With busy and stressful lives we seldom have time to browse the aisles of a grocery or vegetable store. On a more routine basis we prefer to put technology at work and yet enjoy the farm-to-fork produce. Giving a local flavour to this offering is Purnima Rao, founder of Fresh2all.com in the hectic suburb of Gurgaon catering to needs of the massive working population by putting their to-do list to action.
Fresh2all.com was started with a long-term vision to source all fruits & vegetables directly from their own farms or other farmers and provide conveniently at our doorsteps. Why? Because, their main objective is "Eat Fresh Stay Healthy".
Rao isn't new to the startup world. With Univerv Excel Services LLP in Gurgaon, she has built interesting businesses. She has been working on the concept of trusted social network called XtendedFamily.in. However with Fresh2all.com, she knows there are options for scale and growth. How does she plan to capture the presence of a vegetable buyer? She speaks with Ria Das about her vision.
Why an Online Grocery Store? Why not something else?
It's been almost 12 years here in Gurgaon and also being a very strict health conscious person, I've been noticing that fresh vegetables & fruits are getting over-priced day-by-day. Also, the freshness, quality and the price did make me uncomfortable. In Fresh2all we have spent significant time with the farmers who grow fresh fruits and vegetables. We found out that the farmers are still poor even though end customers pays hefty prices for getting a fruit/vegetable at their doorsteps, farmer are not making more money. Then we thought that if we sell fruit/vegetable which is sourced directly from farmers, then they will be beneficial, also the customers will be happy of having good quality of products. If both the sides are happy, we are happy. Also, we have started growing our own farm, so that others farmers should see and start growing theirs.
My day starts with bargaining at subzi mandi
As a female entrepreneur, what are the difficulties you faced when you first started?
As a woman, we all have many duties to pass through in our daily lives. But, I must say that my husband and my in-laws were very supportive during those days. You should know that in Haryana, ladies are being dominated by men. But my family, especially my husband motivated me a lot, in fact he helps me with my daily works along with his own job. Secondly, financial issues had been one major difficulties. We were not funded. We started this on our own. I have seen loses, big loses. Because, to compete with Bogbasket and Peppertap which were already being funded by big venture capitalists, was not so easy. But, still we have to keep the prices and quality in competition with them. When it comes to quality, my team and I go in the morning and get fresh vegetables. We also have return & refund policy. So, this site takes care of customers' personal choices.
In the beginning, what motivated you the most?
Back in the beginning, with my two kids I thought of having, or more accurately creating something on my own. Mother of two kids with a family, it was a bit difficult but I started hoping for the best. With the support of my wonderful family, I became an entrepreneur.
How have your entrepreneurial motivations changed till date?
Lack of funds demotivated me in the beginning but when gradually the number of customers started increasing and started getting positive feedback from them, it helped me keeping up my spirits. Although, my great team inspired me. So, here we are today, all maintained carefully.
Lack of funds demotivated me in the beginning
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Without any marketing, with word of mouth and our relationships with surroundings made Fresh2all a better site. I feel so lucky to have a team like this. Undoubtedly, this is my greatest achievement till date.
What does a day-in-the-life of Purnima Roa consist of?
My day starts with bargaining at subzi mandi. Beside taking care of my kids and family, for my site I personally take care of each and every order. If we get pre-order, then my team and I someday stay late at the office but we make sure that our customers are happy at end of the day.
What's the single most important reason for your success?
The personal touch we're giving to our customers and the quality which we're providing.
The site you've started, where it's heading to, any idea?
We are in a good path. Slow and gradually, Fresh2all will be heading towards its success.
Looking back, what's one thing you'd do differently?
I can't imagine my life without Fresh2all. But, still I have few years of IT experience, so may be I would have done something in that field.
What Does Purnima Rao do in her free time?
I have two parts in my life. One is Fresh2all and the other one is my kids. Spending time with my kids gives me motivation to a new level.