From 2016 to 2023: A Christmas Reflection

From 2016 to 2023: A Christmas Reflection

While we proudly pioneered artisanal masala chai concentrates in the Philippines, it's crucial to clarify that we don't claim to have invented chai or concentrate production—such a claim would be absurd. Our goal is to remain active in the industry, engaging in discussions about masala chai and tea, and recognizing the rich history and contributions of those who paved the way before us.

This commitment is our way of honoring and respecting the traditions that have shaped our incredible journey. As we reflect on the path Jacob's Well Chai (JWC) has traveled since 2016, it's important to note that even though our logo indicates 2016, making us technically 7 years old, the journey has been more nuanced.

For more than half of this period, JWC was a side hustle to the side hustle. I maintained a steady full-time job while running JWC after work. The venture began during the closing of my tenure at Bo's Coffee, where I initiated a makeshift coffee shop styled as a 3rd-wave experiment (Testify Coffee). After running it for a year faced with commercial challenges we closed Testify. However, this endeavor birthed Dad's drink, later branded as Jacob's Well Chai— and will still remain a side hustle to the side hustle. I eventually quit my corporate job, tried my hand at farming, pottery, and carpentry, and then realized JWC could benefit more if I took another full-time job.

Managing a rapidly growing consumer brand called Hydroflask became my next adventure, and once again, JWC took a back seat. Simultaneously, I took a cooking job at Dulo in Poblacion, encountering great people and learning the labor of love in the kitchen.

Amidst self-doubt and market uncertainties, I recognized that chai wasn't a conventional choice for many. However, I decided to be intentional about it, investing more time and taking risks. This decision marked a turning point—a leap of faith that felt like one of the best I've ever made so far.

During this transformative time, I asked my sister who was heavily involved in baking at that time to help me with production. Faced with a crossroads, choosing her over a colleague who knew more about the coffee industry was a decision driven by the desire to bond with her. The journey with my sister proved to be complex but immensely rewarding, fostering both personal and professional growth.

Fast forward to 2020—a year of marriage and a pandemic. I leased an office, marking a significant chapter for the next three years. My sister continued her role in operations and production, and I became more open to welcoming new team members. Yanna, handling sales coordination and admin, stuck with us during challenging times, embodying resilience, dedication, and a trait I didn't know I hold very, very dearly - loyalty.

As we expanded the team, moved the commissary, and established a dedicated space for meetings and clients, JWC started resembling a real company. A realization of a childhood dream! With more time to contemplate the next steps, I began transitioning from making products to building a company. While a few team members are still missing, we've never felt lacking. I firmly believe that whatever we lack, God provides. Through this, I can affirm that our company is multifaceted, and never backs down on any challenges! A CEO's pride!

Despite facing bleak, tough, and crushing days, I drew inspiration from my sister's childhood lesson: don't lose the fun. This principle has guided JWC through every challenge. 

If you should find any encouragement from this, it is: please don't belittle your journey. Each day is a new chance to defend the unique joy that only you can understand. Keep your head up—you're doing more than just fine!

Merry Christmas from our growing little chai family to yours!

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