Hi all, a very Happy Christmas and advance New Year wishes. This is a sweet moment. No not just a sweet moment but this is a Chocó moment. Confused? Yes I think a better word to substitute sweet is Chocó. As a part of “Me and We - interview series”, I met Mr. Srinath, the Chocó man of Pondicherry, and proprietor of The Ebonyfoods – Chocóla (“Chocola – The Food of God”)
Ouf, a lot of home work I did before meeting Srinath, after reading about his 100 varieties of chocolate and especially “chocolate pakoda”. As a successful entrepreneur he shared his success stories and paths he travelled in establishing a sweet and humble organization. More than a chocolate boutique, Ebony Foods is growing as a more streamlined organization. Let’s hear more about this from Srinath!
Me&V: Hi Srinath, a many congratulations in showcasing 100 varieties of chocolate from (a small town) Pondicherry. Could you explain us where this Chocó idea has started?
Sri: Thanks a lot. What you will ask some who returns from any foreign nation? Not only children but also elders will be eager to taste the chocolates from that foreign nation. Now you just think of Pondicherry for a while, what is the thing that comes to your mind? Probably few may saw as cheap tour destination, some may say rich heritage and “Calm” place, but many prefer to say (stay!) for cheap liquor. What souvenir a foreigner can get back from Pondicherry? Sweet is the best thing that can substitute our joy. So, a specialized Chocó from our town can make a mark.
Me&V: That’s fantabulous. We are eager to know about your educational (entrepreneurial) background!
Sri: After my under graduation in hotel management, I was thinking more on Chocós and with the same idea I jus came out of the hotel where I was working. I went to European Union, the home land of chocolates to pursue my masters in hotel management and also more on chocolate preparation and designing. After coming to India, I jus started to practice what I learnt and the result is Chocóla. Setting-up an organization, stream lining the production, making a big product line, be a social responsible entrepreneur, all came well when I was doing what I liked. To me entrepreneurship is “doing what you like, rather liking what you do”
Me&V: 1. Chocolate market is estimated to be around 1500 crores (AC Nielson) growing at 18-20% per annum, 2. The Indian chocolate industry produces over 30,000 tones of chocolate products in year, 3. Over 70 per cent of the consumption takes place in the urban markets, 4. The per capita consumption of chocolate in India is 300 gram compared with 1.9 kilograms in developed markets such as the United Kingdom … These are some of the statistical data about chocolate industry as a whole. Amidst brands like Cadbury, Hershey’s, Kraft, and Nestle…how did you find a space for Chocóla?
Sri: I am clear in, what I do. I started this bouquet to show case the varieties in chocolates, and especially in black chocolates. Big brands like Cadbury’s and nestle are jus entering in this market, moreover there is a great boom for “designer chocolates”. There is a gradual increase in per capita consumption of chocolate in India and it is growing in a higher rate.
Giving a new dimension for Pondicherry, a sweet face and trying to make it as a “Real Mithai Mandir” is fantastic. What are the marketing strategies that Chocóla use to establish itself as a brand?
Know more on this in my next post…