Companies

Teabox commits ₹14 cr to brew offline sales

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on June 05, 2019 Published on June 05, 2019

Kausshal Dugarr, founder and CEO, Teabox

Ratan Tata-backed start-up’s experiential store coming up at Bengaluru Airport

Teabox, a premium online global tea brand, has started its offline journey with an investment commitment of ₹14 crore to open stores in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, Kausshal Dugarr, founder and CEO, Teabox, told BusinessLine.

The Ratan Tata-backed start-up is all set to unveil its 650 sq ft flagship experiential store at Bengaluru International Airport next week. Its offline foray kicked off with the opening of a 250 sq ft experiential store at the Mumbai International Airport last October.

These stores are not designed to be sit-down tea cafés but are experiential stores which house, among other things, a multi-sensory section allowing travellers to touch, feel, smell and taste everything from a range of over 40 teas including classic black and green teas to exotic blue tea, whites and hand-crafted tea blends, Dugarr said. These teas are sourced from across 120 tea estates in India and Nepal and are priced from ₹8,000 a kg to ₹2 lakh a kg. Besides teas, the stores also offer contemporary tea ware and unique tea gifts such as a box of Darjeeling teas along with a book on Darjeeling, a box of floral teas (marigold, rose, jasmine), etc, for connoisseurs of teas.

“The bulk of our business comes from the US, contributing to 40 per cent of our sales; 12 per cent comes from Russia and 10 per cent from Australia. However, over the past 18 months, we have seen a lot of traction in online sales in India. Sales shot up by 400 per cent in the last 18 months, and India currently contributes to 22 per cent of our sales. It also dawned on us that we can’t tap a significantly larger segment of the market if we don’t establish an offline retail presence, because tea has traditionally been an offline business,” Dugarr said.

Airport-first

Explaining the rationale behind the start-up’s airports-first retail strategy, Dugarr said: “Our target audience comprises well-heeled, well-travelled, well-educated people who value quality, authenticity and experiences, and make informed choices. These people frequent airports at least once a month. Their average billing per order is ₹10,000-15,000 at the Mumbai International Airport, as against our average billing of ₹6,000-7,000 per order.”

The start-up is exploring opening stores across all major airports in India and has two more stores coming up in high-end malls in Bengaluru and Mumbai in the next three months.

Since its inception in December 2012, Teabox has served 1 billion cups of tea to customers in 117 countries. The start-up has raised around $14 million through Series A and B rounds. Teabox is backed by Accel, JAFCO Asia, RB Investments, DBS Bank, Dragoneer Investment Group and individual investors including Ratan Tata, Robert Bass, Cameron Jones.

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Published on June 05, 2019
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