How I 4X profited my Grandmother’s traditional food business as a lockdown adventure & the birth of DECIPHER.

The world faced the crisis of Covid-19 with the lockdown stoping everything. I had left my job at Nissan & shortly returned to Pune for some break & to chalk out what to do next. But it was all heckled, and like every other person, I got stuck in the pandemic with the thought of not turning my leisure break into a lazy habit.

For a food lover like me, moving in with my grandmother was an overwhelming experience. She was a master at making traditional Maharashtrian food cuisine items & was making it for the past ten years. Pickles, papads, chutney of her hands tasted like magic. My friends & teammates abroad were proof of the quality of her food. I used to carry some of the items while travelling there.

I was not into much detail about this side of her. I was overwhelmed when I saw her efficiently manage orders and a team of 10 women through WhatsApp video calls that too without a slight differentiation in the taste and quality! She used to make this food for her friend circle & it spread to people abroad with a very positive response. She was already shipping products across the globe & was quite popular in the NRI Community Hubs. 

But as the lockdown infused, it was hard to manage the orders due to no delivery channel. The Mahila Mandal where she used to get her work done lost their source of income too. It also reduced 70% of her regular customers. My seventy-two years dynamic granny had already amused me with her progress.

I decided to utilise my leisure time by taking the matter into my own hands & figure out what we can do. 

After surveying various social network groups in Pune & analysing them through few matrixes, I divided them into three target audience categories.

1. Maharashtrian living far away from their hometowns.

2. Maharashtrians native to the city.

3. Non-Maharashtrians.

I thoroughly studied them and devised a plan to market our products.

For category 

1. Sentimental & emotional tone with a sense of longing for their dear ones. 

2. Hygiene & quality packaging as the USP.

3. Creative idea to study different cultures and identify products & recipes similar to ours and designing our packages similar to somewhat they were habitual and liked. We also made trial packages!

After all this work done, we decided to name our marketing campaign-

“Aaji For All’ (Granny For All)

Thus began our adventure cum trial to test if we could breathe life into a business that is now in the hole.

I used local food communities, social Facebook groups, personal contacts, residential society groups and made content viral.

I was very positive while marketing & made a point to share products recipe and histories to customers on calls. Grandmothers passion nonetheless helped me market the story beautifully.

Our adventure got filled with hardships and struggles. Post-sale communication & supply chain was the biggest hurdle. I learned several things like raw material database, production timeline, hygiene control, delivery management, etc. The ups and downs helped me understand the overall challenge in setting up a business.

With all that said, what mattered the most was what was the sale and what was the profit?

Well, let’s talk this into figures.

The sales analytics looked like below-

1. New client acquisition – increased by 64 %

2. Old client retention – 25.3% retention

3. booking for NRI clients (Retained) – 41% retention

4. Advanced pre-order booking for NRI clients (New) – increased by 23%

5. Custom kit sales were 12% of total sales

6. Average ticket size increased by 120 Rs.

7. Total profit increased by 4X

Total serviced consumers- 1820 families.

Total employment created – 13 (Eight ladies on the manufacturing end, two delivery boys, two packaging staff and one accountant)

Total sales – 380000 Rs

Total profit – 185000 Rs

Profit %- 49%

Marketing budget – 5.2 % of total sales

Amount spend as CSR – 15,000 Rs

Grandma made FD of 1,50,000 Rs

My fees for Ideation and Marketing – 20,000 Rs

Time frame – 52 days.

I knew I had won the adventure, but besides, I had discovered the thing I loved to do!

I understood the path of my career. From Inbound Sales, Customer Retention, Customer Experience, Ideation, Employee Experience and now Marketing.

The experience I had in my previous jobs, my passion to Ideate and to look at Brands, Stories, Campaigns, and Products from a pure ideators view was the thing that could help many businesses around.

Many small Entrepreneurs, Brick and Mortar businesses, Startups, Cloud Kitchens, Government Authorities and Consumer Brands started approaching me.

I had decided to keep this limited to consulting, but I knew Ideation would not sustain without technology, and leveraging technology was the need of the hour. And eureka; DECIPHER WAS BORN!

On January 7th 2021, I partnered with Purushottam Bhaigade (Salesforce Community Leader) and my dearest friend & thus begun the journey of Decipher Technologies!

In the last six months, we incredibly grew from a 2 to 22 people company. Lockdown and Covid-19 have been a lot damaging to people in many aspects. But they have also steered the lives of many people into discovering what they loved to do, I being one of them. Thanks to all those who taught me, supported me and kept encouraging me as always.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Nullam quis risus eget urna mollis ornare vel eu leo. Aenean lacinia bibendum nulla sed