To many, being an entrepreneur is about having that big idea. And it is. To start something new, one needs to have an idea that works: something people need, something they’ll want, and most importantly — at least for the people investing in the idea — something that’s scalable. As such is the admirable Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Herbs Ceylon Cinnamon, Jalitha Hewage. Multiple entrepreneurs focus on taking an idea and turning it into a living, breathing, viable organization. This is a cosmic notion for many entrepreneurs such as Jalitha, who are doers rather than thinkers.
Primitively, his narrative bears quite the riveting essence. Jalitha received his early schooling at Ananda College and held a BSc Computer Science degree from University College Dublin, Ireland, which he earned in collaboration with NSBM Sri Lanka. His impressive career path commenced in 2016 when he was only twenty years old. Jalitha’s flair to establish his own company rather than working for someone else was inculcated when he was asked to apply for internships in his third year at the University. In pursuit of his dream, he cemented Sage Systems (Pvt) Ltd and then Herbs Ceylon Cinnamon (Pvt) Ltd in 2021 to invest in the agricultural and export industries.
It is little wonder that beautiful Sri Lanka is the home of the finest tea gardens in the world as the leaves that go into a cup of Ceylon tea play a surprisingly remarkable role in the nation’s history. The tea plant, the leaf, and the beverage have a plethora of characteristics and descriptive expressions. No other plant has ever received such acclaim and precise terminology. It is considered a divine gift to humanity. The healthiest, safest, and most delightful of the camellias, this benevolent heaven-sent plant is revered as a divine herb.
In this regard, the narrative behind Herbs Ceylon Cinnamon and its creation is rather charitable, according to its founder. For a start, the company focuses on supplying Sri Lankan and foreign markets with organic, all-natural Herbal Teas and Ceylon Teas. What’s worth noting, however, is that the company was known initially as Paradise Ceylon Cinnamon International (Pvt) Ltd, and it only and primarily concentrated on selling spices to international markets. According to Jalitha, the endeavour began in 2016 under the direction of his father. However, as he previously stated, they were solely focused on the export market at the time.
Jalitha had the ambition to shift the company’s entire export-only philosophy and attempt something new, allowing Sri Lankans to sample real Ceylon Organic Herbal Teas while spending less on themselves and having an experience in export-quality packaging with export-quality items. So he renamed the company and introduced seven Herbal Tea items to the market with that enthusiasm in mind. Be that as it may, he rebranded the company and launched seven Herbal Tea products on the market via his eCommerce website. Thenceforth, he remarks about how the brand conferred the probability to the public to order and receive products delivered to their homes without any hassle or any delay. Likewise, purchasing these products were not just limited to Sri Lanka but anywhere in the world, where Herbs Ceylon has partnered with global delivery partners to ensure a secure and high-quality service.
Priorities can shift for any entrepreneur from when they first started to how they operate their firms now. According to Jalitha, the company progressively decided to extend the business to add additional items to its portfolio, despite starting with seven Herbal tea products and Ceylon tea products. In this regard, he emphasizes how they focus on allowing their clients and Sri Lankans to purchase and consume internationally recognized organic spices in addition to herbal teas. Furthermore, Jalitha emphasizes that the brand’s primary objective is to provide Sri Lankans and people from other countries with unlimited access to the country’s inland grown organic products. Simultaneously, he aspires to assist small farmers in Sri Lanka to better their living conditions.
Many entrepreneurs confront difficulties when they first start. Catechizing the challenges Jalitha had to triumph over at the emergence of his own entrepreneurial journey, he voices that a challenge any entrepreneur faces in the early stages is a lack of experience in the industry. However, he was fortunate that his parents were ample support as they were there for him every step of the way, sharing their expertise and experience to help him overcome the hurdles and move on. It was never an easy road for Jalitha; he spent many late hours and early mornings working with his team, devising new tactics to compete in the market, developing brand awareness, and making high-quality products. He disclosed, “It’s not the end for me, there is so much that I need to achieve and so many dreams that I want to work on, and I will.”
Every company has a limited amount of time, money, and resources to invest in innovation. That’s why they should focus their energies on opportunities that will set them apart from their competition — that is, they should innovate where they differentiate. So what about Herbs Ceylon Cinnamon? Is it differentiating itself? Is it investing a sufficient amount of its innovation efforts to make it a reality? Backed by its competent founder, of course, it is! As Jalitha indicates, one of the brand’s many distinguishing features is that it strives to provide Sri Lankans with the finest available organic products at a reasonable price. A common misconception is that when the public hears the phrase “Organic,” the first thought that comes to mind is that it must be expensive, and the brand intends to reverse that perception by ensuring that all products are affordable. Furthermore, he persisted that by virtue the company is registered under USDA organics and EU organics, anyone who buys the items will be enjoying truly organic Sri Lankan products. Another noteworthy feature of Herbs Ceylon Cinnamon is that the company is run by young, creative, and energetic individuals, all of whom are working hard to ensure that their company meets the highest industry standards while also adjusting to industry developments in light of the current pandemic crisis.
There is always a better way, and it involves fostering virtue in all aspects of life, including the professional realm. In this Aristotelian worldview, actions are right if they are what a virtuous person would do. When asked for his motivating advice to someone aspiring to become an entrepreneur, Jalitha responds that the path will never be easy. Still, it will be the most arduous climb one will ever have to face in their life, promulgating, “But never give up. Never give up because the view will be amazing from the top of the mountain. And you will thank yourself one day when you have reached your goals. So yes, keep continuing, keep fighting and move forward. That’s all that matters.”
The leap. That exhilarating moment when one has a business idea, but committing full-time means taking on significant risks. Getting a startup off the ground can leave you vulnerable — emotionally and financially — especially for those without a safety net. And, in this unsettling time of the COVID-19 crisis, we have to consider that economic conditions may not be favourable to those attempting to fund their business or transition from full-time employment. At the same time, many are being forced out of jobs right now, so perhaps there’s no time like the present. But in any climate, if you don’t leap, your dreams of autonomy may never be achieved. It may just be that now, more than ever, we need more entrepreneurial spirits. Jalitha rejoiced best about establishing his own business because he was working for himself and not for anyone else. Even though it isn’t a 9-to-5 job, it makes him content and stirs for the next day in view of the fact that he understands he can make a difference and have a good impact in his community, country, and globally.
Most people equate entrepreneurship with ideas. But for many, real entrepreneurship happens internally — with the process of stepping up, having courage, and doing things that you never thought you would be able to do. By flexing your behaviour and learning to act outside your comfort zone, you will be well on your way toward achieving your goals. Rooted in traditions and native to Sri Lanka, Herbs Ceylon Cinnamon propelled by Jalitha continue to envision a world where everyone holds a healthy life for generations to come. In drawing things to a close, he gives voice to a galvanizing excerpt, “Move forward, take steps forward, it doesn’t matter if those steps are small steps, as long as you are moving forward that’s all that matters.”