Marketer Pamela Yip, 28, (right) and optometrist Jenny Le, 26, (left) started the Bubble Tea Club in April 2020
A pair of best friends who were stood down from their jobs during the coronavirus crisis have launched a booming business selling DIY bubble tea kits.
Marketer Pamela Yip, 28, and optometrist Jenny Le, 26, started the Bubble Tea Club in April 2020, sourcing all their ingredients from Taiwan where the iconic milky tea drinks with tapioca balls, known as boba, originated from.
The idea to sell their own bubble tea kits sprung to mind after the Melbourne friends struggled to make their own drinks at home because they couldn’t find their favourite toppings anywhere.
And so their humble brand was born in the midst of a global pandemic after their obsession with the drink led them to finding a niche in the market.
Fast forward, the business has since become ‘Australia’s top rated’ bubble tea brand with more than 550 boba flavour combinations – and a legion of fans – including MasterChef Australia stars like Jess Liemantara, Sarah Tiong and Derek Lau.
Their humble brand was born in the midst of a global pandemic after their obsession with the drink led them to finding a niche in the market (picture of lifestyle influencer Connie)
Customers can pick and choose the flavours and toppings they want in their kit, with prices starting from as little as $1.75 per serve, and have the box delivered straight to their door step
The brand all started when their jobs were impacted by covid. And with their city in lockdown, they wanted to make their own bubble tea at home.
‘We didn’t want to carelessly spend money on bubble tea but the craving was there,’ Pamela told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We thought we’d try making it at home ourselves but found it hard to get all the ingredients we needed. We also couldn’t find some of our favourite flavours like taro and rainbow jelly.’
And so they decided to source all the ingredients from Taiwan after Pamela had the ‘best authentic bubble tea experience’ during her trip there at the end of 2019.
And it wasn’t long before they realised there was a gap in the market for DIY bubble tea delivery kits.
‘We developed our own recipes and assemble the kits for people to easily make at home. We made it affordable too but there’s no compromise on flavour. We source from Taiwan as that’s where I had the best bubble teas ever,’ Pamela said.
Fast forward, the business has since become ‘Australia’s top rated’ bubble tea brand with more than 550 boba flavour combinations
The two best friends from Melbourne saw a gap in the market for DIY bubble tea delivery kits
As their business took off, the friends went from working in their living rooms of their homes to running the brand in their very own warehouse
As their business took off, the friends went from working in their living rooms of their homes to running the brand in their very own warehouse.
‘Majority of the time we were working separately in our own homes because of the restrictions. I handled all marketing and was actually taking photos and videos of our products from my living room while Jenny managed the operations,’ Pamela said.
‘Jenny and I have started spending less time on our “day jobs” and focused a lot more on our business. We’re hoping all of Australia will know of Bubble Tea Club in 2021 and we’re going internationally into America and UK this year.’
With an increasing number of Australians working from home, the pair quickly experienced a huge sales increase.
‘I think the pandemic encouraged people to give homemade bubble tea a go. Since they didn’t have a different alternative during lockdowns, we became their solution,’ Pamela said.
‘We were affordable, easy to make and taste just as good as the stores – which meant the word of mouth was incredible.’
Like any business, Pamela said working through the pandemic had a ‘big impact’ on the supply chain – including sourcing packaging in Australia, sourcing ingredients from Taiwan and delays with deliveries.
‘It has been a rollercoaster. It has gone so quickly with a lot of ups and downs. We’ve just held on tight and kept moving forward,’ she said.
The brand has also worked with MasterChef Australia stars such as Jess Liemantara (pictured above) to develop innovative bubble tea recipes for customers
Those who purchased the box have shared glowing reviews online, with many saying they enjoy the convenience of making the drinks whenever they want
The brand has also worked with MasterChef Australia contestants to develop innovative bubble tea recipes such as lemon myrtle, orange and peach cardamom gin, yuzu green tea and more.
For those looking to start a business, Pamela said: ‘The advice is to validate your idea by chatting with friends, posting in Facebook groups and checking if people are interested in what you have to offer.
‘If you notice there’s traction, that’s a great indication that you have a market and it’s worth investing money and time into the next step.’
The brand now has nearly 20,000 Instagram followers, with more than 1,200 five-star reviews online about the bubble tea kits.
Customers can pick and choose the flavours and toppings they want in their kit, with prices starting from as little as $1.75 per serve, and have the box delivered straight to their door step.
One shopper said the DIY box allowed her to create her favourite drinks because she was unable to leave her home due to coronavirus isolation.
‘These are great things to get while in isolation. We haven’t been able to go out to buy bubble tea and was happy to make these at home,’ she said.
‘It’s like authentic bubble tea, only difference is making it at home.’