Ayeeyo’s Blends is not your average tea spice company. For starters, its uniquely Somali concept is one that makes it stand out in the heavily saturated world of tea. Inspired by the founders own grandmother, the imagery that is brought up by the company’s name alone is enough to give any Somali innate feelings of comfort and warmth that lull us back to moments of bliss and tranquillity shared over a cup of tea with our own grandmother’s.
Founded in 2020 as a lockdown project, Ayeeyo’s Blends has made quite the name for itself on social media. One of the reasons for its growing popularity can be found in the authenticity of the brand. Its founder, Hamda, considers herself to be an all-round tea addict. “Tea culture is a huge part of everyday life in Somalia. Family and friends are made over a pot of tea. We welcome guests into our homes to warm their bellies and share stories between sips. It’s just so lovely and warming with sugar, spice and everything nice”, she tells us.
It’s not surprising that this tea company gets its main inspiration from Hamda’s late grandmother. “The biggest source of inspiration behind the business is my ayeeyo, may Allah bless her soul. Ayeeyo means grandmother in Somali, and she was a very successful businesswoman with a deeply entrepreneurial spirit”, she tells us. “She owned a lot of properties, mini markets and cafes in pre-civil war Somalia and her business acumen is something she’s passed on. I also got the Ayeeyo’s Blends recipe from her – hence the name and our tagline “inspired by Ayeeyos”.”
Starting a new venture at any given point in life is no small feat, but starting a new venture during a global pandemic is surely reserved for the brave-hearted. “I began selling to friends and family and demand grew through word of mouth”, Hamda explains on how her journey with Ayeeyo’s Blends began. “I received so much love and support from my nearest and dearest. Some would order 12 jars of Ayeeyo’s Blends just to hand them out as gifts to family and friends. The first few batches sold out instantaneously, so things scaled up pretty fast and I decided to take a leap of faith and solidify Ayeeyo’s Blends as a real business”.
“Pretty quickly I had registered my company, launched a website, took wholesale orders and began building a global family of customers from Austria to Australia who all love Ayeeyo’s Blends. Despite how much we’ve grown, things started off with friends and family, so in a lot of ways our customers and the people who engage with Ayeeyo’s Blends all feel like one big community”.
It’s quite known that Somalis cherish and place great importance on their tea. We all tend to associate it with different things, but ultimately a fragrant cup of authentic Somali tea has the power to transport us to invaluable memories. Hamda shared a heartwarming example of just how true this notion is. “I received a very moving email from a young woman who’d received a jar of our spices as a gift. She began by telling me that she lives alone in Europe hundreds of miles away from her family and friends and that her mother had recently passed away from Covid-19. The pandemic and loss of her mother was an extremely isolating experience for her, and she’d been experiencing bouts of intense homesickness when one of her friends surprised her with a jar of Ayeeyo’s Blends”, Hamda shared.
“She said the smell and taste triggered a part of her memory that bought forth tears of joy and fond memories of her mother – she was instantly transported back home”.
It is evident that Hamda is honouring her late grandmother and her legacy through Ayeeyo’s Blends, which makes the company that much more intriguing. The growing company is not only making waves for its product but also its ethics. Ayeeyo’s Blends donate a portion of its profits to various charities in Somalia and around the world. “Ayeeyo’s Blends have been able to support worthwhile causes such as distributing meals and hot drinks to rough sleepers on the streets of London and donating money to fund gifts and Eid clothes for children in Bosaso”, she tells us.
Visit Ayeeyo’s Blends website here.