If We Can You Can: David Hall of Manhua Cha

If We Can You Can: David Hall of Manhua Cha

David Hall and Carine Tsow set up Manhua Cha, which combines their love of bubble tea and comic books. David talked to BQ about the inspiration behind starting the business, and why they has entered If We Can You Can...

Tell us about your business:

We are the UK's only comic book themed catering company. We specialise in super powered bubble tea which is served from our custom built catering trailer. Bubble tea is a Taiwanese tea based drink that is available as a fruity tea or a milky tea. In the bottom of your drink you add either juice balls (that pop in your mouth as you drink) or flavoured jellies. You can personalise your order to ‘create a superhero’.

The superpowers on our menu also tie in with characters in our self-written and self-published comic book. We are looking to spend the first 12-18 months targeting mainly comic cons as well as food and drink events. Additionally we are currently looking into selling various components of our drinks and comic book on our online store.
After this period we are looking to move into premises and plan to franchise the business.
Although bubble tea has been around since the 1980’s it has only recently started to take off in different countries.


What did you do before setting up your business?

I’ve worked in retail my entire life. Managing betting shops for 10 years before moving onto working in the buys and loans industry.


What inspired you to set up your business?

We have always loved bubble tea and comic books. So with the influence of other bubble tea companies, both locally and nationally, we decided to combine our two loves and open a bubble tea company. We decided that we wanted to be bigger and better than the competition.


What makes this business different?

Our USP is our branding. We are the only company in the world serving super powered bubble tea. We have our own comic book series which helps us drive our brand.


What inspired you to enter the If We Can You Can Challenge?

I feel like we have a good business with lots of potential, and I want to show that anyone can develop an idea into a business.


Where do you see your business in three years’ time?

I see us having shops up and down the country, both our own and franchised shops. We’ll have a successful online store selling different components of our drinks. In three years we’ll be well on our way to developing a way to create our drinks pre-made to be sold in supermarkets etc as well as having a successful comic book series which helps promote our brand.


What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?

Seeing the business go from an idea to being in full swing with the intention to grow and expand within the first six months of trading.                                                                             


What has been your biggest challenge?

Self-motivation. I have suffered from mental illness most of my life, and some days I wake up and just don’t think I can do it. I challenge myself to get to work and up to now it has never stopped me fully.


Who/what gave you support or advice?

Tracy Clarkson at Tedco has been our main support through our journey. We have also received support from PNE.


What advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own business?

Just do it. Don’t overcomplicate the idea. Do things as cheaply as possible.


The If We Can You Can Challenge is a competition that recognises and celebrates the best of the North East’s 0-3 year old businesses. 

The competition is now open to all pre-start business ideas or start-ups established in the North East, regardless of the business leader’s age or experience.

For information on how to apply, the competition and its benefits please visit www.ifwecanyoucan.co.uk Deadline for entries is 16th of October 2016.