It was a regular affair for former NRI Poornima Mital to carry bags laden with Indian snacks and sweets back to the USA, whenever she made a trip to India. The munchies were meant not just for her family, but also friends craving a taste of home. The idea for a startup that sold crunchy wadiyams, lip-smacking pickles, khakras, chegodi, chaklu, murukulu, bhakarwadi was perhaps sown years ago. However, it would germinate into a full-fledged business called Mirchi.com when Poornima moved back to Hyderabad after 16 years in the US.
“I had long been thinking of a platform for home sellers limited by geography and other financial issues to promote their homemade foods. I had come across many such people online. So, I broached the subject with my husband who thought it was a good idea. Using his skill in software, he put together a website called Mirchi.com which went live in 2017,” says Poornima who has a 10-member team helping her. Mirchi.com lists everything from homemade pickles of all varieties, snack bars, laddoos, chocolates, podis, bhujia, ghatiyas, kachoris, nimkis, etc. There are close to 5,000 sellers listed on her site whose products are shipped countrywide and abroad to countries like the US and the UK.
The website is a platform for many sellers who operate a small scale business from their homes and stay in remote areas where a shipping service isn’t readily accessible. Mirchi.com provides them with the packing material and helps coordinate the shipping by bringing in trusted courier services, paying for everything and charging a small commission.
“Once an order is placed, the shipping is done from the sellers end. What you see is literally what you get. The price is kept same,” says Poornima whose website is available in three languages – Hindi, English and Telugu. “Soon, it will also be available in Tamil. It wasn’t easy getting people to come onboard, but after we reached out to sellers through social media, word spread and some people approached us on their own to be featured on the site,” shares Poornima. Changing her strategy after the lockdown, she and her team are now making gift boxes filled with different goodies to drive up sales.
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.