5 minutes with Urvashi Agarwal, JP’s Originals

04 February 2022, 07:12 AM
  • Urvashi Agarwal, founder of JP’s Originals, talks wellness, finding inspiration in her parents' story, and why tea needs a coffee-like renaissance
5 minutes with Urvashi Agarwal, JP’s Originals

What would you be doing if you weren’t in the food industry?

I would continue my ‘other’ job at Stone World, distributing marble to architects & interior design projects! 

What was your first job?

A receptionist, and then assistant, at a city law firm when I was about 16. All my misconceptions of the legal profession being like an American TV show were straightened out and I decided to pursue engineering over law.

What inspires you?

My parents. They arrived in the UK in their late 20s and carved out a niche for themselves after much trial and error as entrepreneurs. They still work incredibly long hours to this day, with no intention of retiring anytime soon. Their work ethic, persistence, and passion for what they do inspires me daily. 

What’s the worst job you’ve done?

Working the shop floor at Abercrombie & Fitch, whilst at university. The stores were dark, music was shocking (and loud), and you would leave your shift smelling like their men’s signature fragrance. I respect anyone that has to fold polo shirts all day long!

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Knowing how much of a difference JP’s has made to so many of our loyal customers. We have received letters explaining how Sleep Deep has cured them of their insomnia, heard about how we have opened their eyes to whole leaf tea, and had stories shared with us detailing amusing anecdotes about their JP’s being swiped by the visiting handyman.

And your least favourite?

Having to take a greater interest in logistics off the back of recent supply chain issues. 

How about the food industry?

I’m interested to see where the current interest in sustainability, wellness and provenance takes us. Consumers are getting more involved in knowing what they are eating and drinking, and they are cultivating more refined tastes. This teamed with the necessity for environmental and social responsibility requires even more investment in product development. 

Tea or coffee?

Tea tea tea! I started JP’s Originals after cutting my coffee addiction. Coffee drinkers tend to enjoy different roasts and beans from exotic regions, but we haven’t yet had the same movement to sophisticated tea tastes in a more mainstream way. Provenance, leaf grading and blends are integral to unlocking the incredible teas available to us.

What would be your last supper?

A homemade roast with all the trimmings, an apple-rhubarb crumble, followed by a Soul Soother of course. 

What’s your motto?

Persistence, patience, positivity. 

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Pigs’ trotters. Never again.

What’s your favourite book?

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. I really savoured this book, reading chapters to give me a motivational boost. Phil Knight is evidence of how relentless passion for your brand vision can lead to success.

Sweet or savoury?

My current guilty pleasure is a lemon curd Longboys doughnut with a cup of JP’s Earl Grey – can’t go wrong.

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