In 2019. Wangari Kiburi started making functional teas to ease underlying health conditions that ail many.
Wangari who was in the banking sector decided to venture into tea production because she wanted to start something different.
“My late father-in-law had this idea of starting a factory, so he took me to Gatanga, I cannot remember the name of that factory, and we were supposed to see how they produce tea and duplicate the same when we start our factory. Unfortunately, that did not happen since he passed on, “she says
Wangari says that her ambition to start the tea business was propelled after she went to China.
“I was doing a side hustle of sports equipment. When I was there I realised the purple tea that I had seen in Gatanga was what people were taking, there was this thing they were calling blooming tea, a green tea that has several flowers crafted in a way that when put in a cup it infuses nicely that the leaves come back to the normal shape, this was very exciting,” she says
When she came back she knew that is the business she would venture in but to be different she decided to use her art to make tea.
“I decided to produce healing tea. Making tea out of anything that can improve someone’s life,” she says
Wangari says what she is doing is not new. The ancestors have been doing it only because she has improved the standards and addressed different health issues people are facing.
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In 2019, she registered as a tea packer under the Tea Board of Kenya. She did several types of research on herbs.
“I did not start with all this tea, I started with basic ones. I got to listen to what people want and come back and make what people want,” she says
Benefits of Functional Tea
You take them to ease a condition. There are conditions that one will take medication until the end of time.
“Something like guava, we know it as a fruit but the leaves have benefits of improving your health,” she says
Mukombero Tea and Power tea
“A lot of people are suffering from low libido because there’s a lot of chaos in life, so in this power team, we add; Mukombero, pumpkin seeds, ashwaganda,” she says
Menopause Ease Tea
Wangari said that she was added to a Facebook group where women were complaining about menopause. The women were complaining about hot flashes, lack of sleep, being bloated, and mood swings.
“What we’ve made is not medicine, just several herbs that have vitamins and minerals these women require. From my research, I found out that they require a lot of potassium and magnesium so the herbs I have added have those things. Sage reduces hot flashes and night sweats,” she says
Getting some of the herbs is hard due to climate change. “We had to get rid of the some of the herbs that are known for several benefits.”
Another challenge is that you give someone your products and they disappear with the money. Overtime we have been able to create our websites and we are dealing directly with the customers.
Wangari says that coming from a banking background made her fear loans because she worked as a loan recovery and auctioneering agent.
“I could see people being chased out their homes because they were not able to pay. So when I came out here I realised you need to plan to the latter, because you don’t go out taking loans when you are not sure this thing is viable,” she says
Wangari says that she has tried to avoid loans until she is stable and convinced that the money will come back.
Wangari advices people who would like to embark on that journey that they should just start.
“It’s going to be hard, a lot of people are going take your money, and others will pin you down. Do it when you are scared, when you are not even prepared you will learn. You cannot suffer from the mistake you can only learn,” she adds
Wangari has 3 permanent employees, who help around in packing and distribution.