Indians are not new to the coffee experience, even when a steaming pan of chai remains a common sight at the tea stalls we spot in every nukkad in town. Yet, the narrative around coffee has undergone major developments in the last few years, as a result of which the appreciation for this darkened gold has made its way beyond the southern borders of the country, where it has been ruling over the hearts of people for the longest time.
One of the key game changers in bringing about this notable change in how Indians enjoy their coffee is courtesy to to the makers of 'Sleepy Owl', a specially brewed, gourmet coffee brand that was co-founded by Arman Sood, Ashwajeet Singh, and Ajai Thandi in 2016.
Before the trio introduced Indian coffee drinkers to the rich and novel taste of cold brew coffee, co-founder Arman by his own admission said that, “up until law school he didn't even know coffee was a bean, that had to be roasted, then ground and brewed.” So we wonder how these three young men came across the gold mine of taste and the high of caffeine discreetly guarded by a select few who had discovered this beauty.
Ajai's stint at JP Morgan in New York, stirred his love for coffee for the first time, and in the time he ended up spending there, the love turned into a solid affair. So of course he was more than interested when Ashwadeep show the slightest interest in introducing cold-brewed coffee to people back home. Soon Arman joined the dua, and together the kick started 'Sleepy Owl'.
So from the very beginning the trio had a very simple agenda, “we wanted Indians to have a fantastic coffee experience, but we wanted to bring it to them in a convenient way for them to enjoy it. So that's what Sleepy Owl does - we make very convenient coffee products,” Arman tells MensXP.
'Sleepy Owl' became a 'corporate-household name' when it came to great tasting coffee which could be freshly delivered to their work desks. The bag-in-box format of 'Sleepy Owl' played a huge part in this, its convenience and quirky packing only adding to the brand's offerings.
But thankfully, even with his academic backgrounds in law, Arman's family was more than supportive of his decision to transition from law to entrepreneurship. But there is one element that makes the co-founders' and Sleepy Owl's journey all the more special, and it's the fact that Sleepy Owl sources its coffee from within the Indian subcontinent.
Proud of this fact, Arman tells MensXP that, “being a startup in India, we wanted to be rooted in the spirit of make in India. With India being the 4th largest coffee exporter in the world, we had to go with its fantastic Arabica coffee. We consistently source 100% of our Arabica coffee from Indian farms.
The makers of Sleepy Owl work with an aim to create delightful customer experience, yet the initial challenge of getting into retail stores did pose a hurdle. The brand decided to make use of social media popularity and built the hype around the brand online first, and followed it up with customer feedback. So once they had taken care of that along with the daily struggle of roasting, grinding and brewing coffee for that perfect blend, they launched on 16th June, 2016.
What started in Ashwajeet's home kitchen in Dwarka, soon moved out to a larger facility in South Delhi, and today they are available in 120 stores in Delhi NCR. But that is just not where they want to draw the line. With the projection that coffee industry will be a 5 billion dollar industry by 2020, Sleepy Owl wants to have a very big portion of that pie.
So for Arman, every budding entrepreneur must keep this in mind that, “entrepreneurship is like jumping off the cliff without a parachute and building it along the way.” But he also adds that don't listen to the naysayers no matter what they say.