Nishita Vasanth and Priyashri Mani initiated a startup in 2015 named ‘Hoopoe on a Hill’, that processes, packages, and sells organic honey and related products online and offline.
They came to the region while they were working for a non-government organisation, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
Named after the hoopoe bird, a frequent visitor at their home in Kodaikanal, the startup offers natural and unpasteurised honey. The founding duo began with offline retail by collecting the honey from the community and storing it in a small room in their house. They hired four women from the region to help them.
Logistics may have been a challenge, but one of the biggest advantages of starting up in a small town is costs: the rentals and labour are cheaper. Priyashri says they spent approximately Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh to set up operations.
Hoopoe on a Hill currently ships its products across India from Kodaikanal.
“We began collaborating with India Post’s parcel service. It is perfect for small-town business owners who have small scale. It is reliable, reaches the length and breadth of the country, and is safe” Priyashri says.
In the near future, Hoopoe on a Hill is looking to scale operations by employing more women, and adding more products.