For Rupali Kakade, the founder of Truly Desi, 2016 was a watershed year. She noticed that her daughter was falling ill very frequently. After undergoing numerous tests, she found out that her daughter’s illness and allergies were due to adulterated milk and dairy products. Kakade's efforts to provide her daughter with unadulterated dairy led to her starting a venture of her own. Read on to know her story.
Truly Desi is a mission-driven brand that sells a large variety of Desi Dairy Products, Certified Organic grocery and residue-free fruit and vegetables by connecting farmers from rural India directly with the customers to sell their produce at a reasonable price and make them economically strong.
Talking about the inception of the idea, she says, "My daughter had started falling ill very frequently because of her consumption of adulterated milk and dairy products. That's when my husband and I decided to bring a few Lal Kandhar cows onto our farm in Pune and got our daughter to consume A2 milk from them. (A2 milk is a variety of cows' milk that mostly lacks a form of β-casein proteins called A1) But the quantity of milk we were getting through this was more than what we required, and we started distributing it to our family and friends. My daughter was now cured of her illness and allergies and I realised there was clearly a demand for unadulterated milk" She had found a market gap and thus Truly Desi was born in 2018.
Entrepreneurs work very hard to build products and services. A day should start full of positivity and happiness so that everyday hustle becomes very easy to tackle - Rupali Kakade
Shedding light on how the business has flourished in the last few years, Rupali told SheThePeople that they started with just a few cows and have about 100 cows on their farm now. Further, there are another 500-600 cows at their partner farms. Rupali was joined by Mohit Rathod, who started as Business Consultant for Truly Desi and eventually became a co-founder.
"We have also entered the modern retail market with premium stores like Natures Basket, Dorabjee’s, Fine Foods," she said, crediting her team of 25 members who handle the various business departments. At the core of a business like theirs, says Kakade, is being organised and being impeccably productive via tools. "We make extensive use of Google Documents and Google Spreadsheets to organize our day-to-day work and track our customer engagement," she explained.
Talking about how she took the plunge into entrepreneurship, she said everything was like a clean slate in front of her since she didn't come from a business family. "Every decision of mine was based on the thought process I learned in my daily routine. It will help if you are disciplined to achieve every small goal. Entrepreneurs work very hard to build products and services. A day should start full of positivity and happiness so that everyday hustle becomes very easy to tackle," she told SheThePeople.TV.
From investing Rs 30 lakh into the business initially to earning a profit of Rs 2.71 crore at about 11% profit last year, Rupali has learned umpteen entrepreneurial lessons along her journey. "Entrepreneurs always need to be curious about the new developments related to their products and services. Be a learner and have in-depth industry knowledge. Always value your team and provide them with a platform for growth. The most important skill set an entrepreneur must have the ability to differentiate themselves in such a way that they shall be able to influence all the stakeholders with their knowledge, behaviour and values," she explains.
Rupali also believes that entrepreneurship has to be pursued in a sustainable manner. For instance, the excess biogas released in the rearing of the animals is used to generate electricity on one of their partnered farms. "We are also supplying pesticides and fertilizers to farmers holding about 133 acres of organic farming land," she said.
The most important skill set an entrepreneur must have the ability to differentiate themselves in such a way that they shall be able to influence all the stakeholders with their knowledge, behaviour and values - Rupali Kakade
In the future, Rupali plans to expand into superfoods like yoghurts and fortified milk, milk-based bars, etc. They currently have a pilot in process for fruits and vegetables. They are trying to connect to farmers around Pune who are interested in organic farming and are already into organic farming. Another thing is that Truly Desi wants to come up with groceries and focus more on in-brand products. They are also working towards setting up a franchisee.
"Truly Desi is currently bootstrapped, and we are looking to raise INR 8-10 Crore in the next few months. We plan to expand our franchise in Mumbai city. In the long-term, our objective is to get into agro-tourism and traceability, where all our products will have a QR code. Customers can scan the QR code and receive all the details about the farm, the health and diet of the cows along with their mental health as well as details about all other products available with them," she signs off.