teamonk registered an overall growth of more than 75% vis-a-vis the previous quarter of 2020, the steep rise in growth has been due to a shift in the healthy, active lifestyle. "Understanding this trend, Teamonk launched a unique range of Ayurveda-based green teas to tap into the growing segment of health-conscious customers that include four new premium ayurvedic tea flavors including Triphala, Ashwagandha, Kadha, and Brahmi green tea," says Mittal.
Teamonk range of green teas are currently available online on Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm, Snapdeal, LBB, Smytten, Bigbasket, Teamonk's official website, among others, and will be shortly available on JioMart as well. "We are also looking to launch a subscription-based platform in India to strengthen its presence in the home market," he adds.
Teamonk's strategic alliance
Teamonk's business model is unique because it relies on third-party agencies to bridge gaps in the value chain, from manufacturing to distribution, while focusing mainly on its innovation. The company is in a strategic alliance with three tea processing units in Nilgiris and three in the Darjeeling region. Mittal explains, "Nilgiris being a perennial cropping region, our stocking is minimal whereas, Darjeeling being a seasonal cropping area, needs to stock up during the cropping season to ensure high quality standards."
Teamonk is unique in its procurement, and all sourcing is directly from the plantations carefully selected for their commitment to quality and consistency. Mittal says, "Our sourcing is not a spot buying but through a long-term strategic partnership to ensure long-term sourcing security, prices, and quality. We offer whole leaf teas only in loose and pyramid tea bags that provide space for tea leaves to open fully and unleash the real flavor in a cup. This ensures that the nutrients in the tea leaves are not diluted, and the teas remain fresh, pure, and wholesome at all times."
He further adds, "We source our requirements for green, oolong, and white and black teas according to the set standards wherein, prices are agreed for each variant on an annual basis. Through robust networking, personal contacts and mutual trust, the team can secure finest teas at competitive prices in the market."
Teamonk teas are curated and packed at the packaging unit in Bangalore and sold in the form of tin caddies, cartons, gift packs in loose, pyramid tea bags, catering to the needs of every tea drinker. The company also has corporate gifting as a source of revenue as it has developed attractive packaging options for gifting during festivals or social occasions. Speaking of sustainability, he adds, “We have switched to 100 % biodegradable material for its pyramid tea bags to ensure we retain our premium and environment-conscious image."
Strengthening presence in global markets
Teamonk has grown steadily over the years. After experimenting with offline channels like retail or institutions, it has finally decided to focus on eCommerce as its key channel. The company has built strong inroads in the majority of portals, including its website.
Teamonk's vision is to build a `sourced in India' specialty tea brand with a global footprint. The company's gross merchandise value for FY 2020-21 stood at Rs 10 crore, achieving 50% growth of the previous year. Almost 50% of total revenue is coming from its export to international shores. The company is eyeing a projected gross revenue of Rs 25 crore in FY 21-22 and build 100 crore GMV over the next three years. Mittal adds, "We are strengthening our presence in global markets such as the US and expanding to newer ones UK and Canada. With eCommerce as our predominant distribution channel, we can deliver teas to the end consumer within a short time."
According to Mittal, Teamonk will continue to invest in eCommerce capability, product innovation, wellness blends and manufacturing capacity. "In the next 3 to 5 years, we envision to be one of the top-selling specialty tea brands in the industry. We intend to grow our portfolio and raise more capital to invest in the business, technology, people, and growing the market in FY 21-22. Our team is currently working on launching new variants that would be in line with the new trends. Currently, we offer more than 60 variants of teas across categories, and we can see it growing daily!"