A decision to take better care of herself put Kristen Carroll on the path to improving her wellbeing through meditation, yoga and a healthier lifestyle.
It also led to an unexpected business opportunity.
“I used to be addicted to two or three coffees a day,” Kristen explains.
“It wasn’t a huge amount but I went on a retreat with no coffee and, when I couldn’t get rid of a headache, I decided I needed something that didn’t damage me.
“Coffee was kind of like the last thing that I had to get rid of to make myself clean and clear.”
The Wallington mum began experimenting with ingredients for an alternative brew that tasted so good she would not miss her daily caffeine fix.
The result was an organic chai blend she has since released commercially under the label of Frank n Al, which is named after her grandparents Frank and Alma.
While she never set out with a business venture in mind, it became an option when COVID restrictions put a stop to the group meditation and yoga sessions she had been teaching.
“I had been building that business up for six months when COVID happened,” she recalls.
“I didn’t want to take it online so I knew I needed to find a new focus.
“When I told people what I was thinking of doing with the chai there was all this goodwill so I thought maybe it was a good idea and I would give it a whirl.”
Sold in compostable packaging, Frank n Al chai contains 100 per cent organic ingredients, is cane sugar and caffeine free and can be served hot or cold.
A card with a meditative practice is included in each pack, which costs $20 for 150 grams of chai powder (up to 50 serves).
Kristen says her chai blend is produced in a commercially accredited council-approved kitchen and she hopes customers will love the product as much as she has loved creating it.
“I was constantly trying to get that perfect taste through trial and error of making up different batches and assessing whether it was too strong or sweet,” she says.
“It was good fun and it was constant – I really just poured myself into it.”
Kristen has plans to add to the product offering but for now she is keen to introduce more people to the brand and secure more like-minded stockists.
“The local businesses around this area have been so fantastic and encouraging so it’s been a really nice trip so far,” she says.
“When someone buys it, I’m like ‘wow, people want to try my chai’ – it’s a really great feeling.”
Frank n Al Chai is available through Instagram @franknal_chai or Facebook. It is stocked at Green Mumma Organics in Rippleside, Green Grocer Barwon Heads, Ocean Grove Fruit Crew and in Wallington Rural’s local produce section.