Melting in!
Melting in!

Following the footsteps of Vadilal Gandhi, who set up Vadilal’s first business venture a century back, his great great grand-daughter Aastha Gandhi has ventured out on her own to set up a new business for Vadilal Industries Limited. On Women’s Day she will be opening India’s first artisanal gelato (Italian ice cream) outlet, melt in, in Ahmedabad.

Neha Malhotra (NM): Can you brief us about your entrepreneurial journey?

Aastha Gandhi (AG): I joined Vadilal Industries Ltd in May 2012 as the General Manager (Vadilal Happinezz Parlour) where I looked after all the company owned stores. I look after routine operation, strategy formulation and expansion of these stores.

NM: How did you come up with the concept of 'Melt in'?

AG: I wanted to know my product in and out. This and my desire to bring innovation in business  made me take up a 4-week gelato training programme at the world’s finest institute, Carpigiani Gelato University. My training and internship made me more confident about bringing it to India.

NM: How difficult was to diversify from ice-creams to gelato?

AG:It was more interesting and challenging than difficult. I’ve always believed in taking up task that are challenging as it helps you in your development. Also, if the work does not interest you, no matter how hard one works, the result will always be failure. As far as diversifying was concerned, we had always believed in diversifying within our core area of competence. Though, gelato is different to ice cream in many ways, we knew our expertise and experience in ice cream would help us in venturing into gelato with specialized knowledge in place.

NM: What processes have been put in place for production at the store?

AG:We have a small factory I.e. gelato lab in the store which is on display. This is equipped with a pasteuriser, batch freezer and blast chiller. The capacity of this unit is 600-720 litres per day. 

NM: How many stores have been planned for this year? Which locations are you targeting?

AG: As of now, we want to focus only in Ahmedabad store. After analyzing responses to this store, we plan to enter Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and other metros.

NM: Who is the target clientele?

AG: As in ice cream, gelato is targeted at any customer who not only wants to beat harsh summers, but also wants to enjoy delicious dessert. Gelato has nutritional advantage over ice cream and so those who don’t have ice cream can also have gelato. So effectively, we could have more consumers compared to ice cream. Though, we could not afford to have bias towards our consumers, we believe that our product would be in demand largely from the youth and premium segment.

NM: What are your future plans?

AG: I want to make melt in a national brand for artisanal gelato, exclusively made in India. 

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