Devika Kandhari, Founder, Sinfully Yours

By Team YS|1st Sep 2009
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A young management grad from one of India’s premier institutes and her doctor mother sound like any other successful mother-daughter duo, but throw in the word chocolates and the conventional picture is turned around on its head. Bringing them together, a recent sweet venture ‘Sinfully Yours’ apart from other things has this unusual credit to its name.

 

Established in 2006 and now synonymous with specialty chocolates, delectable desserts, snacks- crisps and dips and other personalized offerings, the business that counts amongst its suppliers list retail outlets, hotels, specialty restaurants, weddings , corporate orders and other celebrations, has its roots in humble beginnings.

 

Explains Devika, a student of MICA, “Sinfully Yours started with the simple ingredients of love, passion and two serious chocoholics. With our little concoction of good business sense and plain simple love for our work, we started the company and pursued it part-time juggling it with studies and medical practice respectively. Having started from home, the only capital we required was basic raw material and equipment for making chocolate and desserts”

 

The mother daughter duo started small. A benefit of bootstrapping initially was that they could test the business environment with their own earnings and plough back the profit into sustaining the business. However, admits Ms. Devika Kandhari “The word of mouth branding that we thus far relied upon started yielding more business than we could handle. What started as a mere hobby and passion for chocolates demanded a more professional approach. Having judged the market requirement, there was a need to have a simple but robust business model that could realize this potential and develop a unique brand identity.”

 

As good business sense rarely eludes a sharp entrepreneur for long, with some experience and the understanding of what goes into developing a brand, that Devika says came from b-school, made them put the brand on track and identify it with fun, passion, personalization and affordable luxury – ‘a brand to evoke the chocolate experience in everyone’s life’. 

 

With a simple model in place, where products are supplied from home to retail outlets and to clients, what started with individual boxes for family and friends has now risen to seven employees catering to orders even as big as 800 kilos.

 

The hard work and challenges behind this growth is obvious “We’re particular about everything – owing to the nature of the product quality and hygiene is most important to us. We make it a point always to pay special emphasis on our ingredients and personally train our staff. Innovation is important and we go beyond the obvious to personalize for our clients. Other everyday challenges include meeting hectic order deadlines and avoiding last minute disasters – such as bright sunny days which can be disastrous for our chocolates, says Devika adding that “It is at such moments that the most creative discoveries are made which work wonders for your business in the future.”

 

Hardly words from an inexperienced one. What gives the young entrepreneur so much confidence? “At each challenge there are two thoughts that come to your mind, one that asks ‘how am I going to get out of this one' and another which usually comes in hindsight 'Hey, that was a great learning for me.’ At Sinfully Yours, we resolved challenges and then used the learning’s that came with it. That's also something you'll never experience in a regular job. Having been born in a family of doctors, and choosing the unexplored path of entrepreneurship was a challenge in itself. However, one just has to stumble upon what one loves and is passionate about to get hooked on to this pro-risk world of entrepreneurship.” structures Devika.

 

Rightfully then, the achievements gained by the two are well-deserved amongst which they count tie ups with retailers and nationally known hotels which has helped the brand overcome its seasonal nature. A regular supply has also meant expansion and scaling up plans which includes the setting up of a commercial kitchen to increase production capacity, more team members, expansion of the network of retailers, expansion of the snacks business, internet sales via a website and also a specialty retail outlet.

 

Evidently the two have come far. “To us, it’s still about chocolates and all sweet things first. My mother, the head chef is commonly referred to as Madame Chocolat, while I the younger dessert assistant am Miss Truffle. Eventually you have to love the work you do. It always comes through in the final product.”

 

Well, the multiple Oscar nominated Hollywood release Chocolat had enthralled everyone with its story of a delightful mother and daughter duo who change an entire village with their concoctions of chocolate goodness. We’re just beginning to suspect that that the source of inspiration for the script came from this sinful establishment.

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