There’s something to admire about student entrepreneurs. Juggling one’s studies while also worrying about how to build a business isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
But this excited Aliff, a UKM student. While studying, he launched Charming Malaysia, a coffee and milk tea-based beverage.
The idea for the business was sparked by a conversation Aliff had with his two friends, who were drinking Cham Peng (a combination of iced coffee and tea) at the time.
Having never heard of this drink before, he tried it and found it to be unique and delicious.
“Hence, I decided to come up with a product that enables people to taste Cham anywhere at any time, instead of having to go to a kopitiam every time you want it,” shared Aliff.
His 3-in-1 product was born, with the brand name “Charming” representing the experience that one gets from the charm and beauty of the aroma of coffee and tea combined.
Charming his friends and family with Cham
Once the idea materialised, Aliff then decided to research Cham’s general taste and eventually came up with his own version of Cham. Then came the validation phase for his product, which he turned to family and friends for.
“The majority of the comments were positive ones, and that was when I realised that I should distribute this drink to others,” said Aliff.
Given that Charming is relatively new in the market, Aliff believes that patience is essential in creating demand.
Currently, Charming’s official website prices its 12 sachets of Cham at RM20.99. While some may argue that this may be above the average price of 3-in-1 drinks, Aliff has his reasons.
“After conducting a market survey, we found that our prices are still comparable to that of other brands that sell Cham,” justified Aliff.
Adding on, the founder stated that Charming includes two varieties of coffee beans, Robusta and Arabica and three varieties of tea, black, red, and green tea. With such a blend, consumers get more complexity and depth in flavour.
In further justifying his pricing for the product, Aliff mentioned that he had taken the production costs into consideration when determining the prices.
Focusing on marketing now
In terms of production, Charming collaborates with a factory owner to manufacture their 3-in-1 Cham sachets.
This enables the team to place their focus on spreading and promoting the brand as best as they can. For instance, for their one-month anniversary of operations, the team conducted a giveaway.
Participating in this giveaway were 214 participants and as a result, the beverage brand gained more than 200 new followers.
Aliff claimed that this marketing strategy proved that their methods were viable and effective. He also has plans on using other advertising methods such as influencer marketing, sponsoring sports events, and conducting free sample events.
“With the factory handling the production of Charming entirely, the challenging aspect would be finances, in my opinion,” shared Aliff.
Along the way, the brand faced some difficulties in finding investments. However, Aliff was quite positive that he would overcome this, stating that this was a common challenge for every entrepreneur.
Looking at the big picture
According to Aliff, there are only a few beverage brands that have introduced Cham into the Malaysian market, but they are hardly found in grocery stores.
“Therefore, Charming plans to drive the Malaysian market into embracing the Cham flavour as there are still so many who are unfamiliar with the taste,” said Aliff.
Moving forward, Charming has plans to introduce a new product, Kopi-O, which will give consumers a “kampung” taste.
Together with this, Charming will also be releasing a series of coffee flavours including cappuccino, mocha, and latte.
In further explaining his future plans, Aliff mentions that he has a five-year plan that will guide him into expanding Charming.
Within three years, he first intends for Charming to make its way into well-known grocery stores such as AEON Big and Lotus.
If that comes to fruition, then he’d like Charming to be stocked in as many Malaysian grocery stores as possible in the following years.
- Learn more about Charming here.
- Read about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Charming