Vijay Haldia’s story is the same as that of women in many Indian households, who took pride in their cookery skills. The 60 year-old was part of an online cooking group where she shared her love for cooking, by posting recipes and her culinary experiments. But, as her popularity increased, she was blocked from that group without being given a valid reason. That’s when her daughter, Apeksha, pitched in to help. “I saw how that group had become a great channel for my mother to not only showcase her culinary skills but also to connect with other women like her.” That’s when Apeksha decided to open up a Facebook group called Zayka Ka Tadka by Vijay Haldiya and a Wordpress blog by the same name. “It was a big confidence booster for her,” says Apeksha. Two years later, the group had 30, 000 followers. “My mother went from being recognised as a homemaker to a mompreneur. She was even asked to come up on stage and talk at a local event. That’s when I realised how sharing her recipes and getting appreciation for her culinary skills helped my mother gain so much confidence. It also dawned on me that while my mother had someone who could help her showcase her culinary skills, there were many mothers who didn’t.” That realisation drove Apeksha to make it her mission to provide a platform for mothers to showcase their culinary expertise and that’s when Apeksha and her mother designed a recipe sharing platform.
Keeping it raw and real became Zayka ka Tadka’s USP
Zayka ka Tadka started off as a blog and an online recipe sharing community in early 2015, then went on to become a text recipe sharing platform officially in 2017. The next year, Zayka Ka Tadka pivoted to become a live cooking video platform. The platform derives its name from two Hindi words: Zayka which means flavour and Tadka which means tempering.
“Today, we share heirloom recipes of mothers telecast live from their own kitchens. Our mothers are not celebrities. They do not have a strong camera presence. We never do retakes as well. So, the videos are very raw, real and natural. These women showcase the signature dishes they have been making for the last 10 or 20 years, in the comfort of their own kitchens. And, this format has become our key USP today.”
In a little over two years, Zayka Ka Tadka has garnered close to 1.6 million followers on key social media and video-sharing platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. “Our followers are spread across age, gender and geography, but the largest segment is of women between 25-44 years of age.” When asked if Zayka Ka Tadka finds it challenging to retain the loyalty of its followers, considering the proliferation of food and recipe related content available online, Apeksha says, “It’s true there are some fantastic food bloggers and vloggers out there, in addition to celebrity chefs who have their own channels. That said, everyone has something unique to offer, hence there’s space for all of us to thrive.”
How even the most basic technologies help to achieve big impact
Zayka Ka Tadka has grown from being a two-member mother-daughter venture to being a startup with a team of six people. Today, as the co-founder of the startup, Apeksha’s key responsibilities focus on forging and strengthening the connect with mothers across the country and helping them feel confident enough to go live on Zayka ka Tadka. “Apart from that, like any other young startup founder, I pitch in for almost every other aspect of work -- sitting at the editing table, coordinating shoots, monitoring traction, to content ideation and execution, among a host of others.
With an online venture that is growing steadily, the entrepreneur says, “It is amazing to see what technology can help you achieve. At Zayka Ka Tadka, technology has been our biggest enabler, as much for us as it has been for our community of mothers.”
When the work is dependent on technology, you need to keep yourself constantly updated to leverage its many advantages, opines Apeksha. Sharing an example, she says, “Our distribution is mainly through online channels, primarily social media. So, we keep experimenting with the new features that the platforms offer. For instance, on Facebook, we don't just do Facebook Live videos but also broadcast the videos with our community of Moms all over the world. This helps to strengthen the connections that we have with our audience and at the same ensure that we don’t lose out on recall amid competition."
How Dell empowers them in their journey
"We began our journey sitting with a Dell laptop, blogging, chronicling the journeys of recipes. Today, our scope of our work has expanded to include video shoots, edits, and promoting them via social media channels. The technology that we used was pretty basic - A Dell laptop, a handycam and a mobile, but what we have been able to achieve is big and impactful." Today, the startup also uses a Dell monitor. “Being big on videos today, a lot of our work happens at the editing table. When we decided to invest in a monitor for the editing table, we went back to Dell. We were told that it was reliable, study and the best in the market and our past experience was a testimony to that,” says the entrepreneur.
Championing the women in the kitchens
Before Zayka Ka Tadka happened, Apeksha worked with global FMCG majors before going on the University of Washington to pursue Masters in Sports Management. Apeksha says, “I have enjoyed every bit of that journey and would not have it in any other way.” But, she says, “As a first-time entrepreneur, it was a big challenge to convince myself and my family about the promise of Zayka ka Tadka as a full time career. I contemplated a lot before I took the plunge. But today, my biggest challenge is to convince mothers who have so far confined their culinary expertise to their own kitchens to believe in themselves and showcase their expertise to the larger world out there. But there’s nothing that can deter us in our humble mission to empower mothers to take pride in what they do and maybe even nudge them a little to come out of their comfort zone so that they can be the hero of their own stories.”
She adds, “The culinary expertise of women, especially mothers, is often under-appreciated. They often don’t get anything in return except for occasional compliments. But, it’s time to move beyond that. At Zayka Ka Tadka, so far, we have been able to provide them with the recognition and appreciation they deserve, albeit at an emotional or psychological level. But, our dream is now to take the next step and see how we can also provide some sort of financial recognition.”
Zayka Ka Tadka is among the winning startups of the Dell Empowers Entrepreneurs series, a joint initiative by YourStory and Dell to put the spotlight on young ventures and startups who are running successful businesses powered by Dell Technology.