January 2016 – December 2020
I searched far and wide for a chai tea that wasn’t a syrup, teabag, or powder and soon realized it wasn’t going to happen. So, I decided to make my own and after introducing it in a Coffee pop-up shop I was pleasantly surprised that it became an instant hit. Right there, Aslan Chai was born.
To determine if there was a market I experimented with various chai tea suppliers but it was hard to find anything freshly made that offered whole-ground spices. Further, they all used the traditional Assam tea and were mostly too high in the cardamom taste.
To further differentiate the product I used green tea instead of black for the additional health factor and to accentuate the flavor of the spices.
After countless taste tests, the final iteration became the fan favorite we know as Aslan Chai today.
It takes too long to mix your own chai spices
Often the flavor does not come out the same
Difficult to find freshly ground whole spice mixes
Laurie, 37 Married Yoga Instructor
Laurie is a yoga instructor who puts emphasis on her health and well-being. She enjoys tea’s, especially chai tea but wants consistency and quality.
Health & wellness
Most chai spices are too sweet or don’t seem natural.
Various recipes were tested with a few key guidelines. The chai could not be too sweet, it had to be spicy, not overpowered with a cardamom taste, and use green tea to allow the spices to shine.
Initial concepts were based on the notion of using some sort of lion shape or picture because Aslan means “lion” in Turkish. As the idea progressed and when I recognized that the demographic was wider than initially expected, I decided the logo should be neutral. In addition, to stand out on a retail shelf, I kept the logo basic and making the name “ASLAN” the focal point.
The sans-serif bold typeface, Bebas Neue, was used as the brand header and a clean sans-serif font, Open Sans, was chosen to fill in the body of any design material.
Aslan Chai has always aimed for a simple style to set itself apart from competing brands. Glass jars were utilised in an effort to to be environmentally friendly and provide a distinctive packing choice. As my concentration on online sales increased, I came to the conclusion that the packaging must serve the purpose. To reduce weight and keep shipping costs down, a slim pouch was chosen that could also be shipped as an envelope.
The website featured an online shop and provided information on the products. It was built for desktop first and later optimized for mobile use. Customers from Canada and US could shop in their own currency with location-based shipping fees.
Aslan Chai served the local community via online sales and retailers who carried the brand. The chai became a favourite and even expanded into the US via Amazon FBA.
What I learned
Extensive research, testing, and feedback are required to design a product because the market may react differently than expected. For example, I ended up making the chai spicier and less sweet than I intended because of the feedback.