Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Featured Exhibitor: SoFull Chai




Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jennifer Kanikula. I am many things I suppose. A mother, wife, and a chaiwala of course! But also a dietician by day (at least for now)!. I love to travel, which is how this whole little business venture was started in the first place, and I also love to create, so the two went hand in hand when the business began.

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?
When my husband Trevor and I left on our travels I began a food and travel blog ( I am a dietician by trade and I liked the play on words between So Full, and Soulful. Frankly, no place we ever traveled had more soul than India. So when we began making chai, the name seemed perfectly appropriate!

How did you get started in your business?
My husband Trevor and I traveled to India and Nepal for a month each back in 2020. We were 4 days into a 14 day hike in the Annapurna mountain range when we were forced to turn back because of COVID and fly home early. However, during our stay in each country we drank chai constantly. Multiple times a day, every day, just like the locals. I was fortunate enough to take a cooking class while in India and learned how to make authentic Indian masala chai. I never had any intention of turning it into a business, I simply began making it at home when we returned and friends and family encouraged me to try selling it at farmers markets. Two years later, here we are.

What do your customers love most about your product(s)?
I think customers love its authenticity. I think they appreciate that it tastes like true chai, and that means it packs a little bit of spice. I think they also begin to really appreciate the 3-4 minute ritual of making it each morning. It is an opportunity to slow down and create a relaxing morning routine, and we have been so glad to hear how many people have begun to cherish that morning routine. What is nice about our product, is that it is intended to be made at home. Coffee for example, tends to be best at the coffee shops, and your coffee at home is simply a quick easy substitute of lesser quality, but our chai is best made at home by you. Coffee shop chai is lagging, unlike their coffee, they put no time or love into the process, and it is evident in the quality of the chai. So it is fun to be able to provide a premium product for people to enjoy and make themselves at home.

What is the latest thing you have been working on?
Lately we have been working on getting into coffee shops. Most coffee shops are using macro products from big businesses with watered down and Americanized versions of chai. We hope to change that. However the beauty of our product is its authenticity, so we are trying to find ways to make our product more accessible to coffee shops without losing the traditional spicy flavor we know and love.



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