Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Akhil Patel, Founder of Amala Chai Ltd., located in Arkley, United Kingdom.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Amala Chai is a traditional masala chai business sourcing single-origin tea and spices from sustainable farms in India. We are on a mission to reconnect the word "chai" with its roots whilst providing fair trade and support to our family farms across India. Our core customers tend to be 25-40-year-old women who are either south Asian or have traveled to India. However, our customer base extends to men as well as anyone who enjoys a chai latte - which is just a western take on the traditional drink using hot milk and sugary syrup.

Tell us about yourself

My journey started in 2018 when I was traveling through the Indian Himalayas. All across India, there is always chai available - whether that is made by a chaiwala on a street corner or at a family home, there is a very strong tea-drinking culture. Returning to London, finding real masala chai outside my family home was impossible. Fed up, I used my grandma's age-old masala chai recipe and started a weekend market stall and out-birthed Amala Chai. After a successful few months, I returned to India to source tea and spices from small sustainable farms.

I am deeply passionate about the product I sell. Not only is it the best-tasting caffeinated drink ever, but chai creates a space where people from all walks of life can gather. In addition, as a south-Asian, starting this business has allowed me and the Indian diaspora to reconnect with their culture.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I think my biggest accomplishment has been navigating the significant challenges of running a business through covid. From supply issues to zero income, I found a way to pivot the business, and now we are in a much stronger position as a result.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The most challenging thing is finding the right work-life balance and generating enough income to support yourself.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Persistence - never give up, as long as you believe in your business. You will make many mistakes, so it's important to keep on going and learning from each hurdle.
  2. Create a business on what customers want, not what you think customers want.
  3. There are a million resources online to help you learn and grow - the ones that helped me most were the Shopify tutorials.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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