Founder Focus: Mira Manek, CEO of ‘Chai By Mira’
What was your eureka moment?
I was sitting on a street in Mumbai having a coffee around 8 years ago and it suddenly dawned on me that I’d got it all wrong, that I was kidding myself about being healthy, I was totally wrong about Indian food being unhealthy (can’t even believe I thought that) and that oil wasn’t the evil ingredient. My book on healthy home cooked Indian food Saffron Soul was published 3 years later, my cafe and chai brand 2 years after that and then my second book Prajna, all about rituals to uplift and make us happy grounded in Ayurveda, came out in 2019.
What is your elevator pitch?
Chai by Mira, my chai spice mix, ticks all the boxes, it’s healthy, vegan, easy to make, doesn’t need to be brewed, simply melts into hot water or hot milk, can be mixed with anything (food or milk or drinks) and is the most versatile chai spice mix, that tastes spicily authentic, out there.
How did you test your idea?
My grandmother, mother and I spent trial after trial testing the original recipe years ago, making ourselves cups of tea, adding a little extra of one spice, then another, then a little more coconut sugar…. and so on and so forth… until we finally had the perfect blend. This original blend has stayed the same ever since!
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a business on their own?
Find a niche, be passionate about it, do your research, speak to people… and just do it!
Do you have a mentor or are you one?
I have several business mentors in my family and extended family. I don’t have one official mentor but think it’s great to have one.
What’s your plan B?
I have just trained as an integrated health practitioner and a breathwork teacher, so I’d like to develop my own method combining the best and most transformative tools that have helped me – from breathwork to tapping, from food to yoga – to help others back to happiness and to feeling their absolute best.
What is the most worthwhile investment (time, energy, money) that you have made?
All the yoga classes I’ve attended, all the retreats I’ve attended, training in breathwork… and of course writing my books!
What one failure are you glad you experienced?
In a sense, my marriage coming to an end felt like a huge failure for a very long time. But it is only because of this experience that I now do what I do.
What is coming up for your Brand?
I’m launching into various retailers and there’s lots happening on the backend. I’m excited for the year ahead. As well as a new product!
What book would you recommend that everyone reads and why?
Tricky question – can I say my second book Prajna – Ayurvedic Rituals for Happiness!? Possibly cheating.
I absolutely love reading and fiction is my favourite so I’d have a pretty long list!
How do you find balance in your daily life?
Going for walks, breathing fresh air, listening to podcasts and feeding my inspiration and creativity through these. I also love waking up early and starting my day with breathwork and doing some form of exercise first thing in the morning.