1. Success Story

Kerala Sisters Earn Rs. 25 Lakh per Month By Selling 'Hing'; Know Their Success Story

-Varsha, Vismaya and Vrinda Prasanth set up 3vees International in 2019 to sell asafoetida. Today, the brand sells 30 products, including curry powders and breakfast essentials and has a 20 per cent net profit.

Ayushi Raina
Three Sisters Earn Rs. 25 Lakh per Month By Selling 'Hing
Three Sisters Earn Rs. 25 Lakh per Month By Selling 'Hing

The spicy aroma of asafoetida or hing may be found in many South Indian cuisines, notably the popular Sambar. Kerala is a major consumer of this ingredient, yet the state has few large-scale manufacturing units. 

Asafoetida (Ferula asafoetida or 'hing') is a gum resin extracted from Ferula plant roots. After drying, it is utilized for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Despite the fact that it is widely produced in Afghanistan and Iran, it is usually found in Indian cuisine. It also plays a key role in Ayurveda. 

So, when MBA graduate and Kerala native Varsha Prasanth decided to start her own business, asafoetida manufacture looked unbreakable. In 2019, along with her two younger sisters, Vismaya and Vrinda launched 3vees International as a sole proprietorship. 

"My family was already in the field of business and I was confident that after finishing my education, I would start something of my own.  We examined several products that could be manufactured for our food production unit concept. Finally, we arrived at producing asafoetida,” says 26-year-old Varsha. 

A Family Enterprise 

3vees began with producing asafoetida and has now expanded to include curry powders and breakfast staples. The company's production unit is located in Kalamassery, Ernakulam. While Varsha manages the day-to-day activities, Vismaya, a Chartered Accountancy student, handles the financial preceding and Vrinda, a BBA graduate, is involved in digital marketing and social media promotion. Their parents Sarala and Prasanth, the support system of the trio, are also part of this work. 

"The firm was established as a sole proprietorship. Eventually, it was turned into a private limited business with my sisters, who are now full-time partners. We also have 30 people working in manufacturing and distribution," Varsha stated. 

This two-year-old company was started with a Mudra loan and a small capital of Rs.2 lakh. Varsha finished the training course from Piravom Agropark and visited several manufacturing units in Tamil Nadu before starting the company. 

"During the trial run, many complained about a change in the smell of asafoetida that was different from what they were used to. We swapped proportions until we got it perfect. Right now, we have relatively decent sales both directly and through e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Indiamart," added digital marketing specialist Vrinda. 

Compared to other top brands, the products of 3vees come at a lesser price. The company that started running in a small room of their rented house now owns machinery worth Rs.50 lakh. 

Furthermore, the company employs 30 women from their community. 

"Direct sales in Ernakulam and other districts like Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta brought in orders at a slow pace.  Our sales increased significantly as a result of our collaboration with Supplyco (Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation).

We began supplying products to the corporation during the 2019 floods and will continue to do so. This has enabled us to achieve a profit margin of Rs.25 lakh in the last 3 to 4 months," says Managing Director Varsha. 

Today, the brand provides masala powders such as turmericchilli, coriander, sambar, pepper and chicken with prices ranging from Rs.32 to Rs.180 for 200g. 

Their breakfast items ranging from Rs.135 to Rs.200 per kg which includes roasted rava, rice/wheat flours, and banana fig. The star product, asafetida which is available in both cake and powder form costs an average of Rs.160 per 100g. 

Despite the fact that 3vees has acquired permission to provide its goods to over 2,000 Supplyco outlets in Kerala, they have confined sales to a handful and are actively looking for distributors throughout the state. The raw ingredients used to make asafoetida are imported from Iran and Afghanistan and distributed through Mumbai-based merchants. 

"We seek to build 3vees as an international brand over the next three to four years.  As a result, a large portion of the profit is now directed into marketing," said Vismaya, who is currently pursuing her CA articleship. 

This entrepreneur trio, all in their twenties, is constructing an empire by combining responsible business methods with outstanding abilities. 

On a concluding note, Varsha says, “I urge all women to go forward with whatever they are passionate about. Of course, there are risks. But eventually, you will land at a place which is worth it.” 

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