Aug 24 , 2021
I take this upon myself every year to update all my stakeholders as to how we did last year and what the next year looks like. We love to dearly call our customers' stakeholders as we cannot picture the existence of iPaaka without their love and support. I personally cannot imagine my day without getting a call/whatsapp from one of them appreciating a product, suggesting an improvement, suggesting new products we could consider, their unbiased opinion of iPaaka products, wanting to know what my background is or why did i consider starting iPaaka. This genuine interest, concern and love they have for iPaaka is what I consider a blessing for us. The pandemic has been a testing time for our existence like many other small businesses. While we were operating, our priority was to deliver iPaaka with utmost precaution in the best hygienic conditions. Here is how we kept ourselves busy through last year (June 2020 - May 2021)
- We started our third year into the business by reinventing ourselves. We re-launched iPaaka products with better packaging having a premium look and feel. In the process, I literally had the feeling of being in one of those reality shows on tv where they remodel your home or restaurant and tada.. You have this dull and old model place looking like a chic, trendy, upscale restaurant.
- With the new packaging magic, our business & sales grew by 2X and that's when we thought we should upgrade our production process with new machinery. Went through all the red tape for applying for a loan with a leading nationalized bank and procured the best quality machinery in the market. The upside of this exercise is that the production time for most of the products is now reduced by 50%, iPaaka as a business is validated 100% and my patience increased by 200%.
- We launched our own e-commerce enabled website www.ipaaka.com which helps us manage offers, announcements, blogs, host a corner for publishing interesting history of our food etc
- Launched 4 new products into the market and among them the highlight is our first sweet as a product - ‘Basundi’ mix.
- We officially set our foot into Instagram and hired designers and marketing consultant to manage what goes into our social handles
- We successfully listed on new e-commerce portals like Puryaant, ETPSOnline, Dufa
- We are back on flipkart
- We are in talks with online grocery stores like Swiggy, Suprdaily, Grofers and Bigbasket
- Getting out of the ‘One size fits all’ approach to marketing and figuring out what works for which target audience has been a challenge
- For a short period of time, there was a dip in sales online and it was a daunting task to figure out why
- Managing vendors/potential business partners who dealt with us casually at the beginning and later trying to hassle us gave us some trauma. A good lesson learnt here to keep everything documented and on paper no matter who you deal with.
The year ahead:
- Recent events and conversations have opened our eyes to the fact that people are very ignorant about the food they consume. We are taking it on ourselves to run an awareness campaign on eating clean food, reading food labels, knowing about ingredients in the food etc
- In lieu of increasing the shelf life of iPaaka products (without using chemicals of course), we are potentially switching to vacuum packaging and this is still in the test and trial phase before we roll it out.
- There is a possibility of you spotting your favourite iPaaka product on the shelves of your supermarket shortly. Yes, we are considering a potential entry into retail space, basically the brick and mortar stores.
- Even though the idea of a Pop-up Kitchen is far fetched idea at this point, we could potentially run a pilot around it
- A plan on creating a robust marketing strategy and communication is in place. Hiring a senior professional for the same is on the cards
- This goes without saying, we shall have new product launches this year and the required R&D is in progress.