It’s impossible to deny just how much bubble tea fever has swept Asia. And in Singapore, it’s no different, with countless chains setting up shop on our tiny island and jostling for attention amidst their many competitors.
It makes total sense then, to capitalise on the popularity of bubble tea and bring it to the public in the form of a brand new immersive experience – the Bubble Tea Factory.
The project was started about a year ago, where Bubble Tea Factory founder Weiting Tan and his peers began noticing that the millennial trend was how people started spending more on experiences rather than products, such as concerts and travelling. It wasn’t long before he was ready to do his own version of the experience.
Says Weiting: “There’s been a rise in the number of experiential museums in the world, and we wanted to do something similar. At the same time, we wanted to hit on a theme that would be truly relatable, that people would get passionate about. We decided on bubble tea because colleagues and friends literally talk about it every day, to the extent they can get into fights over the best ones, so it’s something people will definitely identify with and care about.”
Created by El Mansou Pte Ltd, the Bubble Tea Factory opens its doors to the public this Saturday, celebrating the opening with free admission to the first 1,000 visitors from 12pm-6pm. Featuring over ten multi-sensory installations across 7000 square feet, visitors are in for an Instagram museum-style immersive experience as they explore each room, offering them plenty of opportunity to snap fun photos and free up their mind in this wacky wonderland. From an Enchanted Forest of larger-than-life illuminated straws to a Pearl Pit of 100,000 ‘taro-bly’ cute pearls, every room has been carefully curated to offer a full-on bubble tea experience like no other.
“Think about what if Willy Wonka had a Bubble Tea Factory instead of a Chocolate Factory,” says Weiting. “From the moment guests step in, we want them to feel like they’re in a different world, playing on the venue’s industrial feel to really turn it into a factory. The experience starts from the moment they enter, to create that ‘Narnia’ effect as they step through the fridge door and introduce them to this new reality. We used soft, pastel colours to make it feel friendlier, with a lot of help from the lighting, and the whole aim of this is really to create a kind of escapism, where guests can come here to a happy place, create happy memories, and take a break from the mundane world.”
Despite coming from a variety of different backgrounds, the world of immersive experiences remained a brand new challenge for Weiting, and he made sure he did his due research travelling and experiencing these for himself before embarking on the project. Says Weiting: “There’s a lot of factors that go into making this a great experience for all, from the staff having the right attitude in guiding people into believing this world, to the safety measures we put in place. That is our top priority, where we bought whole units to sanitise the ball pits daily, make sure everything is drilled down properly, with plenty of extra padding to avoid injuries, and routine checks on a day to day basis.”
Even prior to its opening, the Bubble Tea Factory has already been drumming up plenty of hype on social media, not just locally, but all over the world.”We already have people enquiring if we can tour it to places like LA, which has a huge Asian community, when it hasn’t even opened yet! For now though, we do plan on bringing it regionally after Singapore, like Japan where boba has recently begun trending – did you know they even have a word that specifically means ‘to go get a bubble tea’?” Weiting enthuses. “Of course, we also plan to do more in Singapore, with a new concept to be launched next year as well.”
The Bubble Tea Factory would not have been possible without plenty of support, be it the Singapore Tourism Board, or various vendors who have decided to come on board as partners, such as bubble tea specialists Jenjudan, from which visitors can collect a cup of bubble tea from at the end of their experience. “It’s been very hands-on for all of us,” Weiting adds.
“With the team often working all the way till 2 or 3am daily just to make sure it all works and things look exactly like the renders. Above all, it’s been a real pleasure doing this and to see this idea finally come to life, and we can’t wait to see how people react to it and indulge completely.”
A tea-licious experience? You bet.
The Bubble Tea Factory runs from 19th October to 18th December 2019 from 4pm to 10pm on weekdays and 10am to 10pm on weekends. On opening day (19th October), The Bubble Tea Factory offers free admission to the first 1,000 visitors from 12pm-6pm. For tickets and more information, visit their website here