Published: 18th July 2020
This 16-year-old entrepreneur from Delhi runs a Bubble Tea business all by herself. Here's how
Harshita Jain tells us about her journey as a young entrepreneur and how numerous challenges did not stop her from running her own business at such an early age
When you want to do something, you make it happen, believes Harshita Jain, an entrepreneur from Delhi. At just 16, Harshita, who studies at the American Embassy School, founded her own enterprise Necessiteas, which sells quality Bubble Tea in the national capital.
Bubble Tea is a tea-based drink invented in Taiwan during the 1980s, which has now become quite the talk of the town in the past few years. The beverage which typically contains milk is shaken with ice to create the 'bubbles', a foamy layer on top of the drink; chewy tapioca balls or beads are added as well to add more taste to it. Harshita is a big Bubble tea fan herself. "Every summer when I used to visit my grandparents' house in the US, I 'd have a lot of it, but when I came back to Delhi I wouldn't get it here. My mother would say there are not many Bubble tea places here. I always thought that the Indian crowd was missing out on a great beverage which could really be relatable to them as 'chai' is like the predominant Indian drink," says the 16-year-old. Thus, she decided to see to the lack of Bubble tea herself. In December 2019, Necessiteas was officially launched and then there was no looking back for the young entrepreneur.
For the 16-year-old, Bubble Tea is a necessity in life — a much-needed refreshment after a tiring day. And that's the big secret behind the name — Necessiteas — with a quirky wordplay at the end. "For every Bubble Tea lover, in a way, it is a necessity so I thought this name would be fun and catchy to play on. It was a backup name initially but this stuck and I decided this was apt," quips Harshita.
She has always been interested in business and entrepreneurship since childhood, however, it got solidified when she took a course with the Young Entrepreneur's Academy at her school where she spent weeks devising a business plan. "This is where I basically came up with the idea of this start-up. Spending a lot of time on it made me realise that this is what I want to do and it kickstarted from there. I pitched the idea at a YEA session to the investor panel and I secured first place in Delhi and got some funding to start the business. I also went to the YEA's global conference in Rochester, New York where I got to learn a lot more and experienced more about entrepreneurship," Harshita adds.
Her first big order was from her own school and ever since she has sold more than 300 Bubble Teas. "I am hopeful that we will be able to sell a lot more in number once the Coronavirus situation subsides," she adds. She is only able to sell on Saturdays currently taking time off from her studies. And the next step is to introduce one more day, towards the end of the year she is hopeful that she will be able to sell on all days of the week. Harshita prepares all of it by herself with some help from the staff she has at home. "I have the recipe, I craft the flavours myself, perhaps once the pandemic is over we can look to employ a team of people who can put in more time to make the drink all through the week. It's a really long process and drinking it fresh is the key," she says.
The Necessiteas Bubble Teas come in five flavours currently — the Original Milk Tea, Dalgona, Cold Coffee, Ice Tea, and Chocolate. Each bottle is priced at Rs 199. Harshita says she is coming up with more flavours and currently the orders are placed over the phone, Instagram and word of mouth. But soon they will have a website up online from where customers can order. Necessiteas also customises orders like the type of milk or the amount of sugar. "The USP is the quality of the Bubble Tea, having experienced myself what actual Bubble Tea is supposed to taste like, it gives me an edge. The customer feedback has also been that they really like the taste of the drink," says Harshita. Their packaging too is eco-friendly as the tea is served in reusable glass bottles. The 16-year-old typically sources her items from the local market, but her tapioca beads are imported from Taiwan. "I also have suppliers across India who provide me with special ingredients if I need. But most of the things can be purchased and sourced locally," she adds.
Harshita plans to go to college in the US and then pursue an MBA there. However, she is quite confident that she can still run the business while managing her studies. "I want to build Necessiteas to a point that it can run and operate without my physical presence. I will be overlooking it but it needs to run without me being here in Delhi. I will start with more entrepreneurial ventures as well like I am managing now I hope I will be able to when I am in college," she says. Harshita's biggest role model is her grandfather, who's an entrepreneur himself. "I have seen him first-hand doing business, heard a lot of his stories from his younger days about how he started his own company, it was harder for him and it inspired me to do something of my own. You can always join a family business but when you are responsible for something it's a wonderful feeling altogether," the young entrepreneur tells us.
With Necessiteas, Harshita's plan is to open a pop-up store in South Delhi or Gurugram where all her major customers are. "People who want to try something new, Bubble Tea is a beverage for them to do that. I got a lot of orders during the quarantine period as well but during the lockdown, we could only deliver within our colony, once it was lifted we could reach more people. We are planning to tie up with a delivery partner soon," she concludes.