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Halda Valley Food and Beverage Managing Director Shamim Khan on what worked for the company in the early days

Shamim Khan is the Founder and Managing Director of Halda Valley Food and Beverage Ltd. The tale of Halda Valley began in 2002, when Nader Khan, Managing Director of PNL Holdings Limited, one of Bangladesh's most prominent corporate houses, acquired Halda Valley Tea Estate with an intention to add greater value to Bangladesh's tea sector.

Today, the company produces high-quality specialty teas for millions of tea lovers in Bangladesh and across the world. Shamim Khan, son of Mr. Nader Khan, joined the family business in 2016, following in his father's footsteps, and is now the Managing Director of Halda Valley Food and Beverage Ltd. Mr. Shamim, a physician turned entrepreneur, has since expanded the business and established Halda Valley as a consumer brand in Bangladesh.

In an interview with Future Startup published in 2021, Shamim shared some of the organic strategies the company used to find growth in its early growth. We illustrate the strategies for you below. This is an excerpt from a much longer interview we did with Mr. Shamim in 2021, you may read the full interview here

Despite a slew of challenges, your organization has made significant progress in a relatively short amount of time. What have been some of your successful strategies?

Shamim Khan: Firstly, differentiation has really enhanced our business’s competitive edge. The existing tea brands in the market primarily offer black tea. Black tea accounts for almost 99% of tea consumption in the country.

Green tea and other specialty teas, on the other hand, are a relatively niche market with a customer base of less than 1%, according to our 2017 market assessment. Even while green tea consumption has increased in the past year, it is still minimal.

We were the first to establish a market for specialty teas. We have always aligned ourselves with overseas brands rather than domestic brands. It is safe to say that our products are price inelastic — our customers are more health-conscious and less price-conscious. If we can guarantee taste and quality, they are willing to spend a higher price. We have developed a set of loyal customers from supershops, corporates as well as e-commerce, even though the percentage is really small.

Secondly, we give utmost attention to quality and customer satisfaction. We began by introducing glass jars. However, we had a few incidents of glass shattering owing to mishandling during distribution or shelf placement. Furthermore, our green tea is highly light-sensitive, and it is susceptible to color change when stored in a glass container. As a result, a threat to our quality loomed. To address this issue, we switched from glass to tin jars. We consistently communicate with our retail channels to accomplish our objective of a sustainable brand.

Our quality obsession has helped us to gain the trust of our customers. While our teas are locally made, our quality is of international standard. We are not competing with our local tea brands. We are competing with a small number of international brands who operate in our segment. We have developed a strategy to put ourselves in that segment and build an effective differentiation.

This is an excerpt from a much longer interview we did with Mr. Shamim in 2021, you may read the full interview here

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