Millions of people live their whole life following the path of others who have succeeded. Very few people dare to break down the boundaries set by their predecessors and carve their own path.
Bengaluru-based entrepreneurs and sisters Anindita and Suhasini Sampath fall in the latter category.
When the co-founders of Yoga Bar, the packaged healthy food brand, were in their initial days of setting up the business, people negated the idea of selling snacks with natural and healthy ingredients.
Eight years later, the sister-founders have not only created a Rs. 200 crore business, but they also gave impetus to the non-existent healthy packaged food segment.
Let’s see how it all started.
Challenging the norm
The idea to start a healthy packaged food company originated in a rather whimsical fashion.
In 2012, when Anindita and Suhasini were picking up health bars from a store opposite their yoga studio in New York, Anindita said, “If I ever started a company like this, I would call it Yoga Bar.”
The sisters loved the idea so much that they trademarked the name and started charting out the plan for their company. After two years of intense planning and carefully deciding the ingredients they would use, the sisters launched Yoga Bar in 2014.
“At that point, there were no healthy packaged food products available in India. That was our motivation to start Yoga Bar – to change India’s eating habits. We wanted to work on something that was deeply rooted for every individual and food seemed like the perfect fit,” Suhasini Sampath, co-founder of Yoga Bar, told Paytm for Business.
However, the challenge for them was to convince retail chains and kirana store owners to stock the Yoga Bars. Retailers were convinced that no one would buy a packaged food that claims to be healthy.
Suhasini said, “When we started Yoga Bar, most retailers told us, ‘India mein tasty bikta hai, healthy kahaan bikta hai.’ Retailers’ business thesis is very simple, they can only stock products that have moderate to high demand. And we were selling a product that didn’t even have a category of its own.”
Having finished their MBA from esteemed colleges and years of working experience had taught both the sisters that this obstacle was just a learning curve.
Coincidentally, while they were breaking their brains over this, marathons and cycling clubs had started getting popular in India, which meant a demand for healthy snacks could be created.
“As people started caring about their overall fitness, healthy food went seamlessly with that theme,” she said.
Over the years, the sisters kept their heads down and focused on adding more products to the Yoga Bar portfolio and expanding the business. In the last two years, Suhasini said, the company has been on a hockey-stick growth sprint.
Makers of all things healthy
Both the sisters have an insatiable hunger to grow as they always aim to become a better version of themselves. This reflects in the way they are building Yoga Bar as well.
From not being able to store their products in retail stores to having partnered with 6,000 retail stores in the country, Anindita and Suhasini have not only overcome a big hurdle but are the pioneers who created the healthy snacks category.
But they are not done yet. In the coming years, they aim to expand to 60,000 stores.
Additionally, they also want to grow their e-commerce platform. “Now that we have a large portfolio of products catered to both adults and kids, it makes sense for us to grow our online D2C brand,” Suhasini said.
Why Yoga Bar trusts Paytm Payment Gateway
When it comes to accepting online payments on their e-commerce portal, Suhasini and Anindita trust no one but Paytm Payment Gateway.
“We saw that a lot of other payment gateways had this issue of payment going through but the order not being created. Paytm claimed to have a low failure rate which is why we integrated with Paytm to begin our website. Paytm has been consistent with its claims throughout,” Suhasini said.
Ever since Yoga Bar integrated with Paytm Payment Gateway, there has never been an issue with payments.
“Settlements have been happening automatically without us needing to intervene at any point in time. It’s pretty seamless, to be honest.”
As Yoga Bar doubles down on growing its D2C channel, it has started using Paytm Mini Apps, which provides them with a native app-like experience for users within the entire web infrastructure.
Paytm Payment Gateway is delighted to be working with entrepreneurs like Anindita and Suhasini.
On asking what would be their advice to fellow entrepreneurs and youngsters who wish to start a company one day, Suhasini said: “One has to try. That is the crux of building things. If you don’t try you won’t know what you can or can’t do. Trying is very important. People should always give it a shot. Because having tried means having no regrets.”
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