Chennai’s homemakers surge ahead as entrepreneurs
By Sudarshan Ramabadran / ENS - CHENNAI
08th August 2012 08:02 AM
If on the one hand we are celebrating the achievements of Mary Kom who is punching her way ahead at London, it is time to also take note of some of Chennai’s homemakers who are boldly venturing into the daunting entrepreneurial world with sheer determination to succeed.
A sizable chunk of homemakers – armed with the traditional wisdom of food-making – are stepping into the food business, which is witnessing steady growth.
Meet 35-year-old Isabella Rani, who started Nehaa’s Ice cream and Chocolates few years ago.
Recounting the early days and some of the experiences that have taught her the nuances involved with running a business, she says that every product “must and should have an Unique Selling Proposition (USP).” She elaborates, “Thankfully, I learnt this early. I decided that the USP of my products should be authentic homemade flavour.” Pointing out that smart marketing is pivotal in nurturing and establishing a brand – which will also reflect on the growth of the business - she says, “Branding and building a business is the second important exercise. I named my products Nehaa and focussed on its promotion.”
Although there are many players in the field of ice cream and chocolates, Isabella, brimming with confidence, says that it is still possible to gain a strong foot-hold in the industry and work towards garnering a decent market share. “It is difficult. It needs a lot of grit and perseverence. But it possible.”
Does the traditional word-of-mouth drive not help in reaching a larger section of the society?
“Yes indeed. It is with the help of the church that I visit that the word slowly began to spread about my products. Friends and relatives began to take samples, and people began to gradually accept the product,” says Isabella.
Also, promotional activities through other avenues including online campaigns have been successful for Isabella. “I used the services of an information service provider. It brought in a volley of enquiries and other marketing strategies also proved helpful.” Today Isabella’s business yields a whopping turnover of `3 lakhs.
Shanthi Balasubramanian, head, TN Agricultural University Information and Training Centre, says, “In the last year, we have had 721 people who trained in the various facets of baking and making ice-creams.”
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