Hailing from Northern Eire, Ashleigh has been residing in Malaysia for the previous 9 years.
Initially, she had moved right here attributable to her husband’s position, however now, Ashleigh herself is part of the Expertise Cross scheme, also referred to as Residence Cross-Expertise.
An initiative to facilitate the entry and keep of chosen overseas expertise, the eligibility standards embrace a minimal of three consecutive years working in Malaysia, a legitimate employment cross, and a primary month-to-month wage of RM15,000.
So, you is likely to be questioning what Ashleigh does to be able to be eligible for the programme.
The lady has had fairly the profession in gross sales, having labored for large names similar to Coca Cola and L’Oreal, in addition to the Royal Mail in London earlier than emigrating to Australia.
Whereas all these experiences have developed her ardour for on-line advertising and marketing technique and content material growth, Ashleigh is now making use of her abilities in her personal enterprise, Tea Fowl Tea.
Blooming into enterprise
Ashleigh’s foray into entrepreneurship began not with Tea Fowl Tea, however its predecessor, Balcony Bloomer.
The enterprise was launched in Australia as a grow-in-the-bag herb and vegetable vary with a deal with vegetation which have medicinal advantages. It was solely when clients started inquiring about rising their very own tea that Tea Fowl Tea was shaped.
However after shifting to Malaysia, the enterprise took a backseat. Past the truth that they had been nonetheless settling in to an entire new nation, Ashleigh had simply given start to her daughter too.
But, as somebody who can’t sit nonetheless, the entrepreneur finally approached Village Grocer in Bangsar as a loose-leaf mix model. She was assured that her grow-in-the-bag herbs can be common, particularly with mums and kindergartens.
True to her beliefs, enterprise took off, and the enterprise expanded into about 50 shops over the primary few years.
“After we began, we banged on doorways till we received conferences, after which we pestered till we received onto cabinets, after which we sampled and pursued till we took over storefronts by being tremendous inventive and having fun with what we do,” Ashleigh shared.
Sourced from overseas, made domestically
Whereas Ashleigh had began off specializing in loose-leaf choices, she has since pivoted to teabags for higher comfort.
But, believing within the significance of preserving the unique loose-leaf type, the model makes use of corn starch pyramid teabags which are sealed through warmth urgent, which means there are not any teabag strings, steel staples, glue, or ink-branded paper tags seeping into the brew.
“We supply packaging parts abroad in the meanwhile and our uncooked supplies for the tea blends come from Sri Lanka, China, India, and a few new secret components will come from Malaysia,” Ashleigh shared.
The manufacturing and packing occur proper right here in Malaysia, although. Tea Fowl Tea has a manufacturing unit in Melaka.
There are plans to maneuver the machine to a brand new facility in KL within the subsequent six months, so clients can go to it and see the place the whole lot is produced and packed.
An underlying motive
Earlier than she had discovered her ardour in gross sales, Ashleigh had studied artwork in class and at college, however selected to not examine effective artwork.
“I used to be fearful I wouldn’t be capable to get a job or make a residing from promoting artwork as at the moment (1999) the whole lot was about web sites, and digital advertising and marketing was starting to take off once more after the preliminary dotcom increase within the UK,” she stated.
Nonetheless, artwork is one in every of her many loves, so it comes as no shock that Ashleigh really designs a lot of Tea Fowl Tea’s packaging herself.
In actual fact, Tea Fowl Tea’s packaging was her means of getting her artwork into individuals’s homes. Immediately, although, that artwork has change into synonymous with Tea Fowl Tea’s branding.
“I had no thought if clients would really like it, however abruptly, I had a a lot wider viewers and the suggestions has been actually particular over time,” she stated.
She’s even designed a tea case for the Raja Permaisuri Agong—or Queen—of Malaysia throughout the pandemic.
The tea on promoting tea
In Ashleigh’s personal phrases, “tea is arguably as common because the phrase OK being understood in each nation around the globe”.
However Malaysia’s tea ingesting tradition may differ from that of Northern Eire and Australia. Fairly than afternoon tea, most Malaysians might choose teh or teh O, or possibly even bubble tea.
Ashleigh herself shared that in Northern Eire, most individuals drink tea to heat up. However right here in Malaysia, many drink it to chill down.
“It’s ‘similar similar, however completely different’,” she stated. “It’s nonetheless a hug in a mug regardless of the place you might be on this planet.”
In any case, it’s not like she has to cater to each single Malaysian. Ashleigh simply wants to achieve the best demographic. Provided that the enterprise relies in Bangsar, its clients might lean in direction of the prosperous crowd.
Ashleigh additionally talked about that she has plenty of households and older empty nesters who’re loyal clients.
“They’re in search of high quality, style, worth, and aesthetics, and are sometimes extra targeted on their day-to-day well being wants and train than youthful persons are,” she stated.
“We have now seen a shift, although, with a youthful viewers who get pleasure from tea and are extra conscious of well being than my era ever was.”
Nevertheless, similar to how Ashleigh was amused by pals who swore by dietary supplements and protein powders, there could also be sceptics who discover tea and its advantages to be at finest amusing, and at worst, pseudoscience.
Ashleigh recognises this, and has even accepted is as half and parcel of working a enterprise.
“As an entrepreneur you be taught early that everybody has an opinion on what you might be doing or how they might do it higher—that’s completely effective, everybody ought to have an opinion,” she stated. “Extra opinions and extra discussions are how we discover options to on a regular basis issues.”
That stated, she argued that tea and its well being properties have been effectively researched, documented, and skilled for lots of of years.
“However we aren’t saying don’t drink anything or it will change your life eternally. We’re saying small adjustments each day add as much as feeling higher general if that’s what you need to do for your self,” she concluded.
As she places it, well being requires a 360-degree evaluation. Folks ought to supply all of the accessible data and apply them as they see match.
Whereas Ashleigh hinted on the prospects of thrilling new initiatives for Tea Fowl Tea, she couldn’t reveal far more.
She did, nonetheless, share that the enterprise is targeted on increasing to Singapore, Thailand, then additional afield to the UK and the US.
Having to rebuild a model in a brand new market and a brand new nation isn’t straightforward, however Ashleigh has made it work.
“Anybody can open a door however strolling by it and making it work is an entire different a part of the story,” she shared. “With FMCG, it’s fairly aggressive, so you need to forge good relationships and be prepared to place your self on the market.”
Forging good relationships doesn’t imply being a placemat for suppliers to stroll over, although. As Ashleigh put it, if it’s not worthwhile or if individuals aren’t punctual with funds, it’s not all the time price the time and effort to take care of these relationships.
“Suppliers who select to not work with you since you gained’t give them free inventory to promote might need a giant title however they’d in all probability trigger larger issues additional down the road,” she suggested. “Your miss is your mercy as my mum all the time says!”
On the subject of fine quotes and mottos to dwell by, right here’s one from Ashleigh that has gotten her by the various challenges of working a enterprise and abroad at that: “Smile, maintain going, and embrace the unknown.”
- Be taught extra about Tea Fowl Tea right here.
- Learn different articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups right here.
Featured Picture Credit score: Tea Fowl Tea