Bubble Tea Club delivers everything you need to make bubble tea in the comfort of your own home. You can get bubble tea flavors, toppings and pearls, and even a reusable cup to satisfy your boba tea cravings without leaving your front door.
The fast-growing brand was started by five friends in Australia in April 2020. In just one month, Bubble Tea Club reached six-figure sales and close to 10,000 followers on Instagram. I spoke to Jenny Le from the team to understand how the team built the brand, their journey so far, and how they satisfied their own boba tea cravings.
Mouthwatering. Via Bubble Tea Club
Where It Began: Brainstorming Business Ideas in Quarantine.
In March 2020, Australia went into lockdown. Jenny worked as an optometrist, and her workplace was closed until further notice. Her fiance Justin owned POKÉD, a chain of poke restaurants, which were also closed for six weeks. The future was uncertain for their businesses.
Jenny and Justin were brainstorming business ideas when their friend Pamela approached them with an idea for Do-It-Yourself Bubble Tea kits. It was a promising idea, especially during the lockdown period. Bubble tea is extremely popular in Australia, and demand was so great that new stores had been opening across Sydney & Melbourne since 2018. A kit for making premium bubble tea at home sounded like the perfect fix during lockdown – especially for people craving their boba fix without paying premium prices.
Everything to need to make your own Bubble Tea at Home
Justin added two more people to the team: Yi Xuan, a manager at Justin’s poke restaurants, and Tim, his little brother who is still in school. The team of five worked day and night to launch the business as soon as possible.
Authentic ingredients were sourced directly from Taiwan, where bubble tea originated. The team set up their storefront on Shopify and started promotion via Facebook and Instagram. They also needed to pack their products for shipping and handle customer inquiries.
A happy customer shares her haul. Via FB
The response was extremely positive. Sales grew quickly, and their products got plenty of positive feedback. Their social followings quickly grew – and then they ran into the problem of shipping.
The Biggest Challenge: Packaging and Shipping the Ingredients
Jenny shared that logistics was the biggest challenge for the team. Initially, their ingredients were carefully packaged in beautiful, premium-looking glass jars, wrapped in layers of bubble wrap. However, some customers received cracked or leaky packages due to rough handling during the delivery process.
“Most people were very lovely, and let us know what had happened,” Jenny recounts. “Some people who were unhappy at first were later satisfied with our customer service when we replaced their order and added extra toppings.”
Some customers also experienced shipping delays because of disruptions during the crisis, but Jenny is thankful that many of the customers were understanding and kind. Many of the positive reviews praise the excellent taste, as well as Tim’s deft handling of customer support questions.
The positive reaction to their products has led to their biggest driver of growth: Word of Mouth.
Their Biggest Growth Engine: Word of Mouth
Social media has driven plenty of traffic and engagement for Bubble Tea Club. The team is extremely active on Facebook and Instagram, posting content daily – memes, monthly update videos, and beautiful product images. Jenny shared that the team pitch in for ideas, and Pam, who works in marketing, puts it all together.
Pam and Jenny spilling the T in their July Update Via Facebook
Their Facebook page also serves as a community for bubble tea lovers, who post their own memes and unboxing videos. “Everyone is obsessed, bubble tea fanatics, and it’s great to share the love.”
ReferralCandy has also helped to nurture word of mouth by making it easy for customers to share with their friends. “We’ve had lots of positive feedback, but reaching out to new people can be difficult. That’s why ReferralCandy is so important – and we’ve seen good traffic from people using it.”
The Next Step: Continuing to Grow and Build the Brand
With the world opening up again, Jenny and the team intend to keep the brand going and growing. “We’ll wait and see to look at how demand changes, but we have good processes and we can keep things going even after isolation.” They still have their day jobs; the team is prepared to keep working nights and weekends to keep growing their brand.
“When we first tried it, I was surprised by how good it tasted. Our product is premium, and our customers love it.” Jenny emphasizes that they source their ingredients directly from Taiwan, the homeland of bubble tea. “It tastes as good as in the shops.
“There’s definitely a market for DIY bubble tea and it’s a lot cheaper than purchasing a cup every week.” Jenny estimates a cup of bubble tea to be about 8 Australian dollars, compared to about AUD$2 from Bubble Tea Club.
The team sees the potential to grow the brand across Australia, building on the huge demand from customers in Western Australia and Queensland. They regularly launch new flavors and toppings and recently introduced their branded reusable cups.
Now that they’ve seen the demand felt the love for bubble tea, they are excited to see what the future holds for Bubble Tea Club.
The Bubble Tea Club, ready to take on the world