‘5 minutes with…’ Biju Bubble Tea owner and EY alumnus
Nicholas Phan shares how working at EY has helped him launch Biju Bubble Tea.
QHow did you come to join EY and begin your career?
I went to university in Bristol and in 2010 chose EY’s graduate Advisory Consultant Programme (ACP) to start my career. During careers fairs and recruitment events, EY always stood out to me because of its friendly and approachable culture. When I completed the ACP, I was promoted to Senior Consultant, specialising in Operations and Customer consulting in the Asset Management industry.
QWhat made you decide to leave the firm?
I’ve always been very business minded, and for many years I maintained a spreadsheet of business ideas. I just needed to do it! I was very happy working at EY, but I was itching for a big new challenge. My colleagues were hugely supportive, and when I announced my intention to leave to pursue entrepreneurship, a few Partners reached out to give me advice. Some even offered investment capital!
QHow did you come up with your idea for Biju Bubble Tea?
Bubble Tea has existed in Taiwan since the early 1980s and I noticed that it was starting to become popular in the UK. I had grown up drinking Bubble Tea from a young age, but I knew I could massively improve what was being offered.
Biju Bubble Tea is different because it is made from fresh organic milk. Traditionally bubble tea is made using powdered creamer, which is full of substitutes and trans-fat. We’re also the only bubble tea in the UK to serve freshly brewed tea, not pre-brewed. By using natural flavours, avoiding chemicals and artificial sugars, Biju Bubble Tea tastes a whole lot better.
QHow did you develop your product?
I looked at the entire bubble tea experience - from the menus and shop environment to the overall quality of the tea. My time at EY proved invaluable as it taught me a consulting, analytical approach to business and really helped me to quickly assess what I needed to do.
I started with the product itself, the drink, and identified what was wrong and how it could be improved. People, including myself, are a lot more conscious of what goes in our bodies, so it was important to make the drink as fresh and natural as possible, while still being delicious.
QHow are you building a better working world?
We are far more transparent than other bubble tea brands about what goes into our drinks. Part of the reason undoubtedly is because we’re proud of the ingredients we use and our processes! The decision to use fresh British organic milk is not just rooted in trying to provide the best and most natural bubble tea, it’s also economically and environmentally more sustainable.
QWhat is your favourite saying?
Don’t believe everything that you hear. My time working at EY taught me the importance of critical thinking and the ability to challenge.