Un-junking the Creativity Vs Business Myth
Gautam relies heavily on customer feedback for product development
"With un-junked chips, India's first sandwich chips, a healthy version of the chocolate spread and Un-Junked Open Secret spicy peanut butter, we have opted for solutions that solve 'real' problems of real people", says Ahana Gautam, Co-founder and CEO, Open Secret, proudly. From launching an un-junking snacks brand that has 11 new categories in their portfolio, "To team-building; to determining core values and determining choices of innovations, partnering and strategising are governed by an innate sense of creativity too," says Gautam.
"The birth of Open Secret is the biggest testimonial to my obsession with consumers and a creative bent of mind. We have re-imagined the business idea and we are building for Bharat, as much for a mother and her family in Bangalore as for one in the by-lanes of Bharatpur. The intent was to build a homegrown challenger brand that makes quality food products accessible to Indian families," she says.
On her magic formula that increases the odds of a creative breakthrough, "One, being customer-obsessed and solutions that solve real problems and two, challenges and never wasting a downturn."
"We like to put our customers on a pedestal for all the un-junking endeavours at Open Secret. Our 'World of Un-Junk', a one-stop destination for un-junked snacking needs is a result of customer feedback.," she says about the best way to know what her customer needs.
With creativity so heavily embedded in the operations of Open Secret, does she view business distinct from it? "I think it is a myth that creativity and business are apart. There is a very thin line that separates the two. Today, even creativity can be tied back to data. Business and creativity are interlinked and both are based on data. The underlying principle for both remains the same," she adds.
While she reminisces on Albert Einstein's creativity quotes, "Creativity is intelligence having fun" and "Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought, it is, "Undoubtedly, and always mothers who are our key creative influences", she says.
Having added products majorly based on the cutomers' feedback, Gautam shares her three-point advice to people who are creative but can't think scale. She says, "One, be mindful that the issue resonates with a large number of people; two, use data to your advantage. It gives insight like no other; and third, use the customer backwards approach. Keep iterating."
On their expansion plans says Gautam, "We plan on bringing onboard 100 brands in the next 100 days. We are also planning on expanding our presence to USA and UAE."
Open Secret : Facts
· Amount of external funding received : Confidential
· Number of people employed - 150+
· Turnover - We are hoping to hit INR 100 cr ARR target in a couple of months
· Year of Inception - 2019
· Key customers - Every member of every Indian family; all profiles of working professionals, the health conscious, weight watchers etc.