A startup that harnesses homemakers' talent
The story behind Mirchi.com, a Hyderabad-based startup has a unique story to tell
The story behind Mirchi.com, a Hyderabad-based startup has a unique story to tell. After staying in US for 16 years, in 2008, Poornima Mital moved back to Hyderabad and as a Sales Director, continued to manage her team from India.
Working late nights, as per the US time schedule was tough but she juggled between her home and professional responsibilities.
In 2011, the company she worked was acquired and Poornima decided to stay at home with mom and spend quality time with her family. When her only son left for his college, she found herself with plenty of time at her hands.
Not used to being idle, she looked for things to keep her busy and explored various options. She remembered the time in the US when she used to carry sweets, snacks and pickles from her neighbourhood chefs and from small shops in Hyderabad.
Researching the Internet and social media, she came across numerous small retailers and homemakers who were very talented but could not go beyond their neighbourhood or friends' circle, either due to financial constraints or family restrictions.
That's when an idea struck in her mind, why not provide an opportunity to these individuals who were brands of their own, but did not have the means to venture beyond their geographical area?
With a little help, these individuals could rise above their current situations and do a lot better for themselves and their families.
A new venture brought with its own set of problems, especially while dealing with those who had no prior experience with e-commerce, packing or shipping.
Daunting at first, all these problems were overcome one by one using Poornima's own real-life experience in the kitchen and shopping for grocery in the US.
With process automation, easy-to-follow instructions, specialised food grade packing material, and direct money transfer, sellers began to get a comfort feeling.
In fact, many husbands who were at first sceptical, fully supported their wives and lent a helping hand in the preparation and packing of products.
Poornima says, "My husband Niraj Mital has been an entrepreneur and was running his own IT services company. Currently Niraj supports me on the technology, site development, operations at Mirchi.com.
It is all about convenience to the buyers and enables them to order their favourite sweets and namkeens from across the country without moving from home and get them delivered at home."
In the first year of its launch, Mirchi.com listed over 5,000 unique products from over 400 sellers and over 100 homemakers with more joining every day. All this would not have been possible if a housewife somewhere in Hyderabad did not get bored sitting at home.
They are a team of 10 members including sales, technical, digital designers. "We also use third party cotracts for social media marketing. During this pandemic, our entire team has been working from home.
Due to the lockdown, we have spoken to every seller in detail to ensure that extra safety precautions are followed for every order. Our courier partners also have SOP they follow for sanitization of vehicles, package containers and contact free delivery.