We at Slicc are huge fans of Gitika’s products and as fans we were very curious to learn about Gitika’s journey and how she developed Homebred into the brand it is today. So when we first came up with the idea of a Slicc Community Page, she was the first person that popped into our minds and we instantly sent her a message! As a new brand in the healthy food & beverage market, it was really insightful to learn about her challenges, how she overcame them and what she learnt from the entire experience. We hope that other businesses and individuals starting a new journey can also apply these lessons to their own brand and life respectively.
HOMEBRED BY GITIKA. Authenticity is Key.
Gitika Jagasia, Founder of Homebred by Gitika and certified health coach, shares her inspiring story of how she took the leap and started her “Health Only” brand in 2018 and built it from the ground up, with little help.
Her own battle with PCOS and obesity inspired her to pursue conscious cooking and baking and turn it into a full-time job. Her passion for food, trust in her own skills, and her willingness to step outside her comfort zone gave her the courage to leave behind a previously mapped out life where she was studying to become a CA. Like any new entrepreneur starting out on their journey, Gitika had little knowledge about how to kick start her business. She faced several challenges and moments of self-doubt, however, she was able to find her way out, step by step, and made it the brand that it is today.
A GLIMPSE INTO THE INTERVIEW
Why is it important to stay true to your brand?
You can only sell what you truly believe in. Staying aligned with your values and having them reflect in your products is the truest form of authenticity and always shines through. I really do believe that if you’re not happy with what you sell or don’t consume what you sell yourself, you shouldn’t sell it in the first place.
To give you an example, I don’t consume eggs and never grew up eating them either. However, upon request, I did go out of my way to include eggs in my recipes which felt a bit misaligned for me. Thus, I made a decision to stop taking custom orders, and worked on mastering eggless desserts to a point where you can no longer tell the difference and now they’re customer favorites!
What were the biggest challenges you faced while starting out?
I started the brand at the time where delivery services, like wefast, etc., weren’t as evolved. I used to use my father’s office staff for deliveries, or do them myself. Even with our packaging, we had to deal with really high MOQs and it was a risk working with those quantities especially being new in the business.
With any challenge, you have to have the mindset to work through it and come up with solutions at every stage. That is the only way you can scale it. Just remember to take it step by step, as long as you’re growing and evolving, that’s all that matters.
What are your thoughts on the current Indian vegan market?
The Indian vegan Market is no longer a minority. The numbers are increasing by the year and it is great to see people trust vegan products and brands more and more. I personally try to advocate for non-dairy milk or non-dairy yogurts, because it is what helped me through my health journey. However, I also believe that no one diet suits all – and never solely suggest that veganism is the way to go. As a brand, we do want to be able to cater to multiple dietary requirements, vegan products included.
What are some marketing strategies that worked for you?
I actually got my main clientele by doing small events during the initial phases of setting up the brand. So I started with a weekend pop-up in a salon I used to go to regularly and honestly that has been like the best pop-up I’ve done. Because of that one event, I was able to form a substantial customer base, many of whom order from me till date. Thereon, we did a bunch of pop-ups and built our clientele by marketing in-person. We don’t miss out on the chance to do a collaborative pop-up because I think that’s the main way to get your clientele.
In-person events definitely make a major difference because people get to see who you are, how you are and that helps build trust in your brand. On the online front, instagram is obviously an important tool especially in this day and age.
What advice do you have for someone starting their own home business?
- Be authentic at every step of the way.
Believing in what you advocate for is a must. Like I mentioned before, if you can’t consume your own products, you shouldn’t be selling them. In this day and age, authenticity and transparency for a brand play a huge role in its success.
- You’re allowed to be clueless.
It’s important for young entrepreneurs starting out on their journeys to remember that everyone starts from nothing. As long as you’re putting in the hours and the work, you will learn to build and grow it along the way.
- Don’t underestimate the value of networking.
Marketing or advocating for your brand in person is equally important as digital marketing. The more you put yourself out there, show who you are, talk about the person behind the brand, the more you reap its benefits.
Talk to us about self-doubt? Did you experience it along your journey, and if so, how did you overcome it?
Yes, like everyone else starting their own business, I too had my share of self-doubt. Whether it was with the packaging, the price of the products, or the taste itself, self-doubt was inevitable.
However, what you can change is your mindset. I had to constantly remember to value my time, effort, resources, and labour when justifying the price point. Accepting that my packaging is ever-evolving and will never be at its 100% and that there is a reason I have so many growing and regular customers, was a step forward in fighting the self-doubt. I realized that there is no point in questioning the packaging or the taste of my product.
It’s important to maintain a healthy dialogue with yourself when it comes to self-doubt and rationalise the same. A shift in perspective is all you need sometimes!
What impact do you want to create through your brand?
I want it to be an everyday brand wherein people don’t have to think twice before indulging in dessert. Like I mentioned no one diet suits all so it does help having options of vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar free desserts available on the spot. I want my brand to be something that is for everyone, i.e., something that everyone can try out.
Also, our brand’s goals change often as we grow. So for a year my sister has been working with me full-time and she has downs syndrome. Through this experience I realized that India doesn’t have a very inclusive work atmosphere. I’ve been using social media to show that everyone is equally capable. By showing how inclusive we are in terms of giving her encouragement, and support, and most importantly believing in her, I want to show that Homebred is a very inclusive brand. I want to show that you shouldn’t brush off a person just because they may not be at a 100% cause everyone does learn and everyone does grow. My end goal is thus to generate this awareness so that people become more accepting and open-minded and not just in terms of buying desserts but also towards creating a community.
SLICC’S FAVORITE HIGHLIGHTS.
- Have a growth mindset – In any business, challenges are inevitable so the only way to mitigate the stress is to have faith in your product and take it one step at a time. #keepitsimple#keepitslicc
- Inclusivity, Inclusivity, Inclusivity – Through this interview, we were made to realize that India doesn’t have a very inclusive work environment and thus we should in our own small way push for a non-discriminatory workplace where each individual is given equal opportunity to grow and succeed.
- Pop-ups are the way to go! – Like Gitika, we definitely believe in the value of in-person marketing and being able to talk to your customers face-to-face. You are better able to provide a personality to your brand and build a loyal customer base.
- No one diet suits all – It is very true that there is no “One size fits all” diet plan so be comfortable with what you choose and how you choose to be. Variety is the spice of life indeed.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and learnt something of value from it. If you haven’t given Homebred by Gitika a try yet, we definitely recommend doing so. Her flourless dark chocolate cake is to die for! Please drop a comment and share your thoughts if you’d like.