Shauravi Malik & Meghana Narayan are founders of Slurrp Farm, a healthy snack and food brand. Meghna has experience in leading public health practice and specialized in maternal and child health. Whereas, Shauravi is an economist who has work experience in the Consumer, Healthcare and Retail sector. Today, they are woman entrepreneurs in India, managing a food brand serving 5 lakhs customers with a mission to provide healthy snack and mealtime options for young kids and their parents. Shauravi and Meghna shares with WomenpreneursOfIndia – WOI, about their business journey.
Please bring up your sons up to be like daughters. So, life is different for your daughter-in-laws. Be the change you want to see, in your own life. That can mean many things!
Before starting Slurrp Farm, Meghana led the Public Health Practice at McKinsey in India and before that, she specialized primarily on maternal and child health in london. She has served many international agencies and foundations working primarily in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and the North Eastern States. In some way, the seeds of what we do at Slurrp Farm were sown then. She also swam competitively for many years – has over 400 national medals and represented India at the Asian Games in 1998. She is an engineer by training, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Shauravi is an economist by training from St. Stephen’s College New Delhi and has a Masters in Economics from Cambridge University. She used to work in the Consumer, Healthcare and Retail M&A Advisory Team and the Leveraged Finance team at JP Morgan in London. She also did an exciting stint at Richard Branson’s family holding company in London.
We launched Slurrp Farm in October 2016 wanting to bring a positive change to the way children are eating. Our mission is to provide healthy snack and mealtime options for young children and their parents. At present, we offer a range of nutritious cereals made with organic whole grains (for toddlers), zero trans-fat cookies, millet dosas and pancakes (for everyone) and millet-based snack-packs which are extremely price affordable at just INR 20. Our products contain no added artificial colours, artificial flavours or preservatives. Our intention is to revive traditional super foods, especially the vast variety of millets available in India.
The idea initially hit us when we were working in London. Every time we would visit India; our friends with children would ask us for certain food products for their children. This request took us by surprise. We simply couldn’t believe that people would want to import food back to India. On doing some research, we found that some of the organic products that we get abroad source ingredients from India. Frankly, we couldn’t understand why there weren’t more suitable products for children in India with the ingredients we get here. Particularly traditional ingredients like Millets. We have such tremendous variety and diversity in our traditional way of eating; we just simply couldn’t understand it.
Meghana: Around the same time, Shauravi started to read up on food voraciously and watched the movie Food Inc. She then made me and everyone she knows watch it. It is the SINGLE most seminal documentary on the food sector. This sparked a journey where we started to change how we ate in our own homes. Healthier, more mindful and lots more time cooking!
And while we realised that there was definitely a gap of healthy eating options in the children’s food market in India, that is only when we had our own children that we truly understood the trials and tribulations of feeding our kids right. We spent a lot of time studying, sourcing and understanding the several problems with the food chain today. This context above of people asking us and the gaps we faced ourselves were the trigger for us to set up Slurrp Farm.
Shauravi : Both Meghana and I have been on the backend advising clients (McKinsey & JP Morgan, respectively), on how to run their companies and get funding, prior to starting Slurrp Farm. However, once we started our company, we realised that execution is the biggest challenge. It literally means going down to the brass tacks and building from Ground Zero. It is all about remaining patient. Another key challenge has been the sheer difficulty of making something you would in your own kitchen, work from a commercial and process perspective on a larger scale. It’s really hard to fix our badly broken food system, but innovation lies in simplifying.
It’s all about learning new things, stepping into a new domain and working our way up. Almost like having ten different jobs at the same time. First we had to learn about translating products from our kitchens to a manufacturing point of view. Once the products were set, we had to move onto learning retail, marketing, social media, etc. The learning never stops!
Meghana: Our first time was when we had deposited all our products at the Amazon warehouse. Shauravi and I quickly got back home and were glued to our laptop eagerly waiting for our first sale to happen. I still remember the excitement when someone in Kerala bought our first cookie, which was very exhilarating!
In terms of milestone there have been quite a few for us. We feel every year we are a new company. When we started it was just Shauravi, Meghana and Pankhuri. The year after we added one more new employee and now we are a great fun core team of 16 people. Each of these transitions has been about bringing more people into the Slurrp Farm family, each one adding in their own way.
People don’t talk about this often but we truly did climb a manufacturing mountain. Many people say, It’s easy to make but really tough to sell. But the truth is we are trying to make something different something the market hasn’t seen before. Even if it is just a cookie, but you’re actually making it at a scale with ingredients like butter, whole grain, banana, honey which are not easy to work with. It is not easy to make these at a commercial unit – we have burnt lots and lots of cookies trying to get it right. So the first time when we got out first expert on board who helped us make an outstandingly world-class product without adding any junk like Ammonia, was the moment for us. We still remember when the cookies came off the line and they looked absolutely perfect – round – smelled divine. Both Shauravi and I just sat down with tears in our eyes. That was our first special unforgettable moment.
We don’t come from traditional business families, and we have learnt a lot on the go. Meghana jokes that both our roles are really co-chaser 1 and co-chaser 2, and this is what we spend the majority of our time doing; we are both very persistent! More than Oxford, Cambridge or Harvard, we have really learnt by visiting umpteen number of organic food farmers and companies, raw materials co-operatives and vendors, food technologists, scientists, machinery and equipment manufacturers, small and large food companies, packaging vendors, food retailers, nutritionists, food labs etc! Not to mention moms and babies and yummy food all along the way! The list is really endless. And THIS journey, criss-crossing so many parts of India – villages, towns and large cities – and the food industry has been what has truly shaped our vision for Slurrp Farm.
Meghana: We are not entrepreneurs for the sake of being one. We both are super motivated and passionate about the mission of Slurrp Farm which is truly to build India’s most loved and trusted kid’s food brand. We want to take millets to the world in a form that is understandable and also yummy at the same time. It is this mission of Slurrp Farm that motivates us on day-to-day basis and probably pushes us to be entrepreneurs. And, In just about two years, Slurrp Farm is available at 600 stores across 8 cities in India, serving close to 5 lakh customers and has a 40% repeat rate on Amazon. They also sell across several other leading online platforms including BigBasket, FirstCry and BabyChakra.
Our vision for the company is to build India’s most loved food brand for children! Similar to what Hain Celestials has done globally in the food space, and with the portfolio of top-notch children’s food brands that they have invested in. We feel this last decade has seen several iconic INDIAN brands coming to life in various segments – juice, yoghurt, healthy snacking etc. and we aspire to do the same in our space.
And in 10 years we hope to have driven an inflexion or a REAL change in the healthy (and yummy!) food market. We want people on the journey with us who will back this for long term. We’re dreaming of being available on every retail shelf and in millions of kitchens, homes, and hearts! With lots of storybooks, cookbooks, and yummy food that bring the Slurrp Farm family characters to life, and tickle people palate at the same time.
When a customer holds a Slurrp Farm product in their hand – we want them to feel tremendous pride at holding a beautiful Made in India and Made for Indians product in their hands. We don’t need to import food for our children from elsewhere. Our goal is to be the best we could be in every sense. To incorporate Indian food traditions into the recipes, use the best possible ingredients, create a global brand identity, and still be priced at an Indian price point. It’s been hard work but we feel we have achieved a small measure of it, and we want to keep improving. As we scale, we know we will manage greater price efficiency, and we are looking forward to that point.
We could have not done this without a lot of help from our village. We simply cannot do it without FOUR sets of our very supportive parents and parents-in laws, who are the reason our home life functions and our children are growing up loving each day. From Aunties and uncles to cousins and friends, first and foremost, our husbands – who are the first camp that faces our absence the most. They believe in us more than we do ourselves. We are both tremendously lucky in this respect.
We see a lot of young people nowadays feel that there is this pressure to achieve your life’s legacy before you are even 30. Workforce structures need to be more adaptive to longer working lives. Because the unfortunate downside of capitalism is that in most instances both couples need to work.
Our advice would be around how to embrace kinder, gentler versions of ourselves. The feeling of your early 20s that you can do ANYTHING is exhilarating but, can be disheartening when you have a child. But know that in your 30s and 40s, if you think hard about it, in the midst of diapers, drama and teenage trauma, you would have found YOUR thing. It won’t be everything; it won’t even be what you thought it would be. But go with the flow of life. Our careers in this day and age are a mosaic of stories. It’s up to us to choose which parts of the story we want to be better at.
Lastly we would like to say, In the workforceenable younger women, be honest with them, pay women an equal wage. You will be shocked at what we see about this. Across the board from factory line worker to big corporate, women are paid less! Sometimes women make that decision, so let’s change it. See this as a profit to your employees, not a cost to your business.
Thank you Shauravi & Meghana. We hope Slurrp farm becomes the best and healthy snack option that would reach every Indian Kitchen, as you wish! We are glad to feature your entrepreneurial journey on WOI. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours. Keep Inspiring.
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