[Startup Bharat] Ahmedabad-based Buy HomeMade is bringing home chefs together on one platform

Founded by two homemakers passionate about cooking, the online platform enables people to discover and buy regional, homemade snacks. The startup will soon begin operations in Canada and the UK.

With people forced to stay indoors, and strict restrictions placed on movements in 2020, home cooking became somewhat of a trend, especially in lieu of ordering out. When Ami Baxi and Deepika Lakhani, residents of Ahmedabad, heard from friends that they craved home-cooked meals, especially local snacks cooked in hygienic, safe conditions, they decided to do something about it.

Homemakers themselves, Ami and Deepika, who regularly cooked meals for their families, realised the potential that people similar to them had, and decided to launch an online platform, called Buy Home Made, that could bring all of them together on one platform.

The website, launched in October 2020, enables home chefs to sell homemade snacks, pickles, organic oils, chocolates and baked goods on the platform, helping them earn some extra money doing what they love doing, or what they at least do every day.

The duo invested Rs 20 lakh of their own money in the startup, and their current sales revenue is invested back into the company. The startup has over 30 home chefs selling their products on the platform already.

“It has only been three months (since launch), but a concrete company structure, and business plan are helping us move ahead confidently,” Ami tells YourStory.

Income stream for home chefs

Buy HomeMade taps into a large and commercially underutilised market that exists in India — home chefs. The issue with home chefs often is that nearly 90 percent of them are also homemakers, and are either not able to commit a lot of time to a full-fledged business, or don’t have the right tools or the business expertise to launch something of their own.

Buy HomeMade helps solve this issue for them.

By handling sales and marketing, as well as helping guide home chefs with packaging and delivery, the startup takes the pressure off of them to start the endeavour from scratch. Think of it as an Amazon for home-cooked snacks and other comestibles, which, via a simple sign up, helps get independent sellers started.

“Through our platform, home chefs can introduce their culinary skills to the world and become homepreneurs,” Ami says, adding that her vision for the company is to help homemakers get recognition for their cooking skills not just in India, but also abroad.

Currently, the startup only carries dry snacks and foods that are unique to particular regions. Demand for those items, the founders say, is quite strong, both in the national and international market. In fact, over the last two months, the company has processed more than 600 orders, and is now seeing more than 50 orders per day.

Overall, Buy HomeMade’s total orders have risen 30 percent, month on month.

One of the biggest challenges the company faced in its initial days was coordinating orders and deliveries with each home chef, but technology helped make the process easier. It also had to instate standard user- and product-friendly packaging, as well as delivery, which actually simplified the process for home chefs too since they did not have to waste time figuring out the right tools, and could instead use tried and tested methods.

Future plans 

The fast-growing startup, which currently delivers to 23,000 pincodes across the country, plans to soon go international via franchising. Seeing increased purchases from NRIs and Indian students studying abroad helped Ami and Deepika realise the demand for Indian snacks and eatables in international markets, and they’ve already tied up with Indian homemakers based in Canada and the UK to launch a similar offering on their existing platform.

The startup, which is looking to raise external funds in the next six months, is currently in talks with tech partners to beef up its website.

Apart from dry snacks that have a shelf life of up to 15 days, Buy HomeMade said it will soon launch same-day consumption products once its new application is ready, and also offer other, miscellaneous homemade products.

Ami expects these new launches to boost its visibility and help bring in more than 50,000 unique users every month.

Buy HomeMade is also in talks with several NGOs to source over 2,000 products made by 7,000 women and specially-abled people, and list them on its platform.

“With a social cause at the core, we strive to become a global player,” Ami says.

Edited by Anju Narayanan