As one of our OG Chai Crusaders, Kayla has been an invaluable asset to the Chai Walli team We're definitely going to miss her as she embarks on a new adventure and we're so grateful for all the amazing work she has done with us. Let's walk down the red carpet to read about some of Kayla's "chailights" at Chai Walli.
How long have you been working at Chai Walli and how has your role evolved?
I have been working for Uppma and Chai Walli for almost three years. I still remember the phone call I made to Uppma about the role - I was at an airport, having come back from an overseas trip and I asked my partner to go get our bags as I had to speak with Chai Walli! I was seeking out a role where I could work remotely as at that time, my partner and I were spending 3-4 months each year in Asia, as well as house & pet sitting full time whilst in Australia. So a conventional job just wasn’t going to cut it! Uppma has been such an amazing boss, and I’m so grateful that she was open to being flexible with this role - we made sure it would work for both of us, but also kept up clear communication throughout.
What are 5 key highlights whilst working at Chai Walli?
Um, I think you mean Chailight….
Travelling to India with Uppma in 2019! I’ve always felt drawn to the Indian culture (I have an Italian background, so I’ve always felt that we’re basically the same...family, food, traditions...more food…), so it was such an honour to experience a small part of India with Uppma - working hard, meeting our tea suppliers, sourcing teawares, drinking SO much chai and meeting some of her family. It has ignited something in me which guarantees that I will travel to India again!
Being able to live overseas whilst still working for Chai Walli. The countries that I’ve been able to work from for Uppma are:
- Bali, Indonesia
- United States of America
- 4 states and territories in Australia
The launch of the honey Sticky Chai was pretty awesome, as it was the first time we brought in new packaging away from our classic chai bags AND we were passionate about making sure it was a recycled (and recyclable) jar...even through to the labels which are biodegradable! Working for a company that aligns so perfectly with my values is pretty rare but super exciting.
The team that Uppma has created feels pretty special at the moment and has definitely been a highlight. We’re all a little different, a little kooky and we all have strong passions outside of Chai Walli. This is something that Uppma encourages. I’m a little jealous that a) I don’t live in Sydney so I haven’t been able to attend many team lunches and dinners and b) I don’t live in Sydney so I haven’t been able to be a part of their skill-sharing evenings….Indian bollywood dancing, games night...I hear there’s a calligraphy class coming up!
Oh, and the chai puns. Who could forget the chai puns.
What has been the most memorable moment with Chai Walli?
Watching a person who I’m lucky enough to call a friend, grow a business and do it with such integrity and passion. I’ve always known that Uppma was destined to smash glass ceilings and bring people together - I knew it when we met 10 years ago and she was just thinking about Chai Walli and she shared her business plan ideas with me. Working for Chai Walli has definitely been a lot of work - I think any small business is, especially when you wear so many hats. But what has made this time memorable is Uppma’s passion and drive, being part of a company with such a clear vision, and watching it grow into the authentic business that it is today. I’m thrilled to have played some part in that.