How This Newbie Entrepreneur Learnt the Tricks of the Trade to Sell Pickles Online
Launching a new brand with a unique product is a difficult challenge. Here's how they overcame theirs
When you think of pickles, one is reminiscent of childhood days, grandparent’s home, sitting next to your grandma as she you used to pull out her recipe books and with love make her signature pickle – a recipe that has been in the family since ages.
It was for memories like this that Sandy Samuel Jerome took Somey's Kitchen to every home. Somey’s kitchen takes traditional home-made pickled masalas to a global market.
A post graduate from Mudra Institute of Communication (MICA), she got together with her husband Joel for the family business and worked on finalizing the recipes and the products, global marketing and executing the strategy of the brand, Somey’s Kitchen.
Entrepreneur India caught up Jerome as she spoke about the origin of their pickled story.
From UK to India
The idea saw its humble beginnings in the UK with the need to bring something new within the Indian cuisine segment. Jerome said that in the land where Chicken Tikka Masala is the national dish, Indian cuisine is widely accepted by all local British consumers. “After the launch, we saw a need to set up a production unit for our own speciality food so we set up an entity in India to support our global production unit which is based in Bengaluru,” she said.
Soon after, they decided to tap into the fast growing Indian market. “The trend towards healthy foods and ready to eat options is growing at a rapid rate. This pushed us to launch in India since April 2018,” she said.
They also noticed that their target market that was looking for healthy food options were all online consumers. So e-commerce became their biggest route into the market. “We have partnered with BigBasket in Bangalore which was a huge success and now we are talking to BigBasket for a PAN India launch, Amazon and other recognized and niche Ecommerce channels,” she said.
No Lessons in Entrepreneurship
Coming from a completely different background, it wasn’t easy for them to mark their territory in the pickles market. But they were also not selling ordinary pickles. The products include whole-wheat, organic and gluten free chapatis, pooris. The drive and passion for innovation has made the product a crowd favorite.
Jerome explained that the food industry was new for them so just knowing the actual details required to set up the factory or the necessary certifications require to market an organic product, gluten-free, non-veg vs veg and so on was a big challenge for them. “It was more like, we had to jump into the water and then start to swim. We had no prior lessons,” she said.
With limited funds, they decided to go ahead and market the product. But that doesn’t come easy. Launching a new brand with a unique product is a difficult challenge. The market for non vegetarian pickles too doesn’t really exist in India. So, how are they planning to advertise themselves? Jerome has the answers. “We are marketing it as a sauce or side dish that compliments the main meal. It can also be used a spread. This makes the product very versatile and unique so it just becomes part of your regular weekly grocery,” she said.
Going Online For Growth
Everything sells online today and they were quick to realize that. Their main target market is online and so they heavily focused on social media and online marketing. Now, with the consumers’ growing hunger for something different, they have also managed to find their niche audience. “We are seeing a huge demand for our gluten free products as there is a specific need in the market. Other than India, we are positioned to re-launch in the UK in a big way in 2019,” she said.
In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform).
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