Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. When techie-turned-entrepreneur Gautam P.B found it difficult to source organic vegetables and fruits for his tiny tot, he, along with his friend and colleague Anurag Dalmia, decided to take organic mainstream. In 2014, estore Healthy Buddha, a bootstrapped start-up came into existence in the outskirts of Bengaluru and is now feeding the hungry stomachs of its 2,000 loyal customers. During a conversation with Indian Retailer, Dalmia talks about why competition is good in this niche market and why the future of organic market shines bright.
Tell us about your products.
One word that describes us is curated. As a consumer, one will get 20 or 30 different types of any product and all labeled ‘organic’. But how do you know these products are completely organic and you are not being cheated. This is where Healthy Buddha is different from others. We directly bring the vegetables and fruits from farmers and deliver to consumers. We have a wide range of 600 products and all are completely organic. We are also proud to say that we introduced a full range of organic snack bars, juices and snacks.
How many orders do you receive per day?
We deliver pan India through e-retailers and meet the orders of around 1,900 customers on a weekly basis.
Now that big players like Tata, Godgrej Nature Basket and Future Group is in the e-grocery sector, how do you plan to compete?
The organic e-store is a niche market and I feel competition is good. Since the market is still in its nascent stage, with big players in the market, it will get its due attention and consumer consumption will become wide.
Is cost still a concern for consumers to accept organic products?
The general assumption is if it’s organic then it must be expensive. We are trying to help consumers understand that organic products can be pocket-friendly. Now that the earning capacity of people has increased, not many mind spending on their lifestyle and health. The potential for organic market is huge.
What are your marketing strategies and expansion plans?
We are a tech-enabled company and most of our promotions have been on social media. We are present in some of the supermarkets and hypermarkets. Word of mouth is also helping us garner more customers. We hope to introduce concept stores in future and be present in all the cities across India.
The Setup ‘Completely self-funded’, says Dalmia, "you could use the fancier label bootstrapped!" Since orders are placed before the sourcing is done, operational costs are covered with some profit. Ever since the company was officially formed in March 2014, they have worked extensively on logistics and infrastructure. "The emphasis has always been to make the delivery from farm to customer on the same day," says Gautham.