"they are sending hampers to friends and family"
An Indian entrepreneur launched Saffron Gourmet, a brand that makes customised hampers for couples to announce their weddings amid the pandemic.
Indian weddings tend to be big occasions, however, Covid-19 has brought restrictions on social gatherings.
Sensing a business opportunity, Akansha Kohli decided to launch Saffron Gourmet.
She explained: “While most people cancelled or postponed their wedding, some were arranging intimate gatherings by following safety protocols.
“And, they are sending hampers to friends and family members who couldn’t be a part of the celebration.”
During the lockdown, Akansha rekindled her love for food experiments.
She created her own fusion sweets and savouries, get her friends and family to taste them and give her feedback.
Akansha would then incorporate them into her menu.
She made unique things like coffee milk cake, blueberry coconut ladoo, beetroot halwa and more. But everything was customised to a client’s needs.
The business is based in Delhi and most clients are millennials who like the brand’s aesthetic appeal, whether it is the fusion recipes or packaging.
Akansha told Your Story: “While millennial couples reach out for certain products, we have to deal with the bride and groom’s parents and family members who tend to be more old-school and convincing them of certain offerings is difficult.
“We often have to tell them, you may not like it but it suits the taste of your guests and the youth.”
In just one year, the Indian entrepreneur catered to clients in Delhi, as well as cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Pune.
For Delhi-based clients, Akansha meets them in person and presents samples for taste testing.
Once the snacks are finalised, taking into account dietary needs, Saffron Gourmet prepares the hampers and delivers them to their friends and family who could not attend the wedding.
For clients based in other cities, the company sends a sample of each item and arranges a Zoom call to finalise their choice.
In addition to catering to occasions, the brand also sells directly to customers, with prices starting at Rs. 1,200 (£11).
The Indian entrepreneur is currently working with a team of 15 but launching the brand during the pandemic came with challenges.
Akansha explained: “People are very apprehensive of receiving food items and keep packages outside after sanitising them, which is not great for food.”
Logistical problems only added to the problems.
Saffron Gourmet started with an initial investment of Rs. 5 Lakh (£4,700) in July 2020. It claims to have broken even and made a revenue of Rs. 15 Lakh (£14,300) in the last seven months.
While the business started to solve the initial wedding problems, Akansha believes there is potential for growth after the pandemic.
Saffron Gourmet is now in talks with major hotel chains to cater for events being held there.
Akansha hopes to launch a store once India’s second wave settles.