Its Christmas and New Year! Which means a lot of cakes are on the way.
It’s that time of the year where we are simply inundated by tempting colours, aromas, tastes and shapes all around us and we go ahead and purchase that yummy piece of cake…albeit, with a little guilt! We know it has the loaded sugars, the preservatives, the additives..and yet!
Meet Meeta Walavalkar who will indulge you – minus the guilt. They say, a healthy body nourishes the soul. That is exactly what she does. Nourishes the soul with her soulful bakes. And speaking of breads, they are really soul savers for those 2-minute desperate fixes- into lunch boxes, on an evening snack platter or just a non-nonsense breakfast.
Hence aptly named- ‘SOUL BAKERS‘
Meeta Walavalkar started her venture with the sole intention of experimenting with baking recipes. When she was aghast with the amount of maida, sugar and margarine that went into each of those, she decided to try some ingenious baking recipes. Now, her range of products contain only organic products- organic whole wheat instead of refined flour, jaggery and real fruit instead of sugar and olive oil instead of margarine. What she knew not at that point of time was that her products would be such a rage and that she would just have to keep inventing recipes. So, then came the unique Wholegrain Carrot bread, the fully organic burger buns, and the all-natural wholewheat cookies.
As her business grew, another proud feather on her fast-growing cap is that Soul Bakers provides employment to 5 unskilled women and has given then an alternative skill to live on. Today, Soul Bakers supplies to most major organic stores around Bangalore and Chennai and has an prominent online presence on BigBasket.com.
Kidskintha did an exclusive interview with Soul Bakers. Read more to know how she did it….
What was the inspiration behind your start-up? Is your start-up an answer to a challenge you came across yourself?
I am a mother first and an entrepreneur later. I wanted preservative free, toxins free, healthy yet delicious breads for kids as they love eating bread. But giving the poison laced commercial breads first thing in the morning was not an option for me. Therefore, started baking my own bread with organic substitutes to make it healthier. I believe that food should heal and not kill.
Also See: The Terror Of Consumerism
What led you to believe that this would be your niche?
Just a conviction that if there are people like me looking for toxin-free breads then there have to more such people like me too.
What is your Startup’s big picture? Do you believe your idea can change the world in some way?
Definitely yes, making people healthier one day at a time is huge change. The retail revolution has no doubt brought convenience and made lives easier, but with it comes the evils of food preservatives and additives that make people sick. To ensure food stays on the shelves longer, a lot of research is done to get stronger preservatives that does not allow food to spoil. In the quest to make food last long, one very important area is overlooked and that is how these additives affect our health. There is a lot of research material available which proves that the new generation preservatives hitting the market are not just carcinogen but also root cause for many new age health issues. Increase rate of autism, ADHD amongst children, acidity, food intolerance, allergies are all manifestations of the 99% food that is stocked on the shelves of supermarkets today.
Our aim is to give people an option for breakfast that is in tune with nature. Food that is made the way nature intended it to be, without anything that comes out of a laboratory added to it.
Nutritious, Delicious and Sumptuous!
Do you see the Internet as your biggest online partner?
Yes, with emergence of e-commerce sites giving home delivery service like bigbasket.com and others, the internet becomes one of the biggest online logistics partner.
How is your startup being funded? Are there any future plans of investments?
We are 100% self-funded organisation. We plan to expand to become India’s biggest organic bakery.
What are the revenues and margins like in this industry? When is the Break-Even expected by?
The margins are not more than 30%, depends on the overheads too. Right now margins are smaller since the overheads are high. But with economies of scale the margins will get better. We plan to break-even in 3 more years.
What are the current marketing efforts being incorporated? What do you see as necessary to take your business to the next level?
Our marketing so far has been done only by our loyal patrons through word of mouth. We believe in honest product and rest falls in place automatically.
What does your typical day look like juggling between mom responsibilities and owning a business?
Well, the mommy job starts from 4pm to 7am (that’s an evening and overnight job whereas the day job between 8am to 4pm is given to my business. Rest of the household chores are outsourced, therefore I am pretty much sorted.
Please share particular challenges on managing a growing business being a mom, which is never less than a full-time job.
Time management and doing it right now instead of procrastination are two biggest challenges.We tend to slip time from our hands and put off things that are difficult to handle. Then the same little tasks snowballs and takes up all our mind space and energy to make everything look mammoth. Best is to finish each task as it comes and keep moving without getting too bogged down. One small step at a time.
What is your personal mantra for motivation?
Keep walking, put one step in front of the other.
What message do you have for other aspiring Momprenuers?
1. Outsource mundane tasks that can be outsourced.
2. Get little jobs out of the way so they don’t become huge later and bother.
3. Write down a schedule, make it a nice little routine so your kids know what to expect each day. Make a bedtime story session as part of your daily must-dos or some other routine that you establish with your kids so they get their share of required undivided attention.
4. Business, too needs undivided attention. No point wallowing over maternal guilts. Remember, we are not super-humans. Give your 100% to the task at hand. We women spend lot of time in a day either feeling guilty or self-pitying. STOP and Move on!
You can contact Soul Bakers at [email protected]
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About the Author:
Devishobha Chandramouli is the founder of Kidskintha- a site dedicated to creating happy children. She believes that growing up well and happy is a function of growing up with well-informed adults. This site aims to deliver research-grounded and bite-sized pieces of information on two important facets of a child’s life- parenting and education. You can find her voice on the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, TinyBuddha, Citizen Matters , Nectar and Lies About Parenting.