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Published on: Dec. 13, 2021, 10:59 p.m.
Vahdam’s premium offerings
  • Vahdam procures teas from over 100 of India’s tea gardens from Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiris and Kangra

By Suman Tarafdar

Indian tea is largely consumed domestically, is priced to cater to the mass market, and is still significantly in the unorganised sector. Well, a number of new tea brands have been challenging this long held status quo; perhaps none more than Vahdam. A relatively new entrant, which began its journey in 2015, Vahdam has recently raised Rs174 crore in a Series D funding round, taking the total investment raised to Rs290 crore. Vahdam’s revenue for FY21 was Rs160 crore and it is targeting Rs500 crore in revenue over the next three years.

Several reasons have been ascribed by the industry to this quick success story, not the least of which is savvy marketing. According to founder and CEO Bala Sarda: “Vahdam is a very uniquely positioned brand and has captured a wide space in the market. In addition to offering a great product, it has also differentiated itself with its unique brand story. It has been making available an exceptional quality product under a sustainable brand story – consistently.” Vahdam has garnered endorsements from popular American celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Mariah Carey, Martha Stewart and Chris Pratt, amongst others.

Sarda’s desire had always been to take Indian tea to the global market. “India grows 25 per cent of the world's tea and in addition, herbs, spices and superfoods like turmeric, moringa, ashwagandha, tulsi and giloy. Turmeric is one of the most trending and high growth superfoods. India produces 80 per cent of the world's turmeric. All of these products come from India, but no home-grown Indian brand was actually taking it global.” So far, Vahdam has been shipped to over two million consumers in over 130 countries and is now India's largest home-grown premium tea & superfoods brand, says the company.

Of late, there has been a spurt of new tea brands – Tea Trunk, Teabox, The Hillcart Tales, No. 3 Clive Road, Jugmug Thela, Anandini, Organic India and more. For Sarda, starting from scratch and building a market outside India was indeed challenging. Among the major challenges he mentions is that the building of trust and credibility amongst consumers in established/global markets is a tough task for a young Indian brand. Building deep distribution for one’s products is a critical success factor and continuing to evolve as a brand with an ever-evolving consumer is also critical to success.

While the brand does not grow its own teas, or indeed own any tea gardens, it procures teas from over 100 of India’s tea gardens from Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiris and Kangra. It also sources its ‘superfoods’ such as turmeric, ashwagandha, moringa, tulsi and spices like cloves, cinnamon and cardamom direct from source.

According to the company, all its teas and spices are sourced direct from plantations and farmers within days of harvest, packaged garden fresh at its BRC certified state-of-the-art facility in Delhi NCR and shipped directly to its global fulfilment centres in various parts of the world. Vahdam offers 100 signature blends spread over 200 SKUs including loose-leaf teas, pyramid-shaped tea bags, gifts, samplers & assortments, turmeric teas, herbal teas, matcha, iced teas, teaware and drinkware.

“The turmeric teas and green teas are our best-selling category right now,” says Sarda, pointing out that the pandemic has led to a fundamental shift in the consumer’s behaviour towards high quality, natural & organic wellness products.

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