We had the good fortune of connecting with Aliya Prasla and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Aliya, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I was laid off from the job I had been working at for 11 years in February 2022. I was sitting in the car with one of my co-workers after we found out and he asked me “what do you think you’ll do?” and I immediately said “I’m going to sell chai at the Dallas Farmers Market.” I was planning on taking a few months off to take advantage of this break, but the wheels were already turning and I formed my LLC (chaiwalitx llc) five days later, and booked a sourcing trip to India for April of 2022.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My company name “chaiwali” is inspired by the chaiwalas who sell brewed chai on the streets of India. “Chai” means tea, and “wala” means maker or seller. I feminized “wala” to “wali” and ended up with my company name “chaiwali.” While I was in India, I was able to source my tea directly from a family-owned tea estate in Assam, which is known as the tea capital of the world. The tea in Assam is known for it’s malty and robust flavor which is perfect for a cup of chai.

I have learned a lot since I started my business and I am doing things that I never thought I would be doing. I’ve become a content creator, marketer, photographer, videographer, saleswoman, designer, and accountant. When I started my business, I knew I could make a good cup of chai, but I learned all of the other skills along the way. I’ve been through two major packaging changes now, and I am continuing to make tweaks to make sure the information is presented in the most readable and efficient way.

I have also really learned how to advocate for myself and my product with my business. It’s difficult to put yourself out there, and hear “no,” but this motivates me further to grow and expand chaiwali.

I am currently working on perfecting a chai concentrate, and a new, surprise summer blend. Our summer blend will launch in July, and I am hoping for the concentrate to be ready around September.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My itinerary would revolve around food because I absolutely love to eat!

Monday morning: Breakfast at All Good Cafe in Deep Ellum. They have the most fluffy pancakes and I am obsessed with them.
Monday afternoon: Dallas Arboretum
Monday lunch: Light lunch at Sevan G & G Cafe on Lowest Greenville. Yay for BYOB!
Post lunch, we would hang out at home for a bit and relax before going to dinner.
Monday dinner: Sister. I love their chocolate olive oil cake. It is so decadent and delicious.

Tuesday morning: Grab an almond milk latte from the Bonton Farms Coffeehouse but no breakfast because lunch will be MASSIVE and carb-heavy.
Tuesday afternoon: Shopping at North Park
Tuesday lunch: Eataly!
Post lunch, more shopping, and then we will head home to hang out and rest before dinner.
Tuesday dinner: Eddie’s TexMex. I go here once a week, and it’s amazing! I love their brisket tacos.

Wednesday morning: Sleep in, make chai at home, and grab a pastrami lox bagel with capers from Shug’s.
Wednesday afternoon: Spend a few hours at the DMA and the Nasher Sculpture Center.
Wednesday dinner: After the DMA/Nasher, we will head over to Strangeways for beers and a grilled cheese.

Thursday morning: Sleep in again, make coffee at home, and grab donuts from Jarams Donuts Lakewood.
Thursday afternoon: Head to Cattleack BBQ and eat until our pants don’t fit and realize that the donuts were a poor choice.
Thursday night: Catch a movie and (maybe) dinner at Alamo Drafthouse

Friday morning: Make some chai at home, and watch TV on the couch.
Friday afternoon: Spend the afternoon at Katy Trail Ice House with summer beers and cheese fries.
Friday dinner: The Charles – I clearly love everything Duro Hospitality does.

Saturday morning: Dallas Farmers Market!
Saturday afternoon: Early dinner at National Anthem
Saturday night: Grab drinks at Ye Olde Scarlet Pumpernickel Tavern or Pegasus Brewery.

Sunday morning: Brunch at Old Monk. I’m partial to the chicken, biscuits and gravy.

The rest of Sunday: tearful goodbyes, since my best friend is leaving me.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom, Minaz, is the one who taught me how to make chai, and really instilled that passion in me. Growing up, my mom would make chai in the evenings, and the whole family would sit at the dining table and discuss how their days were. I was always excited to participate in this ritual with my kid-sized cup of chai in hand.

My partner, Michael, is always pushing me to grow, and do things outside of my comfort zone. He is so encouraging and I’m always going to him for advice.

My family and friends have been incredibly supportive in my entrepreneurship journey, and I regularly get overwhelmed by this. My family comes to support me every week, and whenever my friends come see me at the farmers market, I get teary eyed. I’ve had more tears of joy since I started my business than any other time of my life.

Website: www.chaiwalitx.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/chaiwalitx

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chaiwalitx

Other: www.tiktok.com/@chaiwalitx

Image Credits
Professional Photography by Charles Preston Photography

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