BENGALURU: What started as just an entrepreneurial activity in college became a startup. While studying PG diploma in management in a college in Mysuru in 2013, Sandip Chakraborty saw his friend learning how to make chocolate. “It was a lucky coincidence. The college was starting an entrepreneurial cell for which we had to come up with an idea,” says Sandip. “My friend Gaurav Kumar and I decided to make chocolates. We got the basic equipment to start and used the refrigerator in the college mess for storage. The director of the college was also very supportive. That’s how it all began.”
But after running it for a year in the college, they started working in the corporate for a while to gather information about the chocolate market in the city and get the necessary equipment. Sandip took up a job in operations at an e-commerce company and his friend Gaurav took up a sales job for an e-recruitment company.
“It took more than a year to get a place and find equipment,” says Sandip. “Even after finding a place, we could not leave the job immediately because we had to decide the model we want to work on and the services we would like to offer. A year ago, everything fell into place.”
During the market study, they realised that consumption of chocolates in India has increased and has become part of our food culture. Also, there are lots of varieties available in the market. “There is no shortage of places from where you can buy chocolates. But none of them did customisation. Taste is a personal thing. So, we decided to experiment with it and started Mishti Chocolates.”
The duo started with the basic offering which includes the choice for a base, flavours and the ingredients. One can choose either a dark, white or milk chocolate for the base. There are flavours such as orange, strawberry or vanilla as add-ons and the dry fruits as ingredients.
Early this year, they introduced spicy chocolates. Sandip says majority of the people are conservative when it comes to experimenting with new varieties, but curiosity has driven several people to this category of chocolates. “It will take some time for the people to accept it. There aren’t too many orders coming in for this one.” he says.
One can also choose a truffle with peanut butter filling and customise with the choice of base and spicy chocolates. “We are planning to come up with more options for truffles. In a month or two, we will have jam-filled truffles.”
The customised chocolates are home-delivered. After you make the payment, it takes about two to three days to prepare the chocolates. “We courier them. If it a local order, it reaches soon. It would take a day more if the order has been placed from the other parts of Karnataka. We get orders from Chennai too sometimes. So, orders for outside Karnataka take about five days from the time order for the delivery.”
The chocolates are available on a unit basis and one has to order minimum of ten units. Not all the units need to be of same flavour. Sandip says, “You can order say five of same flavour and rest can be different.”