If ever there was a case study of how the storied past of the Caribbean region is able to contribute to building blocks of successful brand building, then SMAKS is it.
The Trinidad and Tobago based company whose tea products have successfully managed to harness the appeal and mystique of the Caribbean and embody its essence, history and culture has already received the ‘seal ‘ of recognition. when the Queen of England writes to thank you for your tea, you know you’re on to something good.
Not that the brand’s creator, Kiran Akal ever had any doubts. His foray into the luxury tea market and has driven from the start by personal enthusiasm, a passionate love of the beverage, and a conviction that he has something new and exciting to offer to tea-lovers everywhere – including Buckingham Palace! In a world where so many products go for the lowest common denominator, his company, SMAKS Luxury Group (Bespoke Tea) takes a “quality over quantity” approach. “Yes, we are more expensive, but we are not concerned with mass production,” he declares. “teas are really a craft , not an industry.
Akal puts his money where his mouth is: he drinks about 14 cups of tea , ” from the time I get up, to when I go to bed.” The love affair started when he was 10, and blossomed when he went to university in London and discovered the world of fine, loose-leaf teas. It served him in good stead many years later, when he was brainstorming with his sister about a way to re-brand his mother’s 31 – year-old business: the original SMAKS, a store in Trinidad and Tobago that sold luxury goods, including fine crystal and porcelain. ” My sister suggested I should sell tea, because I drank so much of it,” he recalls. It was a no-brainer.