How a Housewife Built a Multi-Crore Business Starting with Zero-Investment
From being a housewife to owning multiple businesses, chef and author Nita Mehta’s 36-year-old career has been truly remarkable.
“Change is a necessity, and we must be a step ahead of the times for success to embrace us,” says Nita, whose success has been due to her ability to change in keeping with the need of the hour.
It is this very ability to move with the times that made Nita start cooking classes in 1982. Her husband’s medicine business was going downhill, and she decided to chip in with whatever little she could do.
Inspired by her mother, who was a great cook, she started on a journey that would change her life forever.
Her classes were on ice creams. Nirula’s 21 flavours range was new in the market and a big hit then, and Nita knew people would be keen to make them at home. She tried all the flavours and perfected recreating them.
“My kids were grown up and didn’t need me as much as earlier,” says Nita. “I started the classes at home with zero investment as all the required amenities were already available.”
Once she started, her students wanted to learn more. She again hit the restaurants to figure out the best recipes to teach.
“I even attended some cookery classes and found them boring and ensured that my classes will not be like those,” she laughs.
Her classes focused on the joy of cooking and learning fine art. “Instead of wasting time noting down recipes, I gave handouts to them,” she explains. “The students enjoyed the classes, as they cooked and socialized and enjoyed the food. Charging only about 15 per cent extra compared to other classes, I ensured each student became confident about their cooking skills.”
Since the recipes were tried and tested, there was no scope for failure. She generously gave tips and hints that helped students beyond their expectations.
Encouraged by her popularity and some publisher friends, she started writing her first Cookbook in 1992, Vegetarian Wonders. However, once she finished, she couldn’t find a publisher.
“My husband encouraged me to break my fixed deposits, and I self-published it,” she says, “a radical thought at that time.”
The book sold only 3,000 copies that year. She expected it to be a bigger success because her classes were always so popular.
“I pondered the reasons for this and figured I wasn’t offering anything new to the readers,” says Nita. “I had subconsciously written a book in a style and format that had been done to death.” So, for her next self-published book, Paneer All the Way, she went for a smaller size and made it a handy booklet. It had Indian, Chinese, and Continental recipes with Paneer and even desserts, like paneer kheer.
“With this niche subject, once the book came out, it flew off the shelves,” says Nita. It sold 3,000 copies within the first week, and there were pre-orders for more. After hitting the mantra for a successful cookbook, there was no looking back. She went on to write about 400 cookbooks selling over 10 million copies. Her book Flavours of Indian Cooking went on to win the World Cook Book Fair Award in Paris in 1997.
A smart business person realizes the potential of a new venture at the right time. “Somewhere while getting my books published, I realized it would be a good idea to start my own publishing house, as this will mean better profits,” shares Nita.
Keeping with times, she has now launched www.cookflix.in. An online platform where all the cooking content is available in digital format, www.cookflix.in is home to all the food enthusiasts searching for recipes and cooking content. The website contains very detailed Video Recipes for various national and International cuisines, which is great for people who love to make multi-cuisine foods and have a knack for experimenting with different cuisine. From amateur to professional chefs, the website is beneficial for everyone.
The videos on the website are categorized, with every recipe added to its ethnicity or cuisine section for the convenience of the people checking the website. This helps you to quickly choose the video you are looking for without dwelling around the website for too long.
Tried and trusted recipes with hours of cooking content updated daily, the website is a great source to learn cooking. Also, the website contains the PDF of recipes and class recording videos, and Chef Nita Mehta herself clears all the questions and doubts. The videos are so detailed and personalized that you would feel like Chef Nita Mehta is Personally teaching you.
In 2016, Nita started her range of spices, Nita Mehta Spices. She took inputs from food technologists and added her expertise. “I have never used readymade masalas and always prefer grinding and mixing my spices,” says Nita, “but I figured everybody can’t do this tedious task all the time. My range of masalas has the same ingredients that I use at home. They bring out the essence of each recipe.” It took a team of about 20 core members a year to lock in on the packaging design and to set up the plant. Her quality control team oversees various processes and ensures that the spices retain their freshness in packing.
Her son, Anurag Mehta, who helms the marketing and logistics of the Nita Mehta brand, is her pillar of support.
Besides Spices, Nita Mehta has come out with her range of Pickles, Seasonings, Soya Chunks, Oats & many other products.
“Our future plans are to increase our range of food products and also strengthening our online food content creation platform Cookflix.in,” says Nita Mehta. “Our mission is to build an Omni-channel brand of food products for the millions of homemakers who strive for excellence in cooking,” says Anurag Mehta, CEO of Nita Mehta Foods.