Entrepreneur Name: Niharika Bhargava
Business Name: The Little Farm Co
Welcome to #eoindia #startupstories Episode 30.
Each week we will ask an Indian entrepreneur 11 questions so that we can all be inspired by their stories.
There is a business opportunity available in every industry, all you need is to see an untapped need or problem and come up with a creative solution that gives you acompetitive advantage over the competition.
The key to any successful business is this competitive advantage and how you market this advantage to the consumer. You need to have that unique aspect, otherwise you will find it difficult to stand out from the crowd and attract customers.
Today we talk to one entrepreneur who has taken the agriculture sector, spotted an unmet need, and with some key creativity and innovation has created a product that stands out from the competition and provides the consumer with a fantastic value and quality. Today we introduce you to The Little Farm Co and it’s founder Niharika Bhargava
The Little Farm Co specialises in pickles, or to be precise, sundried, handcrafted, traditional taste, farm fresh Super foods : No added colors, No preservatives and additives, handpicked from the farm, raw and natural – FANTASTIC.
They have also tapped into the potential of the internet by making their fantastic productsavailable to purchase online. Their products look amazing and you can tell that they have went to great effort to produce a truly unique and quality product.
So let’s meet the entrepreneur behind this business, Niharika, welcome to #eoindia, it is great to have you. Let’s start with…
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
Our market survey indicated that most products (pickles) available in the market today are produced using mechanised processes and are filled with additives and preservatives to increase shelf life and provide stability to the product.
These products somehow do not have the same appeal or taste as hand-made/home-made pickles do. Therefore our endeavor is to provide customers with pickles that are farm fresh, preservative and additive free using traditional recipes and that taste exactly as products used to before modern food processing industry started.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
I feel like the Indian consumer has just started eating better and is going back to the old/traditional ways with the market becoming more aware and health conscious. But still the average spend on clean food is far behind other developed nations. So this industry is just on the tipping point and has tremendous growth opportunity in the future.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
My family was very supportive as they themselves are entrepreneurs. Infact a lot of our product recipes are from my father itself. Even though there were elderly distant relatives had their doubts.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
Underestimating how far the Indian market has come as to clean food. We had to, and still do a lot of educating as to why shift from mass made bottled products.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
For us only one challenge remains which we are hoping to overcome by the end of 2017 itself. We are currently working to replace synthetic vinegar with vinegar made from sugarcane juice and have tied up with a local producer of sugarcane for the same. That is why we still do not claim to be organic.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
Personally, I am a goal driven person. Personally, this works for me:
A dream with a date becomes a goal.
A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan.
A plan backed up by actions makes your dream a reality.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do anything differently otherwise I wouldn’t have learned all of the valuable lessons that my mistakes taught me.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Stop comparing your life. Start Living it.
9) Where do you find inspiration?
We hugely find inspiration by the traditional ways in which food was prepared in India , before the modern mass manufacturing started. So we are trying to go back to the old ways:
- Our products are made using old/forgotten/traditional recipes and in the same way they were made when the recipes were written – BY HAND.
- The changes we have made are that the HANDS are covered with gloves and the HEADS with caps. The modern production machine that we have recently introduced is one domestic Mixie (The only electronic gadget in our unit)
- Our farms are completely free from flies, mosquitoes and insects throughout the day (We have them during the monsoons when no pickles are made).
- The fruits and vegetables that we use for pickling are plucked RIPE 2 hours before they are processed. We need the 2 hours lead time to wash and dry them in the Sun. (No artificial ripening is done to the fruits/vegetables or the end product).
- Then our pickles are Sun drenched in wide open spaces with ample space between the containers to allow each container to get Sun rays from all sides in the day (The containers are kept in an East to West direction)
10) What is your favourite book?
Personality Plus by Florence Littauer The Best book to learn how to manage people by using their strengths and covering their weaknesses.
It really helped me understand me and people around me and different types of personalities.
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
If you have a great idea or passion for something do try it for sure. You wouldn’t get to know if it works till you go out there and try to make it happen. If our work fulfils us thats what makes us ultimately happy.
A huge thank you to Niharika for taking the time to connect with EO India and share the learnings behind The Little Farm Company. Please check out their website to view the amazing creations and to order online
We Love Niharika’s answer to Question 6. A dream without an action plan we always only be a dream. If you have a dream then TAKE ACTION TODAY
Finally you can keep in touch with the latest happenings at The Little Farm Co on theirFacebook Page
As usual, don’t forget to check out the recommended reading below. They come recommended for a reason!