This self-funded bakery is using the power of influencer marketing to clock a turnover of Rs 2Cr a month
Who doesn’t like desserts? From traditional mithais to exotic pastries and even the modern-day deconstructed and science-infused desserts, this is a market for all.
In Delhi, until a few years ago, Wenger’s was one of the few names in the bakery market that managed to garner immense popularity for its cake and pastries.
Today, not only is there an increase in homegrown bakery brands, but several international names like L‘Opera have also managed to get a hold on the India bakery market.
Aavika and Utsav Chhawchharia, Founders of Honey & Dough
A newly-introduced brand, which is on the way to becoming a successful bakery brand in India, is.
Started in August 2017 in Delhi, the self-funded company has eight outlets across Delhi-NCR, including Defense Colony, Dwarka, and Vasant Kunj. Two more stores are slated to open soon, including one in Gurugram.
SMBStory spoke to the founders Aavika and Utsav Chhawchharia, on building the brand and how they are looking to establish a foothold in the immensely crowded bakery market.
Edited excerpts below.
SMBStory (SMBS): Tell us something about the story behind starting Honey & Dough.
Utsav Chhawchharia (UC): I was previously in the petrochemical business. Honey & Dough was my wife’s idea. I have been handling its operations and finance verticals completely since the last one-and-a-half years.
Aavika Chhawchharia (AC): In Chandigarh, there is a famous bakery chain which I liked a lot. Looking at it, I would wonder why there is no pan-bakery brand in Delhi.
This compelled me to launch Honey & Dough with my husband. Now, we have over a hundred products including cakes, pastries, macarons, croissants, beverages, cookies etc.
SMBS: Your entry in the Indian bakery market can be deemed quite late. There are already some established players and the market is extremely crowded. How do you plan to establish a space for your brand?
UC: We started our journey in Defense Colony, which has five bakery shops already. We believed that if we are able to survive in this place then we will be able to survive in the entire Delhi market.
We realised that our brand was gaining traction and we were able to generate the revenue we had hoped for. We have been seeing very decent growth in our stores with a 40 percent repeat customer rate.
AC: Our USP is that we are an all-in-one bakery brand. Everything is available at an affordable price and is of good quality. If you look at a brand like Theobroma – it only provides brownies.
So, they are catering to a very specific segment of customers who want to opt for brownies. If you look at Defense Bakery or Wengers, our products are a bit high-end – only by 25 to 30 percent higher – compared to them.
We have something for everyone. From a student who wants to shell out only Rs 50-60 and a customer who wants to shell out more and wants something fancy like an almond croissant which is around Rs 300.
When I say quality, I mean that our products surpass the products of brands in terms of taste, size, and presentation. Additionally, a lot of research and development goes into these products.
For example, we first lock on the taste then think about the pricing.
SMBS: What are the things that didn’t work out for your brand?
AC: There is a fad nowadays to make everything gluten-free. And so, we did that too but it didn’t work out. This is the advantage of experimenting. You gain a better understanding of your market.
UC: In addition, initially, we were renting smaller stores to save up on the rental cost but soon we realised that people prefer big and open spaces.
Also, the last two to three outlets have a kitchen so that people can relish freshly-cooked food items like pasta, which adds up to the variety in our menu.
SMBS: What are your strategies to build and improve your brand?
AC: Marketing is very important in today’s time. At present, we accept orders through our website and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. We have also tied up with third-party order aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato.
Further, we are looking at collaborating with top bloggers to market Honey & Dough.
The influencers have a lot of impact and people are following their recommendations. So, even though mass marketing and digital marketing are essential, we want to focus on influencer marketing.
UC: We are aiming to clock a turnover of Rs 2 crore every month. In FY 20-21, we intend to open 10 more outlets in NCR before venturing to other parts of the country.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)