“It is not about placement but about repeat orders” says ANKITH TOLASARIA, ENTREPRENUER and the man who introduced the famous KARACHI BISCUITS brand into the Kerala market.
For those of you who need a little tutorial about Karachi Biscuits and the Karachi bakery that bakes them, here we go! Located in Hyderabad, Karachi Bakery has over six decades of delighting customers with their baked goodies. With a loyal customer following, they have emerged as a “True Icon of Hyderabad baking”. Their secret lies in the good mix of traditions and trends that they incorporate into all their baked good with immense care and detailing. They have a wide array of products, ranging from biscuits, cakes, macrons, rusks, snacks and others. Of the lot, the product that has customers flocking at Karachi bakery are their biscuits. Karachi biscuits are a household speciality, easily their largest selling product. The variety of biscuit flavours is staggering! It includes everything from Cashew, fruit and coconut to chocolate, almond and oatmeal.
My association with Karachi goes back a long way. As a child I remember a brightly coloured box handed over to me by a visiting uncle. Opening the box, I found it lined neatly with thick white squares prettied up with tutti frutti. One bite and I was in adore mode! I still remember gnawing off the crumbly biscuit first from all sides, keeping the tutti frutti as the final treat! Meeting Ankith was an enjoyable blast from the past!
Ankith tells me he hails from Rajasthan and then adds that he was born and brought up in Cochin, which of course was the answer to my shocked face when I heard his perfect Malayalam! He was always a business and despite having a good enough job as Assistant Manager, Sales, in a reputed company, he always had the urge to start something on his own. A little down the road, he quit his corporate job and started his own business at the age of 24.
Karachi as a company was based in Hyderabad and in order to maintain exclusivity, they haven’t opened chain stores anywhere else save for Mubai and Dubai. They do have wholesale exports and a good retail store presence and this is what Ankith wanted introduced into the Kerala market. “People want new products. Imported products are in much demand and with the vastly growing hyper and supermarket culture, people flock to such places to buy new and unique products” says Ankith.
As of now, Cochin has had a taste of 7 flavours of biscuits amidst the plethora of flavours available. Fruit, cashew and chocolate are some of their best-selling flavours here with of course their fruit biscuits being the star! These eggless biscuits have a major monopoly in the market, bringing in 50%-60% of total sales and they taste so very different from the variants available in other bakeries.
“We have three new flavours coming up in a couple of months” shares Ankith. Ankith himself is a big fan of the Karachi biscuit range and with the thorough knowledge that the product is worth its salt when it comes to taste and quality, Karachi and Kerala met and a wonderful relationship ensued.
“The product is pushed mostly through word of mouth. It all boils down to the store display. Karachi as a brand, has a loud enough presence and the important thing now is to position the product well in supermarkets.” Say Ankith. As an entrepreneur, pushing new products is a tough task.
Though customers welcome new products, sustainability depends on quality of the product and the service that you provide. “There were times when I used to deliver orders to customers myself! And I don’t mind because at the end of the day all the effort goes into bringing you and your brand success.” He only reminds new and upcoming entrepreneurs that business is tough and one needs to stick it out to attain success and of course to learn the art of convincing!
Karachi biscuits have a strong presence in all major supermarkets namely Lulu, Bismi, Farmgold and others. The best part is that they have an online sales and delivery option, where your order reaches your doorstep on time and without any damage. Each biscuit is handmade with a shelf life of 3-6 months. Apart from single flavour options, gift boxes in two and more flavours are also available. Ankith recalls the time he received huge scepticism when he introduced the product at a famous super market. “They did not want to stock the product saying that they were sure it would not sell. I however, kept urging them to at least try it once before they take the final decision. They finally gave in and tasted the biscuit. Their expression said it all and before I knew it, I was getting repeat orders from them! Like I said, repeat orders really matter. It shows that your footing is right.”
Ankith had brough two large sized boxes for trail. One was filled with their famous fruit biscuits and the other was a double flavoured gift set of Fruit and Cashew biscuits. I bite through the fruit biscuits and they just crumble in my mouth! Instantly I turn into that little girl saving the tutti fruttis till the very end. This time I ate the tutti fruttis along with the biscuit and it was a right treat! The biscuit was sweet without being overpoweringly so with small grains of saltiness that gave a good balance. The tutti frutti was chewy and added another texture dimension to the biscuit. The taste hadn’t changed one bit! I tried the cashew next. The burst of nuttiness was superb and I loved the sugar crystals sprinkled atop the biscuit! All I needed was a hot cuppa and I was sorted!
Ankith has big plans to introduce more unique products into the Cochin market. I ask him if starting his own brand is in his long term plans. “Not really” he answers with utmost honesty “I prefer promoting brands. I like the challenge it brings!”
Good luck to you Ankith and happy biscuit munching to me!