So, who is Queen of Chai, and how was it started? Let’s find out more about the brand, and even better, let’s meet the lady behind the “crown”, shall we?!
Anyone for some tea, or should I say tantalizing chai tea?! It’s been 1 year already and counting! Yes, you heard right! Presenting, the “Queen of Chai” oriental tea brand with whole spices, whose mission is to bring you the best oriental teas in town, and so much more!
Founded in 2019, I, Hajirah Dawray Cassiem, am the proud small business owner of Queen of Chai and am loving it. I am a proud entrepreneur who built the brand from scratch, and it has since been in existence for just over a year. What I have learnt is that owning a business has its challenges, but more importantly, it’s the most humbling and profound year- and- a half to date.
So what did I envision for myself, as in, life after school?
Along with a degree in B.COM marketing and business management, I have acquired over 10 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, digital marketing, branding and advertising. I also achieved certifications, such as various diplomas in digital marketing, content marketing, strategic marketing and events management. Before starting my own business, I was permanently employed on a full-time basis. My aim was to climb the various stepping stones to master the world of marketing.
Where did my career path start?
My professional journey began in the publishing industry as a sales executive. After being promoted to Project Manager, I began to manage my own events team. I was fortunate to have been working at one of the top advertising agencies. As a result, I gained an invaluable set of skills and loads of experience along the way. This career path inspired me to want to do and learn more. I decided to pursue further studies in the digital domain. This led me to my next position as a Channel Manager for a Media company. It allowed me to meet many well-known digital guru’s and business partners within this industry. As a result, I felt confident to follow my calling of working in the digital sphere. Consequently, I took on another position as a full time Brand Manager. I was based at one of the best triple accredited business schools in South Africa. This environment really inspired me. Apart from refining my interpersonal skills, I was privileged to meet so many kinds of people from all types of industries. It was a great honour to be able to see how so many like-minded people as myself, worked towards their own personal goals by making a name for their brands, and helped others achieve the same.
So, with all these wonderful tools and experiences, how did all of this lead to the inception of the Queen of Chai brand?
Growing up, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. And, to my dad’s credit, I have him to thank for instilling these values in me. In my former years as a student, I started an events project and created a fundraising organisation called “Life is Precious”, which is still in existence today. Being the hard-worker that I am, I knew about the long hours and sacrifice it would take for me to pursue my dreams.
From a health perspective, I have not always had the best of health. During my adolescent years, my growth was stunted for 2 years due to suffering from a chronic condition. This, however, has made me stronger. So after my schooling years, I knew I wanted to pursue marketing. At the latest point in my career, after the position as Brand Manager was nearing its end, I took some time to reflect and ponder about my career ambitions.
Although, I loved my career immensely, I was ready for a change. A change, which would allow me to have more control over how my time was spent daily, and to help me feel more fulfilled holistically. It was also after getting married that my priorities shifted. It was during this period of my life that I embarked on this venture with my husband, Taariq Cassiem. He is not only my amazing husband, but also my business partner. Together, with his continuous love and support, it has made this journey so much more rewarding. What began as a mere enjoyment of wholesome quality oriental tea and spices, turned into something so much more! And just like that, Queen of Chai was born! Now, I am able to pursue my love for experimenting in the kitchen with wholesome spices and quality oriental teas, and share it with all those around me. Having been raised in a culture where people appreciated the old school way of brewing tea, and specifically, chai tea, it soon became a hit! I was thrilled to be able to bring a much needed blend of wholesome oriental teas to tea lovers all over.
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