Serena Rathi discusses Love of Food & Co-founding Droosh

Serena Rathi and her cousins Sabrina and Savi co-founded the spice blend company Droosh. We spoke to Serena about the innovative firm.

"it's been a lot of fun to put all my skills together to launch a new brand"

Chicago-based Droosh is the consumer packaged goods brand that offers delicious and nutritious spice blends.

Co-founded by Serena, Sabrina and Savi, Droosh aims to show people that Indian foods and flavours do not have to be exotic or limited to only Indian foods.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the three family members cooked and experimented with their grandmother’s recipes.

After lots of trial and error, they came up with four spice blends – Icon, Tikka Masala, Everyday and Chaat Party.

Each one comes in eye-catching containers and has contrasting flavour combinations, meaning that people at home can incorporate Indian flavours into all cuisines.

Each spice blend is also nutritious, with lots of care taken by the three co-founders to ensure that they do good for your body.

DESIblitz spoke to Serena Rathi about how she and her two cousins created Droosh.

What were you doing before Droosh?

Right after college, I moved to New York City from Boulder, Colorado and started working immediately with food and beverage brands and then was solely working in the alcohol industry.

I was working in PR and then shopper marketing, where I executed lots of interesting marketing campaigns for new brand launches, product launches, brand collaborations, retail programs, etc.

So it’s been a lot of fun to put all my skills together to launch a new brand, that’s my own with my two cousins.

Detail your love for food growing up with your cousins

Serena Rathi discusses Love of Food & Co-founding Droosh 2

Food was always something that brought us together while growing up.

On the weekends, no matter how busy our schedules were, we would always come together for meals at Maa’s (our grandma’s) house.

The time spent learning recipes from Maa, playing together in her basement as she cooked, and getting time to catch up and laugh with each other while eating is such a core factor as to why we are so closely bonded to one another.

When did you and your cousins decide to create Droosh?

Serena Rathi discusses Love of Food & Co-founding Droosh 3

During the pandemic, the three of us began talking all the time about how we wanted to show others that Indian foods and flavours don’t have to be exotic or limited to only Indian foods as we felt that Indian food and ingredients weren’t talked about enough in mainstream media or online.

We regularly raved about how certain spices (such as turmeric) were blowing up in Western culture because of their healing properties, and we knew that this was possible with food too, specifically spice blends.

“Simultaneously, we were three girls in our early 20s navigating college and/or entering the workforce.”

We didn’t have large chunks of time to cook meals, so we relied on Maa’s recipes and pre-packaged blends she would make and mail us.

It was through these shared experiences that we came to the realisation that Maa’s flavours were the ones we wanted to share with everyone.

The time we had during the pandemic to cook and experiment with new recipes of Maa’s was so fun, that even after the pandemic we knew we had to continue cooking and trying out new recipes and work with Maa to make sure we knew exactly how she blends and makes her masalas.

Why did you create a spice brand?

Serena Rathi discusses Love of Food & Co-founding Droosh

Savi, Sabrina and I are very passionate about our Indian culture and truly love the food and the history behind so many of the spices and recipes.

And I feel that it’s loved by so many people, Indian or not, but that cooking Indian food at home isn’t very popular for non-Indian people.

We wanted to create easy-to-use blends that cater to all sorts of people, dishes and cuisines to show how anyone can confidently cook Indian and Indian-inspired dishes at home if you just understand how to use the spices.

We are so happy that Droosh spices are easy to use as all the spices are properly blended and milled so all anyone has to do is throw it on their food!

What was the inspiration behind the name Droosh?

We had this idea of playing off the meaning of the Hindi word Drishti, which in Sanskrit can mean sight or vision, and we wanted to have this “vision beyond the literal” approach and meaning as we want to provide such a deeper insight into what Indian food and culture means.

So we created the word Droosh, which means one who is imaginative.

We want everyone to get creative and use their imagination when using Droosh and whipping up delicious meals.

We love to not follow rules, so want everyone to feel that when they use Droosh anything is possible.

Were there any challenges in getting Droosh off the ground?

Of course! I think every business does, it’s definitely a part of the learning process.

Droosh is our first business and I think we were quickly humbled when we realised this entire process was much more difficult than it seemed.

“Every step of the journey takes so much thought and so much trial and error.”

I think probably one of our longest (and biggest) challenges at the beginning was perfecting the ratios of ingredients in the recipes that Maa had only ever made in her small kitchen so that they could taste the same, if not better when made in large quantities.

We are constantly learning something new each week, if not every day, but thanks to so many amazing mentors and other CPG business owners, we are figuring out the solution to every problem we come across.

When did Droosh first start to see a rise in popularity and how did that feel?

Droosh launched in June 2022 and we saw a rise in popularity around the end of July and August due to the fact Droosh was in the very popular department store Nordstrom across eight cities.

As a new pretty fresh brand, we are still hoping to gain more popularity and build our customer base, as well as our social media presence.

What makes Droosh stand out?

Something so special about Droosh that not many other spice brands do is that we are so versatile, meaning our spice blends are supposed to be used in not just one specific way, dish or cuisine.

We formulated recipes that ensure our blends taste delicious in all sorts of ways, from cooking Indian dishes to Mexican, American, Japanese and more.

We feel that many blends out there limit the way you use them as they aren’t formulated to be so versatile.

Droosh also takes the time to properly source, mill, blend and test each ingredient so it’s long-lasting and extremely flavourful.

Also being founded by three 100% Indian-American family members has had a huge impact in the way we promote our brand, in terms of how we educate consumers and get their attention.

We aren’t just another pretty online food brand, but we are here to try and make a change and get rid of all the misconceptions associated with Indian food and culture.

What does it mean to you to co-found a Women of Colour and AAPI-owned brand?

It means giving representation to our community of women of colour and showing that we are committed to empowerment, cultural expression and social impact.

Furthermore, it allows us to address gaps in the market by challenging stereotypes and biases that may exist in the business and consumer landscapes.

“Something that has meant the most has been the ability to build a community.”

Even though we only recently launched, we feel such a sense of solidarity and community among other Women of Colour business owners and our audience.

Our biggest hope is that with time, Droosh can become a platform for celebrating cultural diversity and encouraging collaboration.

Do you have any advice for women looking to start a food-based brand?

I say go for it!

Savi, Sabrina and I had zero entrepreneurial experience before starting Droosh and as long as you’re committed and passionate about what you want to build, you will succeed.

I highly encourage everyone to give their idea a chance and if it doesn’t work out that’s okay, you at least tried.

Could you tell me about your future plans for Droosh?

I hope to expand our product line with new spice flavours and different types of products we offer within the non-perishable food space.

I also really hope that with Droosh expanding our customer base and online presence, we build a strong community of passionate foodies to educate them all about Indian food, the beautiful culture, the meaning behind each of our recipes and spices so Indian food can be talked about more often and looked at as sexy, because right now it’s not getting the attention it deserves.

I’m also excited to continue learning from our customers and followers, as the feedback we have received has been so inspiring.

Despite not having an entrepreneurial background, Serena Rathi and her cousins Sabrina and Savi have taken their passion for food to create a range of spice blends.

Each spice blend offers unique flavour profiles that are suited for different dishes, both Indian and non-Indian.

Serena, Savi and Sabrina want to find a way to spark meaningful conversations around food, culture, community, innovation and how Indian female entrepreneurs are represented in the USA.

With Droosh, they intend to bring a diverse voice into the conversation around food and culture.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

What's New

  • Polls

    Who in your household watches most Bollywood films?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Share to...