Here's What Made Me Start A Dairy-Free Ice Cream Business
Embodying the #TakeCharge spirit, Sonal saw an opportunity instead of getting disheartened by the lack of dairy-free substitutes for her diet. Sonal, the Founder of WhiteCub, which won the Govt of India’s Grant of Excellence Award for her venture, took the road less travelled, and that has made all the difference. She shares with SHEROES her journey so far.
Leaving The Microscope Behind
Having been a Gold Medalist and an MSc Anthropology from the University of Delhi, I had never imagined myself starting a business during my college days.
Somewhere along the line, I quit the intake of dairy products. That’s when I realised the potential that this held because of the huge gap between demand and supply in the market. Since no one else was taking up the task, I decided to make the beginnings myself.
My Stepping Up Moment
Many people avoid consuming dairy due to multiple reasons - ethics, environment conservation (due to being derived from animals, dairy production entails much more natural resources) and health issues. Doctors advise many of us to quit dairy due to dairy allergy/lactose intolerance or cholesterol problems, etc. However, having been living in a society where dairy products are an important part of our daily routine, we need alternatives of dairy products to make the switch.
Realising this, I decided to step up and set up WhiteCub, a dairy-free ice-cream business.
Traversing The Road Not Taken
Challenges in my personal space existed rather prominently before I started WhiteCub. Those endless nights of blankly thinking through about what to do, spilling over of resultant mood swings onto my husband and then retaining the ability to calmly take decisions. But, I knew I had to do this in an extremely professional manner from day one. So I began the journey by getting the company registered.
We, as a company, had to set up our own production plant for this – to maintain our self-reliance and to steer away from cases of cross contamination. I always take special care of the latter since many of our customers have food allergies.
The Positive Market Response
While I started by having our own parlour in one of the high-end markets of Gurgaon, as demands rose and requests started coming from retail stores as well, I decided it was time to start focussing only on production and supply. Since then, I have modified our offerings into FMCG product line - WhiteCub in 500 ml tubs in 10 flavours in different retail stores.
Catering to high-end marriages has also been a focus area, primarily because our vegan icecreams are a niche product themselves and we are able to customize as per clients’ requests (due to having our own production facility).
Some of our related work has been duly recognized in the past by major publications such as Economic Times and Femina magazine.
To Be Or Not To Be
Even the best of wood does not get well polished unless initially scrubbed by the rough and gritty sandpaper. Being a mom, one challenge is about my time allocation to my kids when they come home twice a year from boarding school.
There are some mothers of boarding school students who have specifically not taken up high profile jobs precisely due to this reason – they want to be around their kids when they return home during holidays. I respect them a lot for having taken such a decision.
I still maintain that India is, to a great extent, what it is because of the role homemaker women are able to play at the front of home and kids. However, I know the universe wanted me to do exactly what I am doing. Afterall, no one can really ‘have it all’. Some challenges should remain in one’s life. Food gets boring if it’s all desserts and no spice!"
Sonal built a door for the opportunity to knock and you can too!
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M*****Point taken. The headline is recalibrated!
L*****That's a valid point Shikha....
*****who hates milk. i love milk. i love cows. infact vegans avoid milk because they respect the need of cow's baby. they know its calve's right to have milk from mother cow. hate is a strongly negative word. and on the other hand those who HATE milk are not necessarily vegans. they have honey, eggs, etc.