Most women can relate to the need to carve out their identity while juggling their familial responsibilities. However, it’s easier said than done—even when women attempt to start businesses from home.
Enter Saral, meaning easy in Hindi, a platform that enables homepreneurs to sell their produce in local markets. The startup empowers women homepreneurs by helping them scale their businesses by tackling their main problems, including logistics, regulatory aspects, and sales.
The Mumbai-headquartered startup—present in Indore, Raipur, Nagpur, and Bhilai—was founded by Kamal Anandani and Amitesh Sahu, and it stemmed from their experiences growing up.
“Growing up in India in the early 80s, we saw households in our neighbourhoods where women were trying to pitch in financially. Some succeeded, and some didn’t. Here we are sitting in 2022, and the situation is still the same,” Amitesh says.
Kamal and Amitesh witnessed the overwhelming resistance from families who often write off homepreneurs’ ambitions, skills, and talents as mere hobbies. But when the families see the orders coming in, they start taking homepreneurs seriously.
So, how does an aspiring homepreneur ensure their entrepreneurial journey is “Saral”?
“The onboarding process is simple. Just come to our website; there is a WhatsApp number, and you can call or WhatsApp us, and our onboarding team will take care of it. There is no onboarding fee whatsoever,” Amitesh elaborates.
“We have a list of 50 cities we are planning to be present in the next year. If all goes well, we will be present in all major cities,” Kamal adds.
What kind of products does Saral deal with?
At present, the startup deals with food items—either ready-to-eat or half-cooked food that has a typical shelf life of three to four months.
Although the company started with the FMCG segment, the co-founders hope to expand to other verticals soon. Amitesh says, “We are on FMCG because we are trying to build that synergy across the FMCG categories first, and once we have the distribution, if we can piggyback on that and do that.” Saral has, in fact, already started exploring how it can apply its expertise to handmade eco-friendly disposable items, and in 2024, the startup plans to add other verticals too.
As for women who still have doubts about whether they have it in them to be homepreneurs, Amitesh says, “What we have seen is that you have to take that first step, and then after that, it’s a virtuous cycle.”
“We have made that initial barrier of self-doubt very narrow for any woman entrepreneur who comes onboard with us. Once a homepreneur gets their first order, they start to feel confident,” he adds.
Saral’s main objective is to turn homepreneurs’ hobbies into businesses. While Kamal is clear that success cannot be achieved on day zero of joining forces with Saral—as there can be challenges in terms of packaging and pricing—he says that the startup explains the entire process to homepreneurs who soon see the value of their product.
He adds that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and for women entrepreneurs, this seems to be a step in the right direction for empowerment and confidence.