Starting with International Women’s Day in March, THE TEENAGER TODAY has been bringing you a series on women entrepreneurs, ‘Women Mean Business’. Each article introduces our readers to an inspiring woman entrepreneur or professional, insights into what shaped them and their experience of entrepreneurship.
With the rains almost here, already wistful visions of cool showers, wet greenery and sloshing about in puddles crowd the mind. And the one image that completes this entire pastiche is that of curling up with a hot cuppa tea!
India and tea have been synonymous since time immemorial. An Indian morning without that steaming hot brew is unimaginable as is that evening ritual with a cup of the best and snacks. But flavoured teas? This has not really been a part of the Indian landscape and more an ‘imported foreign’ experience.
Enter Amareen Khuraana, a diminutive lady with a gigantic vision — converting India into a nation of flavoured tea connoisseurs! Amareen, with her brand Brewlette, has been redefining how Indians prefer their favourite brew for the past few years now. As she puts it, “Even on the worst day, a cup of tea can turn it around. You may not be able to buy happiness but can surely brew happiness!”
Amareen comes from a family of entrepreneurs; her father owns a chain of restaurant, hotel and superstore in Mussoorie, her brother has his own venture called ‘Kullcha King’ and her mother is a noted numerologist and Vaastu consultant. Amareen says that she has inherited her impeccable work ethic from her father from whom she learnt the true essence of sportsmanship, teamwork and the rewards of hard work and dedication. From her mother, Amareen picked up her academic focus, the confidence to perform on stage and build her outgoing personality through extra-curricular activities.
Whilst in college, Amareen worked with actress-entrepreneur Sushmita Sen at the ‘I am She, Miss Universe India’ pageant as a contestant manager. After graduation, she worked with Mahesh Bhupathi’s sports, talent and celebrity management company, Globosport, for a year and then pursued her Masters in Management and Marketing at Birmingham City University (U.K.). She represented 15,000 students across 7 campuses and worked at the students’ union, also topping her course among 2,000 students across the management, marketing and HR streams in the process! Once she returned home, she worked at ad agency TBWA India before giving in to her entrepreneurial calling and starting Brewlette.
Amareen truly loved tea even as a teenager but it was in the U.K. that she was exposed to the world of flavoured teas. Being on a campus with students from across the world, Amareen was exposed to unique flavours and blends from virtually every corner of the globe — apple, cranberry, pear, jasmine, pineapple, grapefruit and many others! Her addiction to teas only grew here, so much that she came to be referred to as ‘the exotic tea girl’! An incident that underscores her obsession with teas took place at the airport when she was returning to India. She had excess baggage what with the tons of tea samples she was carrying with her. She chose to dump her clothes and return with her suitcases crammed with the teas of the world!
During her stint with TBWA, Amareen studied the Indian tea market and realized that there was a huge market gap in flavoured teas. India is one of the world’s leading exporters of traditional tea but is not known for the production or consumption of flavoured teas except for the ubiquitous ‘masala tea’. The market leaders in this segment are the U.K., Japan and Sri Lanka. The original business plan for Brewlette was actually etched out on a tissue and arose out of a conversation with a friend at a Domino’s Pizza outlet in Mumbai!
Naresh Karmalker is a development consultant, entrepreneur, trainer, networker and dreamer. Having spent three decades in the non-profit sector, he has also spent the last decade supporting business entrepreneurs in Mumbai grow their business. Naresh has been associated with The Teenager Today for nearly 30 years and is a huge believer in the power of the youth to change the world.