A MORE THAN A SWEET SUCCESS- CARASID, Goa.
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.