Galentine's Day...what is this? It's only our most favourite non-commercial, just-for-the-love-of-it, holiday! Whilst Valentine's Day has been overrun by Hallmark Cards, red roses at 10x the price of any other day, and the underlying feeling for those that are single that they just need to stay in bed....GALENTINE'S DAY is the opposite! Traditionally celebrated on the day before V Day, so on 13th Feb, G Day is a a day for your gal pals (of all the genders). It's a day to pick a posie for your bestie, to treat your mate to a chai, and to let your friends know that THEY are the most important people in your lives.
A quick history lesson: Galentine's Day was actually created about 10 years ago by a TV Show! Yep, it was that legend Leslie, from Parks and Recreation that announced that on the day before Valentine's Day, her and her pals leave the partners at home, and go out and celebrate each other. The idea spread and now you'll even see big companies jumping on the Galentine's Day bandwagon!
So, in true G Day spirits, we felt it was absolutely necessary to introduce the Chai Walli communitea to Uppma's best friend, Krisi. Krisi is an awesome boss lady in her own right, who lives in Melbourne and devours SO MUCH chai that you'd be forgiven in thinking that she owns shares in the company. But no, it is just her genuine love for Chai Walli and Uppma that keeps her sipping. We hope you enjoy this loved up Galentine's Day interview...
Chai Walli: Hey Krisi! Happy Galentine’s! We know that you and Uppma are really great friends...we’d love to know how and when you met?
Krisi: Happy Galentine’s Day!! What a brilliant idea!
Uppma came into my life at a very important time. It was May 2014. I was in the middle of my final year university thesis project about making local community and place. I had set up a pop-up community event in the local park to spark engagement from other young people in the area. I thought perhaps the event would engage a few conversations and some nice photos for the thesis. However, I ended up leaving with a life long friendship.
It just so happened that Uppma went for a run that day and serendipitously stopped by my event to see what was happening. We found that we shared the same yearning for community and began planning a catch-up to see how we could collaborate. She trustingly invited me, a stranger, over to her home where she made a beautiful brekky. I remember feeling like I knew her my whole life. We talked for hours! Nothing has really changed since.
CW: Aside from being a legendary friend, we also heard that you were involved in a few of the Chai Walli projects in the early days. We’d love to know more!
K: I was!! It all began after attending one of Uppma’s brilliant workshops at one of her local Melbourne Chai Walli stockist. This may have been the third time I met Uppma but I fell in love with the Chai Walli chai and Uppma’s ability to bring people together.
Uppma, being the amazingly trusting person she is, gave me my first ever design commission. It was to design the Chai Walli stall for the 2016 Sydney Tea Festival. She flew us up for the weekend to make the stall and work with the Chai Crusaders serving the masses. We snuck in a cheeky cronut here and there too.
Since then, and together with her husband Daniel, we have set up many stalls at other tea festivals and design markets. But there was no greater time than when we worked together in the Chai Walli HQ in 2017. We worked hard, with the exception of a few dance battles, at refining the Chai Walli brand and we built a website to showcase it. There were bittersweet tears when it was all completed.
K: Oh my, so many! Our times together as friends and as colleagues is always filled with laughter, positivity and growth. It would be so hard to pick just one favourite! As much as Uppma and Chai Walli have achieved over the years I know this is just the beginning! An absolute highlight would be getting to see Uppma take Chai Walli from a humble tea stall at a local farmers market to a brand on the world stage. It’s a pretty surreal feeling seeing your best friend on TV shows like ‘The Livingroom’ and radio shows like ABC Radio National. It really takes a person with determination and a vision to do that!
K: Haha, something that people might not know about Uppma is that she is an UNREAL Bhangra dancer and teacher. She has managed to stay connected to her cultural heritage and invite anyone who is willing to part take. She choreographed and danced a four song medley for her wedding which she taught a group of us and we performed alongside her. It was truly magical.
And also she can devour two double scoop ice-creams within an hour in Italy. Now that is pretty boss if you ask me!
CW: We know Uppma is one awesome #bosslady, but how is she as a friend? What would you say are her best qualities?
K: Uppma is the most generous and kind hearted person you will ever meet. Her passion and efforts to empower other young women are quite remarkable. She really cares about other people with her entire soul. There have been countless times that Uppma has been there for me in so many different ways. Her ability to trust in the people around her sets her apart from other leaders.
Apart from being a woman we can all look up to she is a woman who is always willing to extend her arms out to others… ok...I'm not crying, you’re crying!
CW: Ok - now let’s get serious...what is your favourite Chai Walli blend?
K: Don’t be ridiculous. How could you have JUST ONE favourite?! Here is a list of my favourites; 11 Spice Chai, 11 Spice Caffeine Free Chai, Lemongrass Chai, Golden Chai, Digestion Blend, Skin Glow Blend, Relax & Unwind Blend and English Breakfast.
I could keep going…. They are more than just teas! They are a lifestyle.
CW: Do you have a chai or tea ritual at home?
K: Yes! Every night before bed my husband and I share a large teapot of Chai Walli without fail! We change our choice of blend depending on how we are feeling. If we had a heavy meal it will be a night for the Digestion blend. If it’s a hot night we will have an Iced Skin Glow tea. A lot of the time we will go for a classic 11 Spice Chai (without milk - crazy, I know!).
When I was living in a share house we would make a big pot of 11 Spice Chai with full cream milk and jaggery. It’s what would bring us together after dinner.
As mentioned before…. It's a lifestyle ;)
Thanks so much Krisi for sharing your love of Chai Walli and of Uppma!