Prerna Kumar uses the knowledge and experience of living the ayurvedic way of life to create her brand of Indian artisanal tea – ‘ChaiVeda’
Prerna Kumar’s beginnings are quite unprecedented and phenomenal as she continues to push boundaries and evolves with time. Starting off as a corporate employee to being inspired by her grandmother’s ayurvedic Chai Masala, she is the pioneer of what she calls as ChaiVeda. Today her brand is making waves in the Indian artisanal chai space. Inspired by her grandmother’s ayurvedic way of life, Prerna uses the knowledge both while preparing the tea blends and making masalas.
When life gives lemons
Prerna grew up in Haryana and shifted to New Delhi post-marriage and began to work in the corporate industry. A little over two decades went by working, tending to her family, and looking after the house when suddenly in 2017 she lost her job. To top it, she also broke her ankle, thus bringing her life to a standstill. Mandatory to rest for three months she was stuck at home. But, she would constantly have visitors drop by and tell her to get well soon. But, that wasn’t all they said. “Everybody would wish me a speedy recovery, so I could get on my feet and make them my famous chai. My chai was something everyone would commonly mention,” she says. Although it felt unusual at the time, she later began thinking and realised that it was the masala she uses in her chai that attracts people to it.
Prerna had learnt the chai masala from her grandmother who was a great ayurvedic practitioner back in her village Bhiwani in Haryana. After recovering from injury, Prerna, now on search for newer avenues to work, kept coming back to the appreciation for her chai. She realised that she could start her own venture making artisanal chai blends. So she packed her bags and left for a trip to Darjeeling to understand more about tea while undergoing a training session there. And thus began her second innings. ChaiVeda started by her in 2017, is today, an upcoming homemade tea brand. The venture employs only the needy, doesn’t use single use plastic in any of its packaging and strives to be an eco-friendly brand with its sustainable practices.
The many Chai Blends
Kumar’s ayurvedic roots fully reflect in ChaiVeda’s product line. Starting with the celebrated Vedic Chai Masala, she offers close to 25 products as part of three categories namely Masala Chai, Everyday Wellness and Essentially Vedic. “The Vedic Chai Masala is our specialty product. Many customers love it and it is also our bestseller. The masala is a combination of fourteen herbs, spices, and flowers, a combination my Dadi (grandmother) designed ages ago. It aids digestion and boosts one’s respiratory system. One can consume it by adding it to either milk, tea or water.,” says Prerna.
Her masala chai range she says, is for the Indians looking to add some flavour to their cuppa along with some health. Some of the blends in this range include Saffron Mulethi, Saunf Elaichi, and Gulab Mulethi among others. Everyday Wellness on the other hand is a range of green tea blends infused with spices and flowers such as cinnamon, rose, jasmine and ginger. The third range, Essentially Vedic comprises blends made using various Indian Masalas. This category includes teas that aid in weight loss and blends suitable during and post-pregnancy.
In addition to these, Kumar also specialises in customising tea blends for her clientele. She also offers unique masalas during festivals, such as the Wine Masala during Christmas. Another offering by ChaiVeda that attracts consumers is their gift hampers that are apt for corporate gifting, festivals and various other events.
The One Woman Army
Prerna runs the venture single-handedly from her home. She prepares all the chai masalas and tea blends in a room dedicated to her venture. Additionally, she takes care of the website, orders, packaging and marketing for ChaiVeda all by herself. However, at times when ChaiVeda bags big orders, Prerna employs a few underprivileged women. They help her grind the spices and make the blends.
Kumar makes all the tea blends fresh in small batches so that the aroma remains intact. She sources the ingredients for her masalas and blends from across the country. The spices she uses in the Vedic Chai Masala for instance come directly from the spice gardens in Kerala. Both black and green tea leaves also come directly from the tea gardens so the farmers don’t lose money via middlemen.
Prerna has come a long way in the last four years by breaking many stereotypes. She aims to continue being a sustainable brand going forward. The brand is slowly gaining traction overseas and also seeing its customer base expand. Hence, ChaiVeda is looking at growing in terms of the team in the coming months.