We chatted with Miks of Miks Chai
Tell us about Miks Chai
Miks Chai is a tea social enterprise that enriches lives through storytelling. Our chai recipe has been passed down through generations and has always been made with love, and brewed to share. We’ve sourced ethically produced, organic spices for a perfectly balanced taste profile, and ensured that all ingredients are of the finest quality for maximum health benefits. What’s more, all of our packaging is 100% compostable.
We offer two delicious flavours: Original – our iconic spice flavoured tea with its bold, wholesome and embracing flavour and; Wattleseed – a buttery, nutty heaven with a punch of roasted, native Australian wattle seed, which supports the immune system from its nutritious dose of antioxidants. But, we know the most important ingredient in our chai is the conversation. Each cup of chai is a story to share and our profits fund suicide prevention in Australia.
What motivated you to create chai?
Two years ago, I quit my corporate job as an economist at Deloitte. I wanted to pursue my dream of using business to solve social problems in our society. I was especially impacted by the fact that the biggest killer of people my age and up until I’m 42 is suicide and if you live in a rural town in Australia, you are twice as likely to attempt taking your life. I wanted to change this appalling statistic. So I built a tiny home, bought a ute and travelled 60,000Km across Australia to talk to young people in rural communities about sharing their story as well as developing skills from writing a resume to how to public speak and think about a future for themselves. A lot of these young people couldn’t afford access to these workshops, so I began selling chai to fund access. I picked chai as it was something I knew how to make well, my grandmother’s recipe, it has always been a source of comfort to me. Being able to use my grandmother’s chai to help others felt very fitting given the kind and wonderful woman by grandmother is. Since then, Miks Chai has grown into something even bigger. It’s a global movement whose heart is centered on the belief that stories save lives.
Why is the message of sharing stories so important to you?
I identify as a queer South African Indian Australian woman. When I told my family this, I was initially met with a lot of fear and misunderstanding. They had never met a queer woman of colour before and in fact, neither had I. I could not see myself in the stories I was reading about in the newspaper, online, on TV or in my community. This made me feel alone. This made me feel invisible. As the research shows, when you don’t see yourself, the message is you do not matter. And this is exactly how I felt throughout my teenage and young adult years.
As I began to share my story more, I suddenly began to see myself, both in the sense that I began to now meet other queer women of colour and also in the struggles and challenges that many others faced for different reasons. I felt visible. Sharing my story saved my life. It gave me the courage to share my story with others and in time, even brought my family into a being of acceptable, where now we can plan my big Indian wedding together with my female fiance.
I strongly believe stories save lives. It allows us to see each other and be seen. It fosters connection. And through connection, we can end the narrative on suicide in Australia.
How does your company give back?
Miks Chai exists to enrich lives. Our mission is to provide ethically sourced, environmentally conscious, delicious chai to increase awareness and reduce suicide in Australia. We are delivering on our social impact mission in two ways: firstly, each packet of our chai comes with a conversation starter to encourage greater conversation around an individual’s wellbeing; and secondly, 50% of our profits are re-invested into social impact projects across Australia that reduce suicide.
What do you love most about you do?
Well, I absolutely love chai so that’s a huge bonus getting to order kilos and kilos of ingredients to make delicious tea and have a constant chai masala aroma around me. But I have to say the thing I absolutely love the most and what I feel blessed to have is the ability to be able to have a cuppa with so many incredible people from different walks of life. The most important ingredient in Miks Chai is the conversation that happens over it and in that light, we make sure we are always sharing a cuppa with people from all over the world. Whether it’s a chai on the billy while we are on the road or at home with friends and family, we love hearing and sharing stories. It really is at the heart of everything we do.
Who or what inspires you?
We are inspired by people who have the courage to create spaces for everyone to share their story and businesses who are committed to creating sustainable social impact. My personal icons are Michelle Obama, Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia), Malala Yousafzai, Beyonce and my grandfather, now late, who showed me the power of business to change lives for the better during an apartheid South Africa. Our daily inspiration comes from the stories shared with us which keeps us going through the tough times. We know every story has the potential to save a life and makes everything we do worthwhile.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Our vision is a world connected by stories. We love being able to conduct our business from Brisbane, where I spent my high school years, and am excited to share Miks Chai with the world right from our Brisvegas head office.
About Miks Chai
Brew a cuppa and share a story with a mate. Our delicious cups of chai are designed to bring people together, to share stories and have conversations about things that matter the most. We are currently brewing our next batch, for some delicious chai in your home, sign up on our website or like us on Facebook. https://mikschai.com/