The border village of Nerkin Tsaghkavan, which means “the place of flowers,” is nestled in the lush forests of the remote Armenian province of Tavush, home to a variety of herbs famous for their health benefits. This is where the Asiryan family started their little business called “Ar Phyto-Pharm,” to bring the healing power of local herbs to other provinces of Armenia and beyond.
Tea traditions packed at “Ar Phyto Pharm”
The first home-produced herbal teas were the result of the infinite passion of three generations of Asiryans, who did everything, from harvesting in the wild and blending, to drying and packaging. Grandmother Svetlana was the first in her family to delve into the secrets of tea-production and pass them on to the next generation.
“My father, Armen Asiryan, established the company in 2005,” says 25 year-old Armine Asiryan, Ar Phyto-Pharm’s Deputy Director. “This is a family-owned business with every member carrying out specific duties. We carefully select and collect wild herbs from the natural wild meadows of Armenia, delicately process them to preserve all the flavour and taste, and then pair their usefulness with pleasure. Our teas are like a little bit of Armenia in a tea pack.”
Over the years, the company increased its production volume under the Ar Phyto-Pharm brand, generating new jobs in different areas of Armenia. A culturologist by profession, Asiryan admits that the journey has been exciting, but not without its challenges.
As volume increased, the company faced the need to expand its facility, boost capacity and enter new markets to stay ahead of the game. At this juncture, the “Eastern Partnership: Ready to Trade—an EU4Business initiative” project implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and supported by the EU under its EU4Business initiative stepped in to help the Asiryans.
A bit of Armenia: A new website, branding, packaging
“Along with medicinal herbal teas, we’re now producing a new line of teas for daily consumption,” says Asiryan. “This will soon become available for sale in supermarkets and grocery stores.”
Originally, Ar Phyto-Pharm teas were available only for health treatments and only in pharmacies. EU support allowed the company to develop the branding and packaging of a new product line consisting of 10 tea blends thanks to international expertise on design and blends.
“The new packaging stands out for its unique design, which gives us a competitive edge both locally and internationally,” notes Asiryan.
Moreover, the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) international food safety system is already in place at Ar Phyto Pharm, which will bring it wider exposure to international markets along with other opportunities for growth. Ar Phyto-Pharm will soon launch a new website to raise its profile and connect it with new buyers and potential partners.
“The HACCP and the website are part of the support we have received to strengthen our position in the local and international markets”, says Asiryan. “We’ve been picking the best herbs for more than 15 years but the unique assistance we received helped intensify our work to grow the company and generate new jobs.”