Smoodies was set up as a mission-led brand - delivering honest fruit with great taste to India’s urban and increasingly health-conscious consumer. Unpacking that meant that we set down core brand pillars for our product: 100% Natural, with No Added Sugar, No Preservatives, and no Artificial Colours and Flavours. The product had to look good, taste good, be true to our brand values, and most importantly, reach our consumers!
Bringing this together took work – a lot of it! A lot of people ask founders, “but how did you start?” and while there is no straightforward answer, the resounding theme is that starting up is the hardest phase! From figuring out recipes, shelf stability, product nutrition, compliances, manufacturing, finances, branding, marketing, sales – there is no dearth of problem-solving in the early days.
Going down memory lane to our first 6 months: We started from a kitchen (60 square feet), with a table top to manufacture on, a bootstrapped budget, and have now graduated to a 3500 square foot manufacturing unit. It took 6 months of intense research and trials, and we were also extremely fortunate to have support from some people who we will always be grateful to, for equipping us with the knowledge, introductions and resources to get started. The list of our well-wishers is much too long for us to tag, but if you are reading this, you know who you are.
Now along the way we have made mistakes, and in retrospect, could have done a lot of things differently. But we have also avoided mistakes, because we had people in our corner, nudging us in the right direction. And while there is a long long way to go for us to realize our full potential, it is time to pay it forward.
So for this Women’s Day, we are kicking it off. The Smoodies team pledges to donate 15 hours a month, every month for the next quarter, to a set of pre-product or early stage women-led F&B brands with the full strength of our knowledge and network. Whether that involves help with product development, supplier connect, business plans, branding, go-to-market, customer connects, or operations streamlining, if we can help, we will!
Call it mentorship, advice or just sheer companionship, the aim is, in our own small way, to Pay It Forward.