The Hunter-based business behind Australia’s most awarded chai latte, Bondi Chai, has been named the Asia Pacific Food and Beverage Company of The Year in the 2015 International Stevie Awards.
Dubbed the “business Oscars”, the Stevie Awards have grown since their inception in 2002 to become the world’s leading international business awards program.
Bondi Chai’s co-founders, Melissa Edyvean and Martin Buggy, manage their fully-outsourced business (with just three direct employees) from their Port Stephens home and travelled to the awards ceremony in Shanghai to receive this latest accolade for their company.
“What a fabulous present for Bondi Chai’s 10th birthday, and what an honour for our business,” Melissa said.
“When we saw that people like Wesfarmers CEO, Richard Goyder, Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, Telstra CEO, David Thodey, and Australian household names like DHL, Jetstar, Harvey Norman and Amcor were among the award recipients ‚Äì as well as the incredible companies from other countries ‚Äì it made us feel pretty special.”
This is the company’s second major business award in less than 12 months, having last year been named the NSW Micro Business of The Year and National finalist in the Telstra Business Awards.
The company’s only product, Bondi Chai Latte, is a premium chai latte pre-mix that is today sold into thousands of cafes and hospitality venues around the country and in both major supermarket chains. It’s also sold in many countries around the world ‚Äì even in India itself, where chai is the de facto ‘national drink’.
Melissa and Martin were among the first to introduce the sweetly spiced tea-based drink to Australian cafes after discovering the ‘chai phenomenon’ whilst on a US holiday in 2000.
They created their own product and brand in 2005 and in the years since have helped to generate a nation-wide following for chai latte and Bondi Chai.
“We sold just 17kg of product in our first month back in 2005,” Melissa said. “These days someone buys a Bondi Chai Latte somewhere in the world every two seconds.”
Melissa said the Gold Stevie Award would be particularly valuable as they now focused on international growth.
“We spent our first eight years building a solid domestic business and after recently recruiting two incredibly talented sales professionals we’re now able to concentrate more fully on growing our export markets,” she continuted.
“Everything about our product was aimed at export ‚Äì as a concentrate it halves shipping costs; we used only the premium/natural ingredients that are now in such strong demand in Europe, the US and Asia; and even the name itself gives our product instant recognition overseas as Australian and, by extension, premium quality.”
“With interest coming in almost weekly from literally every corner of the world, this international recognition will be especially valuable to us.”
Image | Bondi Chai co-founders, Melissa Edyvean and Martin Buggy at the Stevie Awards in Shanghai, with their Gold Stevie Award.