Many women opt for conventional careers without realising that they can do wonders in the business world and address its risks, challenges and successes whereas some women believe that being an entrepreneur would be a part of their destiny. Entrepreneurs are born, not made.
Such an example is Swati Chugh, the director of 7th Heaven, a popular chain of dessert stores across India.
Decision to step into a job
After completing her master’s in psychology from Jai Hind College, Mumbai, she decided to take up teaching. After she got married, she joined Delhi Public School as a teacher and then thought of helping her husband Arjun in his dessert business called 7th Heaven.
Inception of entrepreneurship
They were blessed in many ways. In 2013, the startup was established as a part of Kitchen Fragrances India LLP. Then a year later, in 2014, it became a franchise model. In terms of traditional and trendy concept, 7th Heaven has grown up quickly in the retail space with more than 150 stores in over 75 cities and 21 states.
Swati expressed “The F&B sector is extremely dynamic, but has immense potential if you understand the segment well. We have always been interested in food and desserts, and believe they are an integral part of any home. Whether it’s a big family, small or for someone living alone, the target consumer belongs to a wide range. So, we decided to take the plunge to pursue the passion of bringing innovations in the bakery industry and building a brand on quality and values.”
Smart work and hard work need appreciation
Before ensuring that they had all the business elements right, they had faced a lot of hardships. Swati said,
“We invested in the right places to make sure there was no compromise on quality. Efforts were made to figure out the logistics and make sure they functioned seamlessly. The break-even time ended up being longer than expected, but we remained resilient and soon enough, our persistence bore fruits.”
To attract customers and for them to stick to the brand, they have given an international look and feel to their stores making it the perfect ambience. The store consists of brownies, cheesecakes, customised cakes and macaroons in its list.
Further, she said,
“We understand that different people h-ave different taste palates, and that’s why we have something for everyone with a huge variety of desserts.”
7th Heaven has bellied up with the concept of Live Kitchen. In this, they show cakes are made within 7 minutes which is a proof of fresh products they sell out.
Swati explained, “Unlike other bakery chains that use a central kitchen to bake cakes and then distribute to various outlets, we have a live kitchen in every outlet so that we serve only fresh and soft cakes. This is a huge hit with our customers because the difference in quality is a distinguishing factor that makes us stand apart from the rest.”
7th Heaven also offers fancy desserts to its customers such as 3D designer cakes, macaroons, chocolate pizza, mug cakes and cupcakes.
The tipping point of 7th Heaven is the reasonable costs of desserts which help in reaching out to more people without compromising on the quality of products.
They not only fulfil customers’ demand but also become a small and significant part of their lives.
Swati showed her concerns, “We believe our job is to spread happiness wherever and whenever possible. Some interesting ones that have stayed with us are stories like this couple who would visit us daily to share a paneer puff. Another customer ordered cakes from us right from her baby shower to her son’s fifth birthday party a few weeks ago. So, we feel really grateful to be able to play a vital part in the lives of our customers and grow with them, in good times and the rest.”
Formation of ideal strategies
Staying relevant to customers, 7th Heaven has opted both forms of advertising – above the line (ATL) and below the line (BTL). This balances aptly between being informative and creative in its communication.
Swati said, “From print ads like leaflets to newspaper ads, radio ads, hoardings, movie theatre collaborations, free sample tasting to customers, online ads, and membership programmes, we have used different media vehicles to form a certain connection with our customers. This has helped us in forming a bond with our existing customers while constantly reaching out to potential customers.”
Swati has entered in such an industry about which she was not completely aware of, so she has faced many obstacles.
On this note she said,
“We learnt on the go as we put in a lot of efforts, constantly studied the market, had a few setbacks that we overcame, took some time to break even, but overall it was a wholesome journey.”
However, the business broke in three years and then started making profits. Right now, the outlets are closed due to COVID-19 crisis and they are looking to resume the catering side of the business.