There was a time when Bernard Seng, 33, and his wife, Weiling Seng, 34, dropped off their six-year-old daughter at a relative’s place for a playdate.
Being relieved from child-caring duties for a couple of hours, the couple looked forward to some relaxation. When they got home, they propped their feet up and wound down with some tea.
They are both tea lovers, and enjoyed the idea of sipping tea over conversations. This later sparked a business idea to also let others enjoy the simple pleasures in life, which led to them creating their own specialty tea brand called ORVO Tea.
The business idea was developed in early 2021, and the brand was only officially launched in July 2021.
The couple felt that their teas serve as a reminder to everyone out there to “relax, recharge and reorganise” and take care of their mental health.
“(To date), we have built a strong base of regular customers who enjoy our teas and believe in our mission and vision,” expressed Bernard, who holds a day job as an engineer.
Premium, speciality blends
The ORVO Tea leaves are sourced from small tea gardens in Nepal, Darjeeling (a city in India) and Assam (a state in India).
Sourcing from small tea gardens ensures that the tea leaves produced are natural and of high quality. It also helps keep these small tea gardens be sustainable.
The creation of blends (flavours) is a process undertaken by Bernard, Weiling and their tea connoisseur partners in India.
The process includes creating the blend idea, identifying suitable ingredients to be added into the blend, and choosing the best type of tea leaves for the blend.
Once this is done, the blend goes through a round of internal and external sampling each, to see if any changes are required to be made to the blend.
Breaking even just two weeks after launch
Being a small business, the start-up capital was relatively lower, therefore the couple were able to break even within the first two weeks of the official launch.
Additionally, since the official launch, the couple has sold over 500 pouches of tea leaves and tea balls.
ORVO Tea stands out from other tea brands in two main areas. Firstly, ORVO is the first tea brand to include tea balls instead of the usual tea sachets and tea pyramids.
The tea balls are made by hand-packing the tea leaves into natural muslin cloths. By using natural muslin cloths, the tea balls are more natural, eco-friendly, biodegradable and compostable.
Secondly, the couple also strongly feels that ORVO Tea is more than just a tea brand — it also serves as a reminder for others to practice self-care and self-love.
Celebrating ORVO Tea through the ups and downs
Like every other startup business, ORVO Tea has its own story for the successes enjoyed and the challenges faced.
Bernard and Weiling consider it a success when most of their blends sold out within two weeks of the official launch, and when their popular blends sold out within 24 hours of restocking.
On the flipside, some of the challenges faced include the long processing time for the tea balls, as they are hand-packed. Coupled with the current longer freight duration, the couple often require a much longer time to restock their tea balls.
Bernard and Weiling also face the challenge of finding suitable F&B partners to collaborate with. For most cafes, restaurants or bistros, they are already equipped with teas on their menu at launch and are unwilling to give ORVO tea a chance.
Thankfully, the couple has been given the opportunity to include two of their blends on the menu of Dewgather café at Star Vista.
Moving forward, ORVO Tea’s upcoming plans include the customisation of pouch bags. Having received several requests from individuals and corporate customers, the couple has decided to include customised designs and messages to be printed on the pouches of their teas.
Additionally, ORVO Tea will be partnering with social service organisations by providing their teas to those who are going through a rough patch right now.
Shop Orvo Tea on VP Label now and get $20 off your order when you checkout with Pace using the code PACEVP20 (min spend $80).
Featured Image Credit: ORVO Tea