We’re involved in the hibiscus product value chain. We currently process hibiscus into dry tea. Mildly put, we make zobo in teabags. Zobo is quite a popular drink enjoyed across Africa as a liquid beverage. Global interest in hibiscus has risen given its efficacy in the management and treatment of high blood pressure. It is reported that one out of three adults may have high blood pressure. As damning as this may sound, studies have shown that regular consumption of hibiscus tea may reduce the blood pressure of hypertensive and mildly hypertensive patients as hibiscus is potentially as effective as the most effective high blood pressure drugs.
ZTEA is perhaps the only indigenous tea brand with as much as 5 variants. We have taken advantage of the natural agricultural endowments of our geographical location – Jos, to use a diverse range of agricultural products that abound here. For instance, strawberries are grown here but over 80% of these go to waste post harvest for lack of storage facilities. So our 5 variants include, strawberry, mint, pineapple, beetroot and lemon. Given that hibiscus is popularly consumed as a liquid beverage, producing same in dry tea form is considered quite unique in these parts.
I’d say a bit of passion and curiosity. I’m an unapologetic foodie so I made zobo every weekend but unfortunately it’s quite a time consuming process. From boiling the leaves to cooling and adding the fruit extracts. So I often imagined quicker ways to enjoy same and voila, ZTEA was birthed. ZTEA is short for zobo tea.
Between being featured in The Spark and appearing on a billboard within a few months of product launch, its indeed a hard pick. We just received emails that our business would be featured and voila we were on a billboard in Lagos. We look forward to when ZTEA would become a staple in every Nigerian home.
Many times, we’ve been on the brink of a shut down. But we’re still here and, it’s been nothing but the audacity of hope. The hope that someday ZTEA would gain the sort of attention it deserves. Our customers have been our biggest motivation. Most have consistently shown belief in what we do and continually urge us to keep keeping on. Just recently an anonymous online buyer sent some unsolicited cash donation as part of their support to keep us in business. That’s the kind of love our customers continue to show us. Sometimes it even feels like they believe in the brand more than we do ourselves.
Perhaps the decision to go the entrepreneurship route.
If you could do something differently…
Personally I don’t regret decisions, actions or inactions of the past. I believe the happenstances of the past help shape our present. However, I think maybe I would have started out earlier. I think I restrained myself a little too much but over time I have learnt that perfection is at best a life long journey and hardly a destination. Sometimes over analyzing things just kills our dreams.
If you had extra funding…
We have a good product that certainly requires a lot more promotion. So if we had some extra funding support now, we would certainly invest some in promotion and acquisition of a few more machinery.
So, zobo is a very popular drink across Nigeria but interestingly not many people know zobo is hibiscus.
The time is always right to do what is right- Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
If your business were a food, what would it be and why?
Everybody loves rice. So if ZTEA were some type of food, it most certainly would be rice.