“Every day is a new learning experience which teaches you something that you didn’t know yesterday”
For all those sweet meat lovers in Mumbai, here’s something to pamper your sweet tooth. With My Mithaiwala, you can browse through a wide variety of sweets and pick out your favorite guilty pleasures and the best part of it being you can sit back, relax and get it home delivered with just a click of a button.
IndiaSpark had an interactive session with Om Pathre who looks after Marketing & Communications and handles advertising, promotions, PR for the company. Here are a few excerpts:
1. Tell us about your background before My Mithaiwala. Share with us briefly about your entrepreneurial journey and inception of My Mithaiwala.
We are a team of five founders. All of us are alumni of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. We’ve known each other since college and always have been working together in organizing various college activities, events and fests. After graduation, all of us had got our jobs in our respective domains, but always wanted to do something different than the main stream 9-5 jobs and start a venture of our own.
After brainstorming for quite a lot of time, Siddhant, who is also the CEO came up with a thought of starting-up something in the food industry and we then chose the niche segment of sweets and Indian traditional sweet shops since no one had tapped that segment as a niche market. And that’s how the idea of My Mithaiwala came into existence.
We started working on this idea from around June 2015 and started approaching people we knew who could help us get this started. This was a weekend thing for us back them because all of us had our regular jobs. Then eventually we started approaching sweet shops and pitched our idea to them. Meanwhile, we also started working on our website since our product was going to be a tech-heavy product. And when we realized that this was more than just an idea on paper, and would actually work out if we gave in our 100 percent efforts, we decided to quit our jobs.
The website www.mymithaiwala.com was launched on 13th December, 2015.
2. What is My Mithaiwala all about? Tell us in detail about the services offered?
My Mithaiwala is an online marketplace for Indian traditional sweet shops. It aims to provide a unique online identity to classical sweet shops and create a platform which is an on-demand one-stop-shop for all sweets and snacks.
My Mithaiwala enhances customer experience by offering a diverse range of sweets and snacks from prominent sweet shops around the city and delivering them real-time to the customer’s doorstep. It manages its own delivery logistics to ensure speedy delivery of the sweet parcels.
The aim of My Mithaiwala is to cater to all sweet cravings of the customers and deliver their favorite sweets to their doorstep as quickly as possible.
3. What is your competition in the market? What is it that sets you apart from your competition?
We don’t see any direct competitors in our domain who provide a unique online presence to sweet shops and deliver their products on a real-time basis. However, Foodpanda, Swiggy and Zomato are some of our indirect competitors in the near future.
Foodpanda and Swiggy being partially in our domain of sweet shops marketplace and Zomato being the restaurant search platform also has few sweet shops listed on their website.
However, My Mithaiwala is not only an online marketplace but a niche product for Indian traditional sweet shops, catering to a segment that was not completely captured and given a unique online presence and supports their logistics.
We are different from Foodpanda and Swiggy in terms of our dedicated platform for sweet shops and also our in house delivery service that we provide to these sweet shops. My Mithaiwala also wishes to enter the domain of bakeries (ex : cake shops), snacks and also kick off international deliveries & B2B services of sweets.
4. What is the business model of My Mithaiwala? Can you briefly summarize the growth achieved in both volume and value from the day1 till now?
My Mithaiwala works on a commission based model with the sweet shops, where a fixed percentage of the shop’s profit margin is given to My Mithaiwala on per order cost basis.
Up to end of May, My Mithaiwala has got over 6,000 unique visitors on the website, successfully completed over 600 orders and has achieved a Gross Merchandise Value(GMV) of Rs.3,00,000/-
5. How has been your beginner’s journey? What were the challenges you faced in setting up and scaling up your enterprise? Any hurdle that you faced or still facing?
The journey has been quite exciting, as well as challenging. It’s been almost six months now since the website was launched and we are getting.
The idea that we are working on is quite unique. No one has sold or bought sweets online till now as a real-time, hyper-local, on demand service and so both, the shops as well as the customers are not accustomed to this entire concept of e-commerce in the traditional sweets sector. Hence, making the customers and the shop owners believe that something like this is really possible was our biggest challenge.
The next and also one of the most important challenges is the finance that’s required to run this entire venture. My Mithaiwala is currently a completely bootstrapped start up and is functioning only on the savings that the five of us have made while we were working. Although we are looking for investment in the near future, sustaining the idea and bringing it to existence was a tough task considering the amount of funds available with us. There are a lot of recurring expenses we have to bear ranging from the office expenses, to the delivery costs, to the marketing expenditure etc. So the challenge here for now is to communicate our product and deliver the best service to the maximum number of people with the limited resources that we have.
Building a logistical system which will take care of all the deliveries is also a challenge. To understand the entire logistics setup and process, and where we need to be extra cautious to get things right, we decided to run the deliveries and deliver the products ourselves in these first few months. We believe that only when we’ll know how it actually works and where things could go wrong, we could accordingly building our logistic system for the future to ensure smooth and stable operations.
6. Can you tell us about your other founders/core team, their background and rich experience?
My Mithaiwala is a startup founded by five alumni students of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. All the founders are from various educational backgrounds like IT, Statistcs, Arts, and Mass Media. After working for over 8-10 months in recognized companies post graduation, we decided to leave our jobs and give their 100 percent for this venture. At the young age of 21-22 years, the team has is determined to build a portal which will satisfy consumer’s sweet cravings in just a few clicks!
The major job roles have been split among the founders based on their knowledge specialties. Siddhant is the CEO of the company and handles Business Expansion and Development. Deepak looks after Business Management & Sales, and is looking after the fundraising process. Om looks after Marketing & Communications and handles advertising, promotions, PR etc for the company. Naresh heads IT & Product Development and is the backbone of the website and the entire tech-product. Ajinkya handles Operations for the company.
7. Any other areas or initiatives that you plan to venture in future?
My Mithaiwala’s vision is to organize the sweets industry by serving both sides of the market. The portal will provide a uniform platform for all shops to display and promote their specialties at one place to its potential customers. One the other hand, it will allow the customers to buy their favorite sweets and snack products from any shop and get it home delivered with ease. Thus, the aim is to overcome all the geographical and logistical limitations for the shops and the customers, and facilitate easy commerce between the two.
Once this is achieved, we aim to take the one-stop shop concept to a retail level in the future, where we bring the best sweets from all famous shops under one roof at premium locations like airports, shopping malls etc. We also plan to take Indian traditional sweets on international shelves after a detailed R&D on increasing shelf-life of these sweets.
8. What will My mithaiwala look like in 10 years from now? All perspectives – people, business, revenues, team, size or anything you foresee for the venture.
Predicting the status after 10 years looks quite difficult, since it’s a very long time from now. However, our ultimate goal is to be a marketplace for all quality sweets shops throughout India, provide them a unique online platform, bring all shops under one roof and acquire a major chunk of the sweets industry.
9. Any experience or advice you would like to share with soon to be start-up founders out there?
Every day is a new learning experience which teaches you something that you didn’t know yesterday. The amount of learning that you do in this entire journey is not possible through any course or institution. Patience, perseverance and believing in yourself is very important to keep you going through the challenges you face as a founder in a startup.
IndiaSpark was indeed obliged to have been able to interview Mr. Om Pathre. We would like to thank him for his time and cooperation. Your ideas and suggestions have truly enriched us and readers.
Wishing you all the very best for your future endeavors!