50 Is Never Too Late! Meet Radhika Mohan, Founder of Mrs. Chutney

Meet Radhika Mohan who proves that age is no barrier when it comes to entrepreneurship. Her Mrs. Chutney brand is helping customers relish their childhood food memories.

It is never too late to become an entrepreneur, and age is just a number. Radhika Mohan, is a living exemplar of the above statement. In her 50s, she started her own homemade food venture, Mrs. Chutney, in 2020.

Now, before you think that this is another typical story of a woman who loves cooking and is now running her own bakery, you’re wrong.

Radhika loves cooking, and she is amazing at it; that is a fact. However, what she sells is different from others. She sells masala powders, pickles, thokkus, vadams, appalams, and sundiges, all made from her own kitchen. They are staple products used in South Indian cooking.

In an era where selling fully cooked meals is the rage, Radhika took a different approach. After learning about her one of a kind business, I interviewed her, asking her about the objectives and motivation for starting Mrs. Chutney. Here is what she had to say about her unique business: 

So what motivated you to start Mrs. Chutney?

I have been working as a teacher for nearly 30 years. I have noticed both children and adults eat instant food or unhealthy food due to a lack of time. They often lack of awareness of the questionable ingredients in the masalas and pickles they are consuming. Their health has often been compromised. It would upset me to watch my young students and colleagues suffer. 

So, during the pandemic, I watched a lot of people trying to cook from scratch online, and it gave me the idea to start Mrs. Chutney. Though, I had been contemplating it for years, I finally decided that 2020 would be the year that I would do it. Rather, I had to do it. 

Though people are making an effort to eat healthy; using products that contain harmful ingredients, which have been stored for months together, is not advisable. I have told many people this in my personal life as well. Many of the recipients of my advice had no idea that the branded malasa, pickles, and instant appalams that they were eating had harsh side effects on their health.

Hence, I decided to start this venture. I want everyone to eat healthy and ensure that they have no health problems. That’s why I use natural ingredients without preservatives or harmful chemicals in anything that I make.

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So, why did you choose the name Mrs. Chutney?

Chutney is a popular condiment in the south. We eat it with idli, dosa and pongal. It is an integral part of our diet. As I grew up in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, I noticed how everyone enjoyed eating it. I personally like eating and making all kinds of chutney, so I became a little self–indulgent and chose the name. I am also married, so it was a no–brainer! 

How did you curate such a different menu?

During these trying times, everyone cannot afford to get fully cooked meals delivered to their homes three times a day. People have also become very particular about what they eat, and some have no choice but to cook themselves. I wanted to help them out. I realized that the best way to help people eat healthy was to provide them food that did not contain any toxic elements.

I wanted to assure people that the masalas and pickles that I am using in my cooking to feed my family, is what I am sending to my customers’ home. The company’s tag line is, ‘From a Mother’s kitchen to Yours’. It directly goes from my clean, sanitized kitchen to yours. So what I am feeding my family, is what I am giving you. 

I have followed the recipes that my mother and grandmother have been using, so I am aware of the requirements of both— what a mother wants for their child in terms of health and what the child needs in terms of taste as well.

As everyone uses masala powders for adding flavour to their food, I chose this product. But food without thokku and pickle cannot appeal to your food palate, let alone a child’s; it was a must-have.

And then, we all want a little snack, so the appalams, sondiges and vadams have been included in the list. Children can eat these as a substitute for potato chips! That’s why I chose them.

Did you face many struggles while setting up your business?

Yes, of course! I knew that setting up my own business would be a tedious and elongated affair, but with the help of my family, I managed to do so. I had some idea about what I had to do, but it was challenging nonetheless. 

In the beginning, I didn’t have the faintest idea as to how to go about many things. It was difficult for me to find a shipping company that would deliver the food safely within a week. I was hunting for a good accountant who will guide me with regard to GST and related information. And there was marketing and branding, Mrs. Chutney, it was such an exigent task. 

I had no idea about all of this, but I began reading up all the necessary information and educating myself, with the aim to improve my business acumen. Plus, my husband and kids are of great help. I can proudly say that I am on the road to being a businesswoman. 

I would like to conclude my saying that, though your products may appeal to a niche market, you have already found a unique selling prospect. Challenges are always meant to make you grow and mould yourself at any age.

I am still a full-time teacher, and I am running my own business, and it is hard to find the right balance or get rest. But, if you find the right support staff and team, (for me, luckily, it happens to be my family) any woman can succeed.

Don’t be disheartened if things don’t work out initially. In the long run, you will know that you have at least tried. Many women are too afraid to take the first big step. So was I. However, my motivation was so strong that I finally decided to take the big leap of faith and today, my business is slowly picking up.

If you want to order from Mrs. Chutney, please visit their official Instagram page and check out their menu!

Contact On WhatsApp: 9008314216 for more information

Image Source: by shylenderahoode via Getty Images and Canva Pro.

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