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Growth Through COVID: Rapid Expansion with Bubble Tea Club

4 mins
Customer storiesE-commerce

Bubble Tea Club is a DIY bubble tea kit brand, as co-founder Jenny Le says, “we found it insane that it was such a big industry but there were no DIY Kits.”

Based in Melbourne, Jenny and co-founder Pam Yip started the brand as a way to bring bubble (or “boba”) tea away from the stores and into the home. The online store quickly gained popularity, with Jenny and Pam working around the clock to keep up with the sudden demand for their product.

Since its inception in April 2020, Bubble Tea Club has distributed one million servings of DIY bubble tea, and was nominated for a National Retail Award People’s Choice Award. Its products include classic bubble tea flavours like taro milk tea and mango fruit tea through to special collaborations with Masterchef Jess Lemon and others to launch their own bubble tea kits.

Bubble Tea Club experienced massive growth in a short period

COVID-19 and its ensuing lockdowns created a desire to have bubble tea at home. For Bubble Tea Club, this meant experiencing exponential growth within a few months in 2020. 

The rapid growth soon caused headaches for Bubble Tea Club, with the company struggling to store products in its original space. Furthermore, working remotely as a new team whilst keeping up with increasing demand was proving difficult.

“That was part of growing - recognising that we can’t do things on our own. You’re managing marketing to a handful of people and then suddenly you’re managing it to tens of thousands of people.”

Pamela Yip, Co-Founder at Bubble Tea Club

Bubble Tea Club had to scale up, and so Jenny and Pam decided to take the business to a 500sqm space with the capacity to fit 30 staff, whom they enlisted to meet the demand for their product. The larger space allows them to store premium ingredients imported from the home of bubble tea, Taiwan.

Trusting yourself whilst listening to feedback are vital for expansion

Jenny and Pam continue to improve their brand based on customer feedback. Pam stresses the importance of taking on customer feedback whilst trusting your gut and knowing which issues are truly important for the brand. 

“You have to trust yourself: it goes with the team, it goes with the inventory and it goes with having a network of people around you. You’re the one who is facing your business every single day, so you trust yourself as to what is the next step and what is the right decision to make.” 

Pamela Yip, Co-Founder at Bubble Tea Club

Airwallex helped Bubble Tea Club pay international supplies in local currencies

Importing ingredients from international suppliers can be expensive. Jenny and Pam needed a way they could import bubble tea ingredients from Taiwan without the hefty foreign exchange fees.

Airwallex enables Jenny and Pam to import premium Taiwanese ingredients without hefty FX fees using it’s Global Accounts product, something that has helped the company save on importing costs. 

The brand continues to win boba fans across Australia, and its popularity is so great that Jenny and Pam are now working towards trialling their product in the United States and New Zealand.  

The co-founders believe Airwallex will play a large role in this expansion by enabling US and NZ customers to pay in local currencies. Airwallex also allows companies to save on paying ecommerce and social media platforms, something that is important for Bubble Tea Club’s growth.

“If we’re setting a lot of international products and systems then we are copping a lot of fees. With Airwallex, we are able to save a lot on things like Facebook, and this allows us to redistribute the money to the right places.” 

Pamela Yip, Co-Founder at Bubble Tea Club

What’s next for Bubble Tea Club?

As well as its planned expansion into the US and New Zealand, Bubble Tea Club has received interest from Canada and the United Kingdom. Jenny and Pam are now working towards moving their supply chain to the US and inviting anyone internationally to join the Bubble Tea Club and experience the fun of making bubble tea at home. 

“People say to us that once they try our bubble tea they don’t go back to stores. We can’t wait for bubble tea lovers outside of Australia to be able to say the same.”

Pamela Yip, Co-Founder at Bubble Tea Club

Find more about how you can expand overseas using our International eCommerce Playbook

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