26 Oct 1998 5:45 am : Wadakanchery, Thrissur, Kerala
The earthy fragrance of cow dung is slowly spreading in to the house. Kolam (Rangoli), can be seen on top of the base made with cow dung. The flame on the lamp near Tulsi plant is slowly swaying to the tune of the wind. The house is silent except that there is lot of action happening in the kitchen.
Parvathy Ammal is busy preparing the food but is restless & keeps looking at Ajanta clock hanging inside the kitchen & can be heard murmuring to herself “It is 5:50 now & still no clue or did i miss listening to the bell ?”. Tring tring , tring tring, the bell of Milkman Ramesh’s cycle brought a wide smile on to Parvathy Ammal’s face. She, in her 70s, literally runs with a big steel vessel in her hand towards the entrance of the house. “Rameshaa, today i will need 2 liters of milk”. Ramesh replied “Doctor’s house already took the extra milk”. She quickly responded “Ramesh, I have a special function today and i really need the extra liter of milk. I will prepare payasam and maybe you can taste it on your way back home”. Ramesh could not resist this offer & poured extra milk to the steel vessel in her hands.
23 Sep 2019 Pataudi, Haryana
Durlabh Rawat , a mechanical engineer, is busy taking care of his Cows (oh yes not Cars) in his farm located at Pataudi, Haryana & making sure that the Milk delivery schedule for the next day is planned well. He also checks if anyone has placed order for extra milk.
Durlabh , the founder of Barosi brand of milk, is helping customers in Gurgaon to experience this special “Earthy, Good Food” feeling.
I was wondering what a mechanical engineer is doing in an animal farm. This made me scout and connect with this new age ‘Farmer’.
“One of my favourite activity is to travel, trek and meet farmers in different parts of India” said Durlabh. He has seen and experienced the rural and urban lifestyle of India. He was born and brought up in Dayanatpur, a small village in Uttar Pradesh & spent considerable amount of his corporate life in Delhi working as part of the Customer Care & Channel Sales team of one of the major Automobile companies in India.
“I wanted to start something which helps me to connect back to the basics. Now my idea has evolved where at one end we procure fresh, pure and authentic produce from farmers & at the other end consumer is getting best quality daily food essentials like Milk, Honey, Ghee, Jaggery, Flour & Fruits. ” says Durlabh as he goes through the contract he has signed with a corporate to supply regular Milk.
Durlabh started the brand “Barosi” in 2016 and in the last 3 years this Dairy Farm ‘Startup’ , catering to Gurgaon market, has grown from 200 to 900 customers. The brand name was initially “Milch” but due to trademark issues, had to be changed and decided upon the name ‘Barosi”.
The ‘MasterChefs’ at home are very choosy about the brand of milk they consume and normally the same brand has been used in households for years or rather decades. Durlabh mentioned that this was one of the main focus areas for them “Milk is the entry door to any kitchen and it is not easy to gain that trust”.
The market place is changing drastically & needs of people are also getting altered regularly. When a kid is born in the family, one of the main points discussed in length is about the brand of milk to be given to the new born. Apart from this, there are lot of office goers & students staying in and around Delhi, NCR area who want a stress free delivery of milk as per their requirements – a customized solution. This gave brands like Barosi a chance to interact with the prospects & explain the benefits of their offering which are in line with the nutrient value expectations & ease of ordering as well as customization.
It is a daunting task to go door to door & explain about brand USPs. So the initial growth of Barosi was slow as the focus was mainly on acquiring customers through offline subscriptions. It reached a stage at which Durlabh felt that the business is not sustainable & he might have to get back to his corporate life.
Durlabh was fortunate enough to meet Suhas Misra, one of the founders of PaperBoat (the beverage brand which took away the shelf space of major brands).
It is crucial to have a right mentor at each point of your life. Bill Campbell was one of the longest serving director on Apple’s board and mentored Steve Jobs.
“Suhas has guided us strategically. His wisdom about FMCG brands has helped us in each step of our journey. Going Offline to Online was one of them which has played a crucial role in our last one year’s growth journey.” said Durlabh about the importance of mentorship. In the last one year, Barosi has almost 90% of new customers subscribing through the online platform. If it was not for Suhas’s timely help, Barosi might not have survived its early days.
Barosi has now started excelling their Social Media communication with interesting creatives.
“You take care of the team and they will do wonders for you” says Durlabh. One of the reasons why the farmers are happy to work with Barosi is because of the premium they get for their products. Durlabh makes sure that they are paid higher than the prevailing market rates & also helps them with the required handholding to prosper as a farmer.
“We are now into Milk, Jaggery, Flour and Ghee. Our aim is to increase our customer subscriptions and also to enhance our per kitchen market share” said Durlabh when we were discussing about the plans of Barosi. He has quickly learned the art of running a startup and targeting market shares.
“4 years back there were 30-35 similar startups in our area & currently only but 7-8 of them are performing well” said Durlabh, emphasising on getting the business model right. But he is happy that there is competition in the market for such type of farm fresh products. As per him, this helps in educating the customers easily as each brand is talking about similar concept.
“We are having an annual revenue of more than 2.5 Cr INR and operate on a positive EBITDA”. Durlabh’s IIM Lucknow General Management degree, which he had completed 8 years back, is now coming into use while talking about balance sheet.
Durlabh feels fortunate enough to work in a startup environment. “Startup ecosystem is agile, frugal and gives opportunity to handle different challenges. At the end of the day, it helps in becoming a better person every day“
They currently have a webapp (& have plans to launch a mobile App soon) through which customers can register, login and plan their milk & other offerings from Barosi. Customer can set the frequency of delivery as per their requirements.
Barosi believes in trust and they have a no questions asked return and refund policy. Durlabh concludes by saying that ‘Customer believes in our brand and we believe our customer’.
It is all about Trust. Durlabh’s parents and his wife trusted his idea and supported him. This has helped him to build a complete ecosystem of ‘Barosi’ trust.
2 Oct 2019 Barosi Office in the midst of greenery 🙂
Barosi has tied up with O’Right , an INSEAD Alumni initiative startup last week who are using IoT (Internet of Things) devices to track various factors that affect the quality of the milk. This will be used to track purity & customers will be able to get the nutrition details of the milk delivered to them on a regular basis.
FarmBox, the new offering from Barosi is getting launched today. Customized Box filled with fresh farm fruits delivered at your doorstep. Customer can order 3kg or 6kg & set the frequency as needed – weekly/fortnightly or on order basis. Plans are in pipeline to offern vegetables as well shortly.
The brand Barosi and their Earthy, Good Food will be expanding in the next 2 years to Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh & Ahmedabad.
It always gives a rustic feel when you think about farms and fresh milk. I am glad to meet people like Durlabh who have ‘passionately’ decided to go back to the basics & are happy with the ‘Small Joys of Life’
The story of Barosi took me to those days when my grand mother, Parvathy Ammal, used to eagerly wait for milkman Ramesh’s cycle bell 🙂
This is part of the series : VJCV’s Filter Coffee PAC talks. An open chat with People who focus on ‘Passion Attitude Curiosity’.