Before the pandemic, Bharathi enjoyed life, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. But when the lockdowns started, she found herself with a lot of time on her hands and started cooking.
"I started making jhatpat, ready-to-cook premixes that I would send to my son at college to remind him of my homecooked meals. He shared the food with his roommates, and they loved it. That's how I got the idea to start my business. And it's great for international students because if they're missing the taste of home, it's instant delicious food."
A big plus is that her Jhatpat Foods mixes don't contain a lot of excess salt or sugar. And she rigorously tests all her food before selling them to ensure everything is up to her standards.
When she heard about the GetSetUp Startup Accelerator program, she jumped at the chance to participate. The classes she found most helpful were learning how to use Canva, how to network, how to set up a business bank account, and public speaking. And her hard work and quest for knowledge have paid off–she was one of five winners of the program.
Taking her business in an exciting new direction
A big fan of using natural products, she decided to branch out and create some beauty products in addition to her food product range. Her body scrub, known as Bharathi's Body Scrub, is made from legumes, turmeric, sandalwood, and a few other Ayurvedic herbs and is a best seller! She also makes hair oil to prevent hair loss and body oil. She now sells more than a dozen products between her food and beauty lines.
In addition to dreaming up new and innovative products, Bharathi has spent her time and prize money on sourcing better quality ingredients, registering for a Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) certification, and brand packaging.
Business is booming
After the Startup Accelerator program, she got a lot of exposure in the press, which helped her grow her business. She's participated in local exhibitions and has gained popularity through word of mouth. Her customer base has grown from 500 to 700, a 40% increase.
And she's not done growing. She plans to increase her Facebook and Instagram marketing efforts. She'd also like to have a website eventually.
Advice for other entrepreneurs
Participating in the Startup program helped Bharathi gain confidence in her abilities. She believes in passing what she's learned along to other women. When her business is big enough, her main goal is to offer employment opportunities to four or five ladies from her community. She believes success is built one step at a time.
"Don't be afraid to take a small step. Because a small step would lead to a bigger step, but you must make that first step. Try to focus on things you're good at."
We're excited to see how Bharathi's business will continue to grow! Discover more GetSetUp business classes that will help you get your business off the ground or enhance the skills you already have.