Interview with Drink Me Chai founder, Amanda Hamilton.
Drink Me Chai was founded by Amanda Hamilton in 2004. Now, 7 years on, she has grown it to be the U.K.'s No.1 chai latte brand.
As the year draws to a close, we thought now would be a great time to ask Amanda to reflect on the past twelve months, and reveal her plans for 2012.
1. Has 2011 been a good year for Drink Me Chai?
We have had a very good year, despite the obvious economic conditions. We have seen good growth in 2011 as the Drink Me Chai brand has more awareness and Chai Latte in general becomes more popular.
2. What would you say the 2011 highlights have been for the company?
The highlights are some great shows at Bath Coffee Festival and the Foodies events where we got to take our real Chai Wallah on the road to talk about the history of Chai. We have also expanded to new markets and territories, including Australia, the far East, and South Africa.
3. You took to the road for the first time, exhibiting at events and festivals and doing workshops. How did you enjoy taking Drink Me Chai to the customers?
It was the most active year we have had in terms of customer interaction and these shows are perfect to get to meet your customers. I consider it crucial to get feedback on what we are doing right and improvements we can make, and it is wonderful to meet our customers face to face.
4. You also started using social media such as blogging, twitter, and FaceBook. How have you enjoyed the interaction with your customers and has social media brought you any closer to them?
Yes! We started Social Media at the beginning of the year with Twitter,Facebook and YouTube and I have been amazed at the loyal following Drink Me Chai seems to have. People have actively approached us to review DMC products via blogs and this is more valuable than any marketing campaign we can implement as it is real. We also use the platform as an opportunity
5. Which Drink Me Chai flavour suits Christmas and why?
Our original Spiced Chai reminds me of Christmas with the warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom. It has often been described as "Christmas in a cup" and the experience starts with the aroma! Perfect for the afternoon in front of the fire whilst opening some gifts with family and friends. For an indulgent treat add a shot of Baileys into the Spiced Chai.
6. What will Drink Me Chai be hoping to achieve in 2012?
We want to spread the Chai word further and we are also planning to launch some exciting new flavours and different packaging formats. We will be back on the road with shows and our Chai Wallah will continue to feature at many events and bring a real "Taste of India" to our activities.
7. How will you be spending Christmas yourself?
At home with my husband and 4 year old daughter who is beyond excited about Christmas!
8. Finally, any message to your customers?
Thank you for your loyal support and feedback, we wouldn’t be here without you all. Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year.
You can also find out more about the history of Drink Me Chai in this video interview with Amanda, recorded at the London Coffee Festival in Spring 2011.