“It took one conversation at a family get together to realise the potential of the delicious items Chachi made”, says Naveen Bhandari as he rewinds the memories of the early days of Gulabs.
Gulab Bhandari (or Chachi, as she is fondly called) ran a one-woman army crafting sharbats, khakhras, churan (digestives), and thepla for almost three decades from her timid home kitchen. From independently catering to about 100 orders monthly, she, along with her nephew Naveen and a team of 30, now run a factory fulfilling over 2000 orders or more month-on-month.
“I’ve grown relishing chachi’s theplas and khakhras, and over the years they’ve maintained the same mouth-watering taste. I’ve seen the line of customers outside her house waiting to collect their bags of the products she so fondly makes. So, it was nothing less than a Eureka moment to complete the puzzle and headstart a mission to make her a household name”,says Naveen
When Gulab Bhandari started her home-venture, the intent was only to serve people and never on profits. So much so, that the business ran solely because of the sheer joy she’d get from making these delicacies. The money that came in would be used in procuring raw materials for her next batch of orders, and so the wheel kept turning.
With Naveen entering the picture and realising the potential of his aunt’s work, he knew that the product had to reach people beyond the then geographical boundaries. Better packaging, quality control, expanding product line and product reach were streamlined into goals.
With strict control on quality, Gulab ensured that the products maintained the same standard she had built over the years. This meant that the raw materials were procured from the same vendors, the processes were modified only to improve efficiency and the packaging was done to ensure better shelf life and customer experience.
“So, in October of 2015, after endless hours of research and deliberations, we formally established Gulabs, with all compliances in place. Each step of the process was carefully structured keeping chachi’s modalities and our collective vision for her brand in mind”, he adds.
Gulabs, till date, follows her set methodologies and has a strict policy for not using any kind of artificial flavour or essence in any of its products. This has helped keep the brand grounded and still soar high.
Recognizing his aunt’s existing customer base Naveen says, “It was important for us to acknowledge the customer base Chachi had built over the years and the drastic change that they would experience in the packaging and pricing. The products were now sealed,
vacuum-packed and came in attractive cardboard packaging; hence, came at a cost. However, it was very natural for us to show our gratitude to these loyal customers by providing them with the products at the rates they’d purchase it from Gulab Chachi. This also helped us in establishing an initial feedback loop with customers.”
Commenting on the growth and expansion of Gulabs, Gulab Bhandari says, ” When I started, I was constantly pushed by my mother in law to do better. I’m forever grateful to her for that. I’d have never imagined Gulabs could become so big. This wouldn’t have been possible without Naveen and even the team that works alongside us.”
Gulabs is today available in over 500+ retail stores across the country and more than 15+ online stores including Amazon, Flipkart, Big Basket among others. The brand now encompasses over 30 products in categories such as sharbat, khakhra, masala, pickle and even ready to cook mixes.
“Entering into the food manufacturing industry has been one of the best decisions. No industry has been more enriching and satisfying than this one. I still believe that we are at the start of a rather wonderful journey and the coming years will only open more doors for growth.”,says Naveen
If you would like to know about the products at Gulab’s then visit here.