A Slice on Brook Eddy, Founder and CEO of Bhakti Chai
Bhakti. Noun. Definition – devotional worship directed to one supreme deity. Brook Eddy had the unique opportunity to fully immerse herself in the culture in India. During this time she tried hundreds of different homemade chai teas, each with a slightly different taste and recipe: saffron, mint leaf, ginger, etc. The list of options goes on. Inspired and determined to create her own chai recipe, Eddy is now Founder and CEO of Bhakti Chai, an organic, non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free chai tea company. To date, Bhakti Chai has raised $12.1 million in funding and has won multiple awards.
Eddy initially followed the traditional education path by going to college then receiving her Master’s. Eddy set out to India and spent three months interviewing people involved in a social movement based on the word, “bhakti” or “devotion”. Eddy was able to go into people’s homes to conduct interviews about the effects the movement was having on their lives and communities. There was one thing in common with all of the interviews… chai. “Each recipe was a little different. It’s very subtle so someone might just put a thread of saffron or a mint leaf or almond or a dash of ginger… some people use cow’s milk or goat’s milk or different amounts of sugar, so I was able to try hundreds of different homemade recipes.”
When the three months in India came to an end, Eddy came back to the U.S. and was hooked on chai. Disappointed to find that there were only syrup or powdered options in the U.S., she decided to make her own. Eddy set out with a mission to create a recipe that was “not subtle, but very superpower.”
She stumbled upon juicing fresh ginger and adding fiery spices, thus, creating a spicy drink. Eddy started by gifting this new drink to family and friends in mason jars and received tremendous amounts of positive feedback. She realized quickly there could be a market with her new spicy chai, so she pivoted from her social work and fully devoted her time to her new business, Bhakti Chai.
Eddy started navigating her new role as an entrepreneur with a very clear mission in mind, helping women and girls. Utilizing her knowledge in non-profits from grad school coupled with her learnings in India, Eddy knew she wanted to create a “business that was more than just a business”. As a woman founder, Eddy notes it has always been important to her to give back to the community from the very beginning. “I had some lofty dreams of starting a company with social pieces that I think should be involved in every company… We’re mission-driven and have only used sustainable ingredients from the start.” With Bhakti Chai, Eddy has supported non-profits globally ranging from supporting women and girls to homelessness and many more.
Giving doesn’t stop there for Eddy. She’s channeled her passion for giving back through a mission for social change with GITA Giving. “These are the things that keep you up when you have to work through the night to get everything done, that there’s enough there that inspires you to keep going.” Eddy advises aspiring entrepreneurs to hold onto what keeps them going, even if that means skipping out on watching your Netflix shows, staying in on Friday nights and not going on that vacation. “You have to love it and be so engaged, that you will stay up every single night to make it happen… if you’re really laser-focused on this dream, then it will work.”
Although success comes with the growth of Bhakti Chai, Eddy notes that keeping her nonprofit partners and consumers happy is what keeps her motivated. For Eddy, it’s a rewarding feeling unlike anything else to hear how her chai and creative recipes have left a positive mark on people’s daily lives. “I get emails almost every other day from people who are so passionate about drinking Bhakti Chai… Hearing those stories of how the product impacts them is success to me.” Eddy will continue to channel what keeps her alive through the creative parts of Bhakti Chai by consistently coming up with new content, recipes and copy, all while supporting her children.
Brook Eddy holds a Master’s in Social Policy, Non-Profit Management, Social Work from the University of Michigan. Eddy has prior experience in sales and marketing, and is currently founder and CEO of Bhakti Chai. Connect with Eddy on LinkedIn.