Sharanya Pogaku, 17, Aashita Grover, 16, and Janice Seo, 17, of New Jersey, make up one of this year’s competing teams in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Their company, Spill the Tea, is on a mission to change the way we drink bubble tea and bring those delicious little tapioca pearls to the doors of all who love them.
Tell us about your business.
Bubble tea is on the rise. Within the last few years, specialty cafes selling this delicious drink have sprung up all around the world. In some cities, you can’t even walk a few blocks without finding yet another bubble tea shop. The drink is a trendy, popular, and (obviously) delicious option for many people, and also makes for aesthetic Instagram pictures. Spill the Tea focuses on providing bubble tea to our customers efficiently, easily—and most importantly—directly to their taste buds. We’re here to make sure your bubble tea cravings are always satisfied.
In the past, we’ve used a catering business model, where we made homemade bubble tea and sold it at local events, such as 5k walks, barbecues, lunches, and school events. We like to enhance typical events and turn them up a notch! Additionally, we are working on creating the Bubbler, the first-ever “Keurig for bubble tea,” a machine that instantly brews and serves bubble tea within minutes. With our machine, all you need are a few ingredients and an empty stomach— leave the rest to us!
Our newest products are our bubble tea kits, or “Boxed Bubbles,” which are sold online in many different flavors and variations. These packages have everything you need to make bubble tea at home (once again, capturing that Instagram aesthetic). We understand that going to your local bubble tea cafe might take a fifteen-minute drive and a LONG wait in line, so we’re here to help you make your own delicious drink in the comforts of your home!
What inspired the creation of Spill the Tea?
Like all good companies, Spill the Tea was started out of necessity. Our parents refused to drive us to the mall or local cafe every time we had a bubble tea craving. Understandably, they couldn’t take us whenever we wanted because of their busy schedules and the fact that their wallets were heavily in pain due to our bubble tea cravings. None of us had our driving licenses yet so we all had to settle for the less appealing apple juice (gross) or milk (ew). And that’s when it hit us! Why wasn’t there an easy way to make bubble tea at home whenever we wanted? Coffee machines are essential parts of the American household—but where was the bubble-tea-making machine? We pounced on this gap in the market and decided to create our own device, the Bubbler, which would automatically make bubble tea.
It was a perfect idea and we were stoked to get started. However, with time, we found that we didn’t have access to the funds and resources that we needed to build a working prototype. And because we didn’t want to continuously bother our parents for more money, we decided to start our catering business model, and now our kit model! With that, Spill the Tea was born, and we’ve never looked back!
How will Spill the Tea impact the world?
We want to use Spill the Tea to make an impact on our community and become a social venture. So far, we’ve catered at school lunches, public walks, barbeques, fundraisers, and other events. Whenever we work with a charity or organization, we pride ourselves in supporting their causes and donating portions of our profits to them as our way of giving back and giving thanks.
We know how incredibly lucky we are to have been able to receive the support and start our company as high-school students and we want to use our platform as a way to help others. We’ve previously partnered with organizations that have focused on a variety of issues—from autism awareness all the way to human trafficking.
What are the next steps for Spill the Tea?
We have big dreams for Spill the Tea. In the upcoming year, we want to take our online shop to the next level by selling at major retailers (grocery stores and cafés), and launching a new line of tapioca products! We’re aiming to get an incredible amount of exposure through marketing and are currently seeking investors.
To learn more about Spill the Tea, visit our website at www.tinyurl.com/spilltheteanj. You can also follow us on Instagram at @spilltheteanj and read about us in this Wall Street Journal article https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-teenagers-learn-when-they-start-a-business-11556503680.
To stay up to date with Spill the Tea and their progress in the i.Invest Competition, sign up for our newsletter at www.i-investcompetition.com. To provide support as a mentor or investor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.