Three lessons from Tea Drops’ Sashee Chandran.
6 min read
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Drinking a hot cup of tea has always been at the center of my home. Growing up, my parents had their daily morning and evening tea ritual together. After getting married, I watched my in-laws’ elaborate tea-making process, including special pots and strainers to manage the loose leaves, milk, ginger, cardamom and other spices. I was always happy to be served a cup of tea and avoid a process that seemed too overwhelming and too time consuming.
Enter Tea Drops, specifically the chai spice black tea. As someone who spent most of her tea time dunking tea bags, I couldn’t believe how easy this product made fixing a cup, and how delicious the tea tasted. Drop this tea bomb (of loose leaves pressed together) in a cup of hot water (I add some milk), swirl the cup gently, and you are ready to drink.
The force behind this cup of chai is Sashee Chandran, founder and CEO of Tea Drops. Being of Chinese and Sri Lankan descent, Chandran’s experience growing up with tea wasn’t just about it being a functional beverage. Tea was always about connection. “For many people, scent can transport them back in time to a specific moment they experienced,” Chandran says. “For me, drinking a cup of tea brings back a flood of memories.”
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Through Tea Drops, Chandran’s bringing connection and community, one tea cup at a time in an unexpected way. Here are the three lessons Chandran has for entrepreneurs looking to disrupt any category:
Lean into your strengths
Chandran credits her time at eBay as being the training ground for business fundamentals. “I took for granted all of the corporate discipline I had learned,” she shares. “Iterating on ideas, tracking and understanding metrics, and how to avoid spinning your wheels.” Understanding how to run a business, coupled with her love for experimenting with loose leaf tea in the kitchen, has been invaluable since she founded Tea Drops in 2015.
In addition to her strong business acumen, Chandran is very comfortable taking risks. “I credit my parents, who both had side hustles, for exposing me early on to the building blocks of entrepreneurship. When I decided it was time to pursue Tea Drops full time, I had my savings and pulled a line of credit on my home and didn’t look back.”
Image Credit: Tea Drops
Change consumer behavior through storytelling
Chandran’s idea for the tea bomb came from her own need to find a convenient way to make tea at work. “I always had multiple projects I was pursuing, whether that was baking tea infused cookies, or creating tea infused soaps,” she says. “And then I start