By the women, for the women…. a small series of interviews with the boss ladies of different businesses. They’re the conversations that are pushing me forward, and I’m sure they’ll inspire you too.
Today in conversation with the #BossLady Kshama Adka of Shmoozies handcrafted ice creams. Ice creams are most girls’ comfort food and her journey of curating ice creams intrigued me! So, here’s what I asked her and what she had to say…
Vidhya: Did you always know you’d be a curator of ice creams?
Kshama: Funnily, yes. I had this whole thing that I wanted to drive around in an ice cream truck and sell ice creams. So, this was always been a part of me, I guess, but when you grow up you have to stay around a little bit to find what you really want to do. And that’s what happened, I worked for an IT company and then landed here.
Vidhya: How did you move on from IT to Shmoozies? How did that happen?
Kshama: I did my MBA from the Goa Institute of Management and then. there was this whole grind of finding a job and there’s always the pressure of doing something that you might not necessarily want to do. I was a business analyst with Cognizant, which was my first job after my MBA, but it wasn’t something I always wanted to do. Along the way, I helped my friend with his business. He runs the Thickshake Factory. We studied together and I used to make brownies for his brand. That was a big realization for me that I wanted to start something on my own. So I would do my day job, come back home and make brownies. I loved doing it and I’d actually break a sweat to do something I was really passionate about. Shmoozies actually came from that, it was a small idea, I had no idea how to make ice creams, but it’s because of the support of my family, I quit my desk job and researched on how I’m going to be doing this.
Vidhya: Since it all started with brownies, why didn’t you think of cakes? Why did you choose ice creams?
Kshama: Ice cream is always my first love! You never think of making ice creams at home right? (V: Hardly ever!) You always bake a cake, it’s a very revered idea when compared to making ice creams. It started with baking, the idea of experimenting with flavors and trying different things. I wouldn’t just bake a chocolate cake, I would add some flavors. I’d infuse oranges, add almonds… something different than usual. I’m not a cake person, I bake, but ice cream has always been my thing!
Vidhya: So, when did your Shmoozies journey start?
Kshama: 2016 is when I quit my desk job and came back. For a whole year, I was trying to build a concept for Shmoozies. I wanted to see how I like ice creams and if I could recreate it and make it a possible plausible business solution. We need money to keep the show running, right? So, mid 2016 around the mango season, I made my first sale. And it kick started from there. Officially we started from 2017, we turn one this September. I always worked from this space (Shmoozies outlet) which was a garage earlier. We used to be delivery only model until I started this outlet. We participated in pop-ups around the city so people could try out our products and we could deliver them based on orders.
Vidhya: How did you come up with the name ‘Shmoozies’?
Kshama: Shmoozies is actually just a spin-off of my name. Kshama became Kshamu to Shmoo and it eventually became Shmoozies. To Shmooze in German means having an intense conversation, with a ‘c’, but I made it with an ‘s’ as a part of my name. Plus, Shmoozies really feels like an ice cream name.
Vidhya: What are the hardships you’ve faced as an entrepreneur?
Kshama: There are a couple of things. Firstly, working alone running all the operations isn’t easy. Plus, building a team was/is one of the most difficult things. It’s taken a year and I’m still working on it. Other than that, getting people to initially try the product was a little difficult. Our idea was to take ice creams to another level. We make everything in-house, even the flavors. It’s not mixing essence, colors and making the end product. For example, we make our own salted caramel and the trialing, testing and making the flavors to perfection is what takes a lot of time and effort.
Vidhya: What’s your one advice to women who want to start something of your own?
Kshama: Starting small is a good idea! It gives you a sense of what’s happening. It’s easier to build a concept along the way where you’ll know what you specialize in and you’ve not invested all the money you have into one thing. Be open to working with men as well and also, to try out new things. It’s okay to be confused and build your brand over time. The more people you meet, you’ll grow and you’d know what is your thing. It takes time, so don’t give up so easily.
Vidhya: If you weren’t the curator of ice creams, what would you be?
Kshama: I’d be a biker! I’ve always had an affinity for it. But, right now I can’t think of doing anything else. It’s a childhood dream that has come true and I’ve done a little bit of other things to realize this is what I really want to do. And if got into this much later than earlier, you always think that I could’ve gotten in food science and be where I’m today much earlier, but you have to go through other things to relish this better.
Conversations with #BossLadies | In association with Tulua!
Many thanks to Kshama for taking time to speak to me! So, ladies it’s okay to be confused, we’ll get there! Hang on. And do tell me if you’d be interested in reading more of this in the comment section below.