16 Mar 2018, 09:09 — 6 min read
Apsara Ice Creams was founded in 1971 on the premise that its products would be hand-crafted, without preservatives, and using the flavours of the season. Under the stewardship of Founder Nemchand Shah, the brand has established a footprint in Mumbai and become a recognisable name over time. Today, the next generation is leading the company into the future with a franchise model taking Apsara to other cities like Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Kiran Shah, the scion of the company, aims is to establish at least a hundred outlets nationwide by 2020.
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Enterprise: Apsara Ice Creams
Founder: Mr. Nemchand Shah
Director: Kiran Shah
Year it was founded: 1971
Based out of: Mumbai
Nemchand Shah pioneered into the hand-made ice cream segment in 1971. He initially ventured into the juice business, but decided to focus his energies on ice creams shortly after. His motto was to always "Use the best fruits / dry fruits, milk and sugar”. Customers were intrigued by Apsara’s ice creams as they could see them being made by hand. Opening up outlets in prime locations in Mumbai, they grew a a loyal customer base and got a big break in 1984. Nemchand says, “The government exempted juice and ice cream from a ban, that allowed our business to grow. We kept expanding then.”
Apsara has stayed true to its origin by continuing to produce handcrafted ‘sancha’ ice creams. They also produce sorbets, milkshakes and kulfis. All of Apsara’s products use natural fruits and creams, and no preservatives are used in production. The USP is to make ice creams with fresh, seasonal fruits to ensure absolute freshness. The ice cream chain boasts more than 50+ flavours and also has a sugar free range of ice creams for diabetic and health conscious customers.
There were multiple challenges along Apsara’s journey: making creams without preservatives being their USP, shelf life was a challenge; moving from the traditional method of Sancha to a more contemporary way of production was another, as was innovating with new flavours.On the retail front, they were tasked with developing their franchise model as expansion kicked into high gear, without compromising on quality and taste in those franchises.
Kiran Shah, the next generation scion of Apsara Ice Creams, offered this insight into operations, “We learn through customer feedback, audits at parlours. We are always looking to improve and take our service to the next level. Product-wise, there are many players at a high level. The differentiating is ensuring that a customer comes again and again to a parlour.”
Speaking about one particular innovation which saw immense success, Kiran says, “We have been making guava ice cream since the beginning. In 2015, we put masala on our guava ice creamwhich became a hit with our customers. We also came up with a pani puri flavoured ice cream. In the age of Facebook and Instagram, we are always looking to innovate in ways in which we can go viral.”
In 2014 the company was faced with a big decision. Realising that a rebrand was the order of the day, a new theme and way of operations was thought up for Apsara Ice Creams. From 2014 till the end of 2017 the company has successfully grown to have 35 outlets,with 25 outlets in Mumbai alone. Apsara now has also expanded to Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore with a franchising model where the outlets are managed by the franchisees, while the manufacturing and branding is taken care of by the Apsara headquarters in Mumbai.
The big business dream of the company is to have over one hundred outlets across the nation in the next two years and manufacture from one central facility in Thane. Founder Nemchand has the aspiration that when “someone wants to eat ice cream, they will want to eat our Apsara Ice Cream”.
Kiran Shah opines,“GlobalLinker is a very good platform for businesses like ours which are at a very nascent stage looking for collaborators like vendors, suppliers etc.The platform gives a network for engaging with like-minded entrepreneurs. GlobalLinker is a tool that, in the coming years, SMEs and other businesses will begin using to get more value out of their business.”
Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
Kiran gives some sage advice to budding entrepreneurs. He says,“The only message I want to give is to follow your dreams and never stop trying. I joined this business in 2014 and there were initial struggles. You never know when success will come. You might fail 99 times out of 100 but if you don’t try the hundredth time, you might miss your chance at success. I think that is what separates entrepreneurs from other people. Entrepreneurs need that spirit and motivation to succeed and keep their team motivated.”
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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