There is something to admire in entrepreneur students. Juggling studies and at the same time worrying about how to build a business is not a cup of tea for everyone.
But this excited Aliff, a UKM student. While studying, he launched Charming Malaysia, a milk tea and coffee drink.
The idea for the business came from a conversation Aliff had with his two friends, who were drinking Cham Peng (a combination of iced coffee and tea) at the time.
Having never heard of this drink before, he tried it and found it unique and delicious.
“So, I decided to come up with a product that allows people to taste Cham anywhere and anytime, instead of having to go to a kopitiam whenever they want,” Aliff shared.
His 3-in-1 product is born, with the “Charming” brand that represents the experience that is derived from the charm and beauty of the aroma of coffee and tea combined.
Charm his friends and family with Cham
Once the idea materialized, Aliff then decided to research the general taste of Cham and eventually came up with his own version of Cham. Then came the validation phase of his he product, for which he turned to relatives and friends.
“Most of the comments were positive, and that’s when I realized I should be distributing this drink to others,” Aliff said.
As Charming is relatively new to the market, Aliff believes patience is essential to create demand.
Currently, Charming’s official website rates its 12 sachets of Cham at RM 20.99. While some may argue that this may be above the average price of 3-in-1 drinks, Aliff has its reasons.
“After conducting a market investigation, we found that our prices are still comparable to those of other brands that sell Cham,” justified Aliff.
Furthermore, the founder said that Charming includes two varieties of coffee beans, Robusta and Arabica, and three varieties of tea, black, red and green. With such a blend, consumers get more complexity and depth in flavor.
In further justifying the price of the product, Aliff said he took production costs into account when determining the prices.
Focusing on marketing now
In terms of production, Charming collaborates with a factory owner to produce its 3-in-1 Cham sachets.
This allows the team to focus on spreading and promoting the brand in the best possible way. For example, for their first anniversary in business, the team organized a giveaway.
214 attendees took part in this giveaway, and as a result, the beverage brand gained more than 200 new followers.
Aliff said this marketing strategy proved their methods were viable and effective. She also plans to use other advertising methods such as influencer marketing, sponsoring sporting events, and running free sample events.
“With the factory managing the entire production of Charming, I think the hard part would be finances,” shared Aliff.
Along the way, the brand faced some difficulties in finding investments. However, Aliff was positive enough that he would overcome this, stating that this was a common challenge for every entrepreneur.
Looking at the big picture
According to Aliff, there are only a few beverage brands that have introduced Cham to the Malaysian market, but they are hardly found in grocery stores.
“Therefore, fascinating plans to lead the Malaysian market to embrace the Cham flavor as there are still so many who are not familiar with the taste,” said Aliff.
Moving forward, Charming plans to introduce a new product, Kopi-O, which will give consumers a taste of “kampung”.
Along with this, Charming will also release a number of coffee flavors including cappuccino, mocha and latte.
Explaining his future plans further, Aliff says he has a five-year plan that will guide him in the expansion of Charming.
Within three years, he intends for the first time Charming to make its way into well-known grocery stores such as AEON Big and Lotus.
If this is accomplished, then he would like Charming to be stocked in as many Malaysian grocery stores as possible in the following years.
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Featured Image Credit: Fascinating