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Chose Chai Over Degree, Owns Million Dollar Firm in Australia

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Nov 11, 2022 8:00 AM

Read Time: 2 minute

In an ideal world, Sanjith Konda House would have finished his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at a prestigious Australian university and applied for a white-collar internship.

A comfortable corporate job, however, became a distant reality when the 22-year-old decided to become a "tea-seller," or "chaiwala," as he prefers to be known.

Melbourne, known for its coffee fetish, is now bingeing on tea and samosas as Nellore-born Sanjith has turned his maiden start-up venture 'Dropout Chaiwala' into a million (Australian) dollar company in just over a year.

Small tea shop became favourite hangout spot

The glow sign 'Dropout Chaiwala' drew the attention of an Indian tourist who stopped by for a quick second glance. If you're wondering what's in a name, think again because a small tea shop has become one of Melbourne's favourite hangout spots for the Indian diaspora.

"I was fascinated about tea from childhood and then conceived the idea of Dropout Chaiwala. My parents were initially shocked that I had dropped out and then apprehensive that I am planning my own business venture. Melbourne is the world's coffee capital and I was planning to open a tea joint."

On Instagram, the company claimed that the 22-year-old was inspired by his mother's love for "chai". "When she came down to Melbourne, they were struggling to find homemade chai. This was the place where the idea was born," the post stated.

Provide locals the taste of Indian tea

On the work front, Sanjith still imports tea from India as the aim is to give locals a taste of Indian tea. "Among the Indian community, the 'Bombay Cutting' is a big hit and the Australians love Indian 'masala chai' and 'pakodas'. Now we are about to open our second outlet in Melbourne," said Sanjith, who has employed Indian students, who do part-time jobs to supplement their incomes.

"But to attract new customers, you need to improvise which we have done with our fusion green tea and chaipuccino (call it the tea's version of cappuccino)."

"At Dropout Chaiwala, while employing people, we don't look at degrees but passion and hard work," said the man from Andhra Pradesh, who hopes to have one outlet of his tea joint in all Australian cities.

He now intends to complete his degree in social work, an area he is passionate about.

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