Radhika Tholia, the brain behind the brand, spoke to BusinessWorldDossier reporter and shared her story. The full interaction is as below:
- What was the idea and background behind starting taabartoli?
I did my graduation and MBA at Symbiosis, Pune. Thereafter I joined my family’s export business of Home décor which included furniture, floor coverings, home textile and decorative accessories. Working there gave me an opportunity to travel around the world for trade shows and gave me a lot of exposure in home related products. It also taught me that the customers around the world are moving towards eco-conscious products. Once married I joined my Husband’s business. He is also a home furnishings exporter so work wise I was pretty much doing the same except this time I got more involved in production process along with the sales and marketing side of business . Five years down the line, when our son was born, I quit work and concentrated on bringing up our son. I wanted every product for him to be organic and safe. Once my son was six months old I was looking for some bowl and plates for him to start his semi solids. Everything available in the Indian Market was in plastic. There were other baby products which were organic but nothing in the Tableware category. But having seen such products in various international trade shows, I knew I would find something abroad. So I asked my husband to look while he was travelling for work and he did find dinnerware in wood and steel for kids very easily. This is when I saw a great business opportunity in a concept which I truly believed in. And that is how Taabartoli was conceptualized. Taabartoli in Marwari means a group of kids.
- How has been the journey?
I was very nervous about starting my own business specially with a small baby I had to take care of. But my husband pushed me and helped me through the process. He knew I could not, not work and be happy. We together started a company Greenfrenco LLP ( Greenfrenco stands for Green friendly company) and under the brand name Taabartoli we starting either sourcing or producing dinnerware for kids. The planning period was one year in which I did my research and sampling of the products. In 2020 the actual journey began. I did a few kids exhibitions across India to market my products and educate my target market regarding the importance of non-toxic and eco-friendly dinnerware for Kids. And then lockdown happened. I was clueless but not scared. I used that time to reach out to online platforms who could sell my products as soon as the lockdown period ended. Somehow the lockdown helped my business gain momentum. As soon it ended, customers were buying online a lot. I have learned a lot of new things running my own business that too during the covid era when the future was uncertain and the liberty to step out and explore the markets was limited. Specially because I was pregnant with my second baby during the second lockdown. But I never stopped working. I now work with various online platforms, my own website and some retail stores in India.
- What is your vision for the brand? Diversifications into different products, new geographies etc etc
When I started Taabartoli, there were not many brands doing dinnerware for kids in wood and steel. They were mainly selling plastic dinnerware. I was told by a few friends of mine to be more aggressive and make it big before the competition enters. But I like to take baby steps, I want to think it through properly before I take a decision. For me quality of product is as important as customer service. I want to provide the best possible product so that my customer always comes back to me.
Going forward I would be adding many more categories of kids products to my product line. I am currently working on a new collection of products in the home category. However I always limit myself to a certain number of products in every category as I like to do volumes and reach out to a broader customer base. Currently I am selling all over India but I wish to sell internationally. I also want to reach out to institutions such as pre-primary schools and restaurants to buy my products. I would want Taabartoli products to be in kids retail stores.
- Your challenges
1.Biggest challenge is time management as I am a mother of 2 young kids and I want to give my best to both Taabartoli and my kids.
2. Being an entrepreneur, one needs to be in sync with all aspects of the business. It’s a constant learning process with ups and downs. Sometimes I think I cant make it but I push myself and eventually things fall into place.
3. The nature of Taabartoli products is such that I cannot produce small quantities, specially steel products. I always need to have a marketing and sales plan chalked out before I add new products as it requires a good amount of investment.
- Advice to future entrepreneurs
My advise would be to ask yourself a lot of questions before you start a new venture and you should be satisfied with the answers. For eg why would anyone buy your product or service? What is better you are offering? Do a survey and get a feedback from your target market, friends and family. Get answers from them.
Planning is very important. Take as much time as required to chalk out your business plan. Every aspect of the business should be well researched. Take help from professional business coaches if you can.
Be mentally prepared for failures, ups and downs. Slow down if your business is not doing well but don’t give up. Every problem has a solution.
Build a good team. Don’t try to do every thing yourself. Outsource aspects of the business which you can’t handle but can be easily outsourced.
For more details about the brands, please log into https://www.taabartoli.com/