Starpreneur Pooja Sharma interviews Mr Sunil Srivastava of Carasid

A MORE THAN A SWEET SUCCESS- CARASID, Goa.

2When the CEO of a successful jewellery production unit, Shri Sunil Srivastava decides to

chuck up a twenty-five year career in dealing with gems and precious metals, one wonders

about what would be the glittering option that would lure him away on an uncharted,

untried path. How absurd would a cake and pastry outlet sound? It was exactly this that

Christabel and Sunil Srivastava set out to establish in Panaji, Goa, empowering themselves

with the belief that ‘McDonald is the American CaraSid’, so as to be better than the best.

Pooja Sharma brings to you an exclusive interview from a fresh insight of a small business

that explores potential of Indian Management practice through- Jugaad Innovation!

(I had the privilege of having Mrs. & Mr. Srivastava at my college, GIM itself. That is when

the whole interaction took place.)

Q. Tell us about your history?

Carasid was born out of a blue ocean. Christabel was a nutritionist and a gourmand,

supplied brownies to a multitude of posh restaurants in Mumbai. The growing culture

of consumption of confectionaries and the demand and appreciation of the same led

the Srivastavas to move from the role of a supply-unit to a full-fledged, customized and

organized entrepreneurial unit. Mr. Shrivastava, who was leading the jewellery business in

India, considered resigning from his prestigious position and assumed the role of a founding

father of a budding organization, which, consistent to his plans, became a culture, a habit

and a legend for the Goans and the tourists of Goa from around the world. Carasid, named

after the two children of the Srivastavas, Cara and Siddhant have also put them both into

an entrepreneurial and innovative mode where each member contributes hugely to the

functioning and constant updating of the organization.

Carasid did not start until 2008 but the owners were preparing for its commencement since

the late 1990’s. Christabel and Sunil frequented many CCD outlets in Goa and observed the

lack of a very specific ingredient; in fact, a custom very perfunctory to the Indians; snacks

with beverages. On probe, Christabel started supplying the bakery products like brownies,

biscuits, confectionaries to the CCD’s. This business arrangement lasted for 10 long years. By

that time, the Srivastavas had acquired a firm understanding of the local market dynamics,

foothold into the supply and distribution chain and a fair idea of the wants as well as the

budgets of the people. Thus Carasid was opened in Miramar, the heart of Goa and soon

became a favourite “cake” destination for everyone.

Q. What gap in the market did you discover that persuaded you to launch your start-up?

Indian bakery industry was dominated with large amount of unorganized players and almost

50% of the production and revenue was generated from these units. The organized sector

was confined to supply of such items in the higher income segments, which were less

price sensitive. Also, the market was competitive but on the variety-front, not much was

available. Also the effort of investing into the business would need a strong capital backing

as the recovery rate and size of the market was progressive but quite slow. Bread and

biscuits dominated the market demand and cakes, chocolates, etc. was also growing albeit,

facing a competition from Indian sweets and delicacies. During this period, it was thus, a

wise decision of the Shrivastavas to venture into a field where the tastes and preferences

of the customers were growing and developing and the target market being undefined,

the experimental mode of the industry existed. Also, their prior experience into the effort

and creativity that this field requires added with the executive role that Mr. Shrivastava

possessed gave Carasid an almost exclusive edge to the industry.

Q. How long did you spend developing before launching?

Ans. The 25 years of working experience as CEO of Intergold for Mr. Shrivastava and the

experience of being a nutritionist and a gourmand for Mrs. Christabel Shrivastava, an urge

to showcase her talent and extensive support from a dotting husband was enough to launch

a new business in the field of confectionaries. Having a decent exposure of working in

corporate combined with the supreme knowledge of a nutritionist, this is what was exactly

required to set up this, now, a flourishing business.

Q. How was the crafting of this entrepreneurial structure done?

Ans. Carasid is a relatively young business firm functioning on a partnership basis among

the Sunil and Christabel. With one factory and 6 retail outlets spread across Goa, which

employs 53 people in total. The organizational structure is flat. Carasid runs without any

specific HR manager, any HR policy or motivational policy, yet it delivers the Excellence. This

is because it matures on a unique blend of leadership and year on year growth registered

by the organization is immense. Mr. Shrivastava says that this year he has estimated a 70%

business growth, 45% of which he guarantees. The flat organizational structure has not

affected the functioning till now. But in future when the number of outlets increases to 21,

a need for a well-defined hierarchical structure would be felt by the employers to run the

outlets successfully. The proprietor plans to open a total of 3 outlets in this very month-one

in Margao and two in Pilerne which is an industrial area.

Q. Has your start-up had the feedback and growth you expected since launching?

Mr. Srivastava’s vision is epitomized by the very word “MAC”-i.e. McDonald is the

Americanized Carasid! His confidence reflects in the manner the business is growing and

the reaction and satisfaction of the customers with Carasid. For the advertising approach

that he chooses for taking the products to the customer, he states that the products must

be prepared and sold as per the customers’ wants and spending habits. He also does not

believe in advertising his products as he feels that “taste cannot be marketed” and “the

sense of taste cannot be played with”. So the only mode of advertising is the grapevine

which the happy customers create for them. He states that the process of overview, in

view and review is very important for progress. Each step is verified thoroughly throughout

its working, viewed with an objective precision when in progress and reviewed when it is

completely finished. This enables the manager to capture the flaws of the functioning and

work upon them before the final product is pitched in so as to reduce time & cost wastage.

From the day of Carasid’s inception, there has been no looking back. The first experiment

on brownies that took place at the time of a family dinner was based on a feedback and till

date this has continued to be the trend. There is a huge demand for Carasid’s products and

the growth has been a lot more than that was expected, this is what Mr. Srivastava says.

Q. Where do you see your start-up in 5 Years’ time?

Carasid is going pretty steady in its growth since day 1. It is now looking into a totally new

direction: mini-meals, corporate canteens, packaged meals and chocolates. The idea is quite

consistent with the values, customs and the general image of the firm which the proprietors

have painstakingly built over the years. Carasid’s unique business model and single-focus

strategy is leading to its step by step diversification. Ultimately, Carasid is headed across the

seven seas, as far as and wide as any international food chain. With the firm determination

of Mr. Sunil Shrivastava and intuitive creativity of Christabel, the firm is looking at a large

scale expansion, encompassing a foray of products and services and becoming a “food

lover’s heaven” in Goa and elsewhere.

Q. What is the mission of this business development?

Ans. Carasid has a mission of Complete Customer Satisfactionand follows the policy of CCS

i.e Cost Efficiency and Sales. It emphasises on QQTC i.e Quality, Quantity, Time(time of

delivery) and Content. It also follows the policy of ‘Swastha, Sasta and Swadishth’.

Q. What advice would you offer to any soon to be start-up founders out there?

We would just suggest the budding entrepreneurs to follow their heart and not to digress

from following their dream. There will be many chances where people will try to put you

down and will be little your efforts, but that would be the only time where you have to

believe in yourself and march forward. Rest we wish a great success to all the budding

entrepreneurs. This is what the Srivastavas said.


About the Author

Amit Grover, founder of AHAtaxis.com, is an IIT Delhi and IIM Indore alumnus, having more than 12 years of industry experience. He started Nurture Talent Academy, and earlier worked with Infosys, Asian Paints, Onida and Mumbai Angels. He regularly blogs on www.amitgrover.co.in. AHA Taxis, his recent venture, offers one way outstation travel across India.

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