M’sian Instant Bubble Tea DIY Kits To Make At Home
In 2019, it seemed like a new brand of boba tea was popping up every week. By early 2020, many were already closing as the hype dwindled even before the MCO.
We are left with only bigger brands that have proven to dominate the Malaysian boba market.
Not wanting to be just another boba store in the Red Ocean, partners Paula and King wanted to bring a different experience to boba tea. So, they launched BOBABABA as instant DIY kits.
As instant as instant noodles
Now, Tealive has been selling its own version of DIY bubble tea kits since MCO last year. Paula also said it was one of their inspirations.
But Tealive kits are sold in bulk, where 1 set makes at least 10-15 servings of the same flavor for RM50. Tapioca pearls are also raw when delivered and require up to 30 minutes of constant cooking and stirring.
Pauline and King wanted to create one to work as an instant drink, just like Nescafé and Milo, which are often found in office pantries because they are simple and quick to prepare.
Speaking to Vulcan Post, Pauline shared, “We immediately thought, why not make a boba tea product similar to instant noodles? A practical product, easy to prepare and which can be enjoyed anywhere and anytime. “
Hence, their tea comes in powder form where each kit is individually wrapped to make 1 serving.
The sets come with instant tapioca pearls that take 40 seconds to make in the microwave or 4 minutes in boiling water. A single kit costs between RM6.80-9.50 depending on flavor.
“Our products can be ready in 2 minutes and can be prepared anywhere as long as you have access to a microwave and hot water,” said Paula.
To further simplify the process, their main product, the Starter Kit (RM142.90) consists of 9 different flavors of BOBABABA kits. It also comes with reusable ice cubes, a mug and a straw.
It is about improving the convenience of the product so that consumers can grab it and enjoy the drink anywhere. Their stainless steel ice cubes also keep drinks from getting thinner.
As mentioned above, the couple didn’t want to start their own boba store because the market was already saturated. But being an online store – while requiring less capital to operate – meant outreach challenges.
“We initially found it difficult to market our product because as an online store we don’t have the same exposure as a physical bubble tea store. So our options are limited to mainstream social media, ”explained Paula.
Their biggest setback came from importing their stocks from Taiwan. Having no experience with this, the 2 had to google everything where even information was scarce on the subject.
There were also delays in shipping their inventory. In the ports, there was a lot of confusion about how their business was operated, and some of their details also did not match the business address on the documents.
“Such delays caused us a lot of financial stress. Fortunately, this was resolved quickly, but it delayed our initial launch schedule by a few weeks, ”said Paula.
A good start for now
Since the launch of BOBABABA in January 2021, its first month has generated around 5,000 RM in revenue so far. Most of their clients for their first week of surgery were family and friends.
“We don’t really have any promising numbers to show, but for me that’s a pretty good number to start with, because we only started advertising properly two weeks ago,” a- she declared.
With this, they make it their short-term goal to build a larger audience base by making them understand the concept of their products.
In the long run, they hope to retail BOBABABA products on supermarket shelves not only in Malaysia but also around the world.
- You can read more about BOBABABA here.
- You can read more about the other Malaysian startups we wrote here.
Featured Image Credit: Paula and King, Co-Founders of BOBABABA
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