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Gujju Ben Na Nasta: Story of a 77 Year Old Rock Solid Daadi!

Meet 77-year-old Urmila Jamnadas Asher, who, with her grandson Harsh, runs the Mumbai-based Gujarati snacks startup “Gujju Ben Na Nasta,” which sells pickles, thepla, dhokla, puran poli, halwa, sabudana khichdi, farali pattice, and a variety of other delectable Gujarati dishes.

How & When did it all start?

Dadi started her business at 77 to bury life full of misfortune, struggle, and pain. Her daughter passed away when she was two and a half years old after falling from a building. Years later, she also lost her two sons, one to a brain tumour and the other to a heart condition. Urmila was a rock in these trying times, inspiring her family members not to give up. Harsh, her grandson, was all she had at the time.

Unfortunately then, Harsh met with an accident in 2019 in which he lost his upper lip which left him scarred. After undergoing surgery, Harsh faced an identity crisis. He refused to go outside. The man who was responsible for financially supporting his family went into depression. Everything came to an abrupt halt. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his company lost money in 2020. He had to close his business by February 2020.

Urmila once again became the family’s pillar. “I told him he’d only lost his upper lip and business, whereas I’d lost three children and was still standing.” “I assured him that I would give him my full support,” Urmila says. Every tragedy in this 77-year-life old’s strengthened her and inspired her to do more for her family.

Drive Force behind the Venture!

Harsh had the idea in March 2020 while his grandmother was preparing pickles. Urmila is passionate about Gujarati pickles. He asked if she could make it in bulk and suggested that they could advertise it on social media platforms to see how potential customers would respond. The vivacious daadi thought it was a brilliant idea. Harsh took a photo of his grandmother’s pickle and shared it on social media. And BOOM! The pickles were a big hit!

Within two months, they expanded their Gujarati snack collection as demand increased. “My friends and close acquaintances had always liked the food my grandmother made,” Harsh explained. But I had no idea how many people would go crazy over it. We sold 500 kilos of pickles and began offering additional snacks.” Urmila and Harsh gradually began “Gujju Ben Na Nasta” to help them get back on their feet. As the business began to thrive, they converted the partner shop next to their house and set it up to sell their products.

Meet Team Gujju Ben

Urmila ran the kitchen and rolled out dishes while Harsh’s mother and other friends assisted with packaging and order management. Her staff consists of two kitchen assistants and two delivery men. Harsh handles the accounting and other aspects of the business. Urmila’s daughters-in-law both contribute to her work. Urmila works 14 hours a day, seven days a week. She arrives at 7 a.m. and leaves at 9 p.m., after all, orders have been completed. And you know what, Daadi herself checks the quality and packaging. She makes sure that everything is perfect.

Gujju Ben Nasta’s Profit Margin

The business now generates monthly revenue of 3 lakh. But a large portion of their income goes toward rent, salaries, and commissions to food delivery platforms. They get around Rs 90,000, which is spent on raw materials and family. They say at present they have fewer profits and in the future wishes to open vegetarian outlets in airports across India.

Urmila doesn’t have any idea how much the business earns. She says her job is to prepare fresh, high-quality food for the customers. Cooking is her passion, and even after spending more than 12 hours in the kitchen, she doesn’t get tired.

We have always seen it’s the grandchildren who help grandparents learn new things, but here, the grandmother is making a career for her grandson. Urmila is the perfect example of the proverb, ” Age is just a number” she has only two clear-cut rules, one – she should make enough to run the house smoothly. Furthermore, people should enjoy the food she prepares. Her prize is that people enjoy her food.

What an inspiring, unbreakable lady! Isn’t she?

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