What was the drive behind BRW Society?
Having lived in the UK and being very spoiled with tea selections, when I moved to the UAE in 2018 it struck me that the tea market had limited choices here. I also had to leave my job back home for family reasons, as my husband secured a great opportunity in the UAE. However, I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur and had considered it many times in the past, and with the relocation, the timing seemed just right. When I moved to Dubai everything came together, it was the right time and I saw a gap in the market which needed to be filled.
What is quality tea for you?
Quality tea for me is whole leaves – very clean, without stalks and unwanted particles, and whole ingredients such as whole herbs, fruit, spices, and no dust. It must taste amazing and smell incredible without artificial flavourings and be made from responsibly sourced and organic ingredients.
Why the name BRW Society?
The BRW Society (pronounced ‘brew society’) mission is to help people who are squeezing the most out of life to slow down, savour the moment and connect with themselves and others. We are doing this by creating colourful and exciting tea blends, inspired by nature, that captivate your senses and BRW up a conversation. Therefore, we chose the word society because we want to create a community of like-minded people who want to connect over tea – ‘a tea society’. BRW stands for ‘brew’- we want to encompass everything that you can brew. Plus, I was listening to ‘The Weeknd’ around the time I was brainstorming names and I thought it was cool dropping an ‘e’ so I did the same for BRW! It became a cool, trendy, brewing tea society.
What is BRW Society’s take on sustainability?
We try our very best to do things right. We love tea and all the fun that comes with it, but we know how important it is to take care of our earth’s resources and that’s why we strive to do things differently. We offer eco-friendly packaging for all our tea bags, our blends are inspired by nature and have tea bags that are plastic free. There are also some areas that we are working hard to improve. Our loose tea pouches for example, we are working hard on changing the packaging, with the aim of being a completely plastic-free company by the end of 2023. We want our customers to have a great experience while still being environmentally conscious!
Were there any difficulties faced while setting up BRW Society?
There are always challenges setting up a business, especially starting one while being new in the country. Navigating company setup, regulations, permits, and requirements were all a challenging process. I had no history in the F&B field, it had to be self-taught, and I had to prove myself. There was also no network to support, so I had to gradually build this and at times, it felt lonely for the first few months. And yet, nothing is more rewarding than seeing growth and people loving a product you created out of your sheer passion and love.
A piece of advice to women wanting to start their own brand?
If you have an idea, just get started, don’t procrastinate, and put it off as things will never be perfect. Remember, you can perfect your business as you grow. It’s important to develop a business plan and take a firm grip of the finances. Know where every penny is going and at the start try and do as much in-house as you can. Most importantly, once you start – don’t give up, you have to keep moving forward, whatever is thrown at you.
What is BRW Society’s future goal?
We would like to become a household name in the GCC, and to be recognised as a proud UAE brand. We are entering the KSA market this year and hope to develop growth in Qatar and Kuwait in 2023. In addition, we also aim to expand our product range to include everything that you can brew from new and exciting products. I also want to gradually develop BRW Society’s footprint outside the GCC in other tea-loving countries. The plan is to also grow and nurture the BRW team, developing talent and promoting within the business.
How do you balance work and life?
It is tough and I’m still working on it, but I became good at switching off completely on Saturday and Sunday. I do not open my laptop on weekends as it’s for recharge and family time, and I want to be 100% present at home. When at work I map out my days and week, and diarise everything from personal commitments, to work meetings, and even time for commenting on LinkedIn posts, so being organised helps.
I also always prioritise the important family milestones e.g.my children’s first day at school, and sports days that I have never missed. There’s also a weekly Friday date night with my husband, so we get to spend quality time together as a couple. It all works because I am very lucky, and I have an amazing support structure at home to help me achieve all I do in a day.
ALL-TIME FAVOURITE DISH – Sunday roast with all the trimmings – roast chicken, cauliflower, cheese, stuffing and Yorkshire puddings.
FAVOURITE “ME” TIME – Catching up with my friends over a cuppa, going for a run and getting my nails done.
PERSONAL HEALTH REGIMEN – Everything in moderation, I try and work out 5 days a week, I like to eat healthy, and drink lots of water and tea!
ON YOUR PLAYLIST – Right now, anything that motivates me at the gym, so I like Afraid to Feel – LF System, Break My Soul – Beyonce, Electricity – Dua Lipa, Don’t Forget My Love – Diplo, Miguel as they liven up my workout.
THE BOOK ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE – My Story – Jo Malon and Scaling Up – Verne Harnish