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Last updated: 05 Feb, 2019  

Rupan.9.thmb.jpg Poor execution by banks behind lack of MSME credit: Amaara Herbs Sales & Marketing Head

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SME Times News Bureau | 04 Feb, 2019

In an exclusive interview with SME Times, Rupan Oberoi, Sales and Marketing Head of Amaara Herbs, said that finance is difficult for India MSMEs, mainly due to lack of proper execution for finance from banks, and despite supports from the government.

Please tell us about your company Amaara Herbs.
Amaara Herbs began with a passion herbs and their use as a tea. An idea to provide an alternative to the familiar and over saturated beverage market. India has been the land of herbs like Ashwagandha (Ginseng), Shatavar, Gokshura, Basil, Tulsi, Ginger, Fennel, Nettle etc. but still there is a lack of knowledge among us about the therapeutic health benefits of these herbs.

Starting up may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but passion for the beverage and risk-taking abilities led the twins to set up a tea-based venture. We, Rupan Oberoi and Raunak Oberoi have been exporters of Indian FMCG and Herbal Products for over 5 years now. Herbs like Ashwagandha, Shatavarietc which are categorized as Herbal Supplements in India are soon to be launched. When they discussed the idea, AMAARA HERBS was born in late 2017 and so was the mission to pass on our passion and devotion of quality tea infused with these herbs to the Indian market.

We have recently launched Matcha Green Tea, Flavoured Matcha Green Tea blends and many other Herbal Blends. More of the Herb Brews are in pipeline and will be launched soon. Business prospects are huge as we have International demand as well as domestic demand. Educating people about the product remains the basic constraint. With general information, people are shifting to the herbal sections and thereby a huge demand awaits post 3 years. Our herbs are potent and full of life. These supplements can soon replace the artificial supplement market.

What are the products you offer to customers?
Currently we have almost 25 sku's. We have 9 of Matcha Tea blends which are all spray dried flavours. No preservative or colour is added in the making. Additionally, we have some speciality teas, Herbal Blends and Fruit Teas. herbal Blends are purely a blend of herbs. We do not add any green, black or oolong to it. Fruit teas are again all fruit and no tea. We have any herbal blends which are in pipeline and will be launched by mid 2019.

Please tell us about the current scenario of the Indian tea industry.
Indian Tea Market is huge. The demand is huge.  People are readily accepting the new blends which have therapeutic advantages and facilitates one well-being. While most of the premium tea being exported, still India awaits huge demand in Domestic as well as International Markets. India, being a land of herbs, have been the bestsellers of many herbs throughout many years. The herbal range is growing. These blends are formulated by blending different herbs which might help in sustaining a disease. These all herbs have medicinal advantages. The tea industry is shifting to traditional market to these herbal range. The demand will be huge and so will be the supply. Tea and Herbs is a massive, rapidly growing but underpenetrated industry.

If a startup seeks to enter into the tea packaging industry, what are the main steps? Does it require certifications?
Entering a tea packaging industry requires a good knowledge about the blends and procurement of ingredients. Each minute ingredient and the composition is calculated and presented so as to provide the best quality taste and therapeutic advantages. We require certifications such as FSSAI, Organic Certification from various instituti etc.

How different you are in choosing the 'herbal' niche?
We procure the premium teas from across the globe. Our herbal range is organic and quality product is procured. Our herbal blends in a way provide the medicinal advantages to one when consumed. For e.g., we are coming up with a papaya leaf tea which is a blend of various herbs with papaya leaf as its main ingredient. Papaya leaf in itself has many benefits when consumed. As said, the best way to comsume herb is to brew them. We do brew herbs.

Please tell us about startup opportunities in India. Do you think finance is a very difficult hurdle for Indian MSMEs?
India, being the land of herbs has huge potential for the startups. The demand for these will increase substantially. There might be a time that we would be needing more companies to jump into the herbal sector. Herbal Market will replace the artificial supplement market in future. We have seen a rapid growth in demand for the herbal range. people are adopting healthy ways. Finance is difficult for India MSMEs. Though our government has been supportive enough, but proper execution is still not there for the finance from banks.

How challenging is it to start a small business in India?
It would not be good to say that starting a small business is only difficult in India, it goes for many other countries as well. Starting a business in itself is difficult, that too in a competitive environment like india. We have had many challenges like the team. Hiring the best personnel for your work is the key strategy to increase the sales volume keeping in mind the quality of the tea that we are providing. A better finance systems in India is the need of the hour where finances are available easily!

Please tell us about your future plans.
Future Marketing Techniques: Strategize online marketing and expand the online presence. Offline marketing, Strategic alliance with other brands, Tie-ups with Government entities, opening our own outlets to decrease delivery costs.

Future Projected Sales: With lined up SKU’s that we will be launching, we project our sales to increase by 20% to 25%

Launch New Products: Venture into different segments of herbal products. Herbal range is huge, so we have plenty of permutations and combinations to work upon.

Subscription Box : We will be the first in India to lauch such a campaign. We will be making a combo of 4 teas as a pack each to be consumed by the buyer within a single day. It would be more of a prescriptive approach rather that subscription.

Brew Pacs : Our Brew Pacs will be available for sale in November. These packs will be served in various Hotels and other cafes. We are already in talking terms and will get started by December thereby providing the Herbal range in HORECA.

  • We intend to increase our online e-commerce presence.
  • We will be providing our teas to many corporates so as to replace the traditional tea beverage with herbal range
  • We intend to grow rapidly not only in HORECA (Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes) but also at gyms and dieticians.
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