The origin of Diwali stems from celebrations that would occur to mark the last harvest before winter. In Indian agricultural society, as the end of the financial year would near, people would close their accounting books and seek the divine blessing of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, praying for success in the new financial year – something small business owners of all creeds and cultures can relate to! Diwali is observed and celebrated in many different ways all over the world but one thing that ties all those celebrations together is food, something one of our customers exudes passion for.
In celebrating Diwali this year, we wanted to take the opportunity shine a light on one our New Zealand-based customers – and the latest recipient of the NZ BizGiver Grant – Kavita Anand.
Earlier this year, Kavita made the life-changing decision to start her own business – Kavita’s Kitchen NZ. Family-owned and based in Wellington, Kavita credits the authenticity of her products to her deep Asian heritage, coupled with her broad experiences from living in Singapore, Malaysia, India and Switzerland.
Kavita started her business for the simple reason of wanting to help her friends and other families create authentic, tasty and easy to make Asian-inspired healthy and lavish meals. Kavita does this by providing affordable, authentic and completely natural, handmade curry pastes.
Boasting a huge level of versatility, the pastes, of which there are 3 flavours – Tantalizing Madras Fusion, Beyond Butter Chicken and Sensational Rogan Josh – can be used to make a curry, stir fry, slow cook, oven bake or BBQ; or even as a decadent spread to accompany a glass of wine – she promises not to tell if you don’t. Above all else, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or non-vegetarian – they are entirely plant-based and suitable for everyone.
The inspiration to start the business stemmed from trying to come up with a solution to the struggle that most families face – trying to cook a healthy meal for everyone after a long day that didn’t take hours of preparation.
“When I started cooking meals for my family, I faced the same challenges that all families face every day! Healthy meals were time-consuming and messy, especially after a long day at work and running around the kids. There had to be another way. How could Grandma cook for 20 people in under 30 minutes?”
Kavita recalled the lifehack her Grandma used to feed dozens of people with little warning of them dropping by – there was always some curry paste in the freezer. She decided to replicate her Grandma’s methods and got to work.
Using quality, curated and natural ingredients, Kavita roasted spices, slow-cooked and hand-stirred a collection of curry pastes, designed to keep. Perfect for a quick weekday meal, a family get together or even to complement your Diwali celebrations.
“Soon, my dinners became exotic. I was serving healthy, delicious and quick meals. Less mess and time in the kitchen meant more quality family time over the dining table.
My kids even began eating veggies and now can cook a mean curry too! It showed me that happy, healthy bellies constitute a wholesome, content family.”
Kavita had been contemplating how to grow her business further. When she saw that BizCover run a competition twice a year giving small businesses the chance to win $2000 to go towards growing their business, she jumped at the opportunity.
Kavita had her wish of a new grand chiller, large commercial pots and a can opener, granted as a result of her winning the competition.
“The larger pots will mean I can double my batch; the new can opener will cure sore fingers and hands and the grand chiller will hold more products.”
The life of a small business owner can be incredibly stressful, but it’s important to remember and reflect on why you started your own business to begin with. For Kavita, she enjoys the freedom and autonomy that comes with working for herself. It also helps that she is a self-professed, “die-hard foodie” and finds immense joy when friends and family are elated to use her products to create a great meal in minutes.
Despite her business still being in its infancy, Kavita has ambitious plans for her curry pastes. The first being that she hopes to have them available across all of New Zealand by the middle of 2020. A bit further down the track her aim is to have her existing products ready for international export, starting initially with Australia, Malaysia and the Middle East. Her ultimate goal however, is to launch her line of products on Amazon.
Like any small business owner, the path to success is paved with challenges. Currently, Kavita must contend with the fact that because her products use 100% fresh ingredients and must be kept chilled, distribution required chilled transporters.
“For now, it’s not possible to engage them as they expect much larger volumes from me which leaves me no other option except to use cool packaging and overnight couriers. This is a very expensive endeavour at the moment.”
Things will hopefully improve for Kavita in this area as winning the grant will allow her to increase her production capacity and have better systems in place. Additionally, with a bigger output, Kavita will have the opportunity to approach supermarket chains and other distributors in the pursuit of making her pastes available in more places.
As for Kavita’s biggest achievement, she said it was undoubtedly having her products be stocked at the prestigious, artisan store, Moore Wilsons, in Wellington. Have you got business insurance to start your own business?
“They believed in me and found my products to be delicious! The owner, David, said he loved dealing with someone who has dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s!”
Visit Kavita’s Kitchen NZ Website: https://kavitaskitchen.co.nz
Like Kavita’s Kitchen NZ on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kavitaskitchennz/
Follow Kavita’s Kitchen NZ on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kavita_kitchen
Connect with Kavita’s Kitchen NZ on LinkedIn: https://nz.linkedin.com/in/kavitas-kitchen-nz