An Indian organic journey: Namu & Misha´s reunion
by Editor (comments: 0)
By Pure & Eco India magazine & www.pureecoindia.in
The founders of HHM Misha nad Namu: “We want to celebrate real, tasty & pure food. We wantedother people to enjoy great health like we are after switching to an all-organic diet. And we wanted to build a community of such people." (© Pure&Eco)
When old school friends Namu Kini (picture) and Misha Gill reunited as young mothers in their 30s, both decided to chuck up their corporate jobs and embark on an organic journey together. They took the decision to quit their high powered careers to dive into their true passion - creating an organic food company which would offer people healthy, tasty and pure food. Thus was happyhealthyme (HHM) conceived.
Both have worn many hats. One has been a finance consultant, an art gallery owner and a celebrity talk show host; the other, an operations wizard at a law firm and promoter of an interior design outfit. As young children at the Baldwin Girls High School, Bengaluru, Namu Kini and Misha Gill were best friends. As adults, both found themselves contorting to fit the fast paced maze of the corporate world. But a chance reunion at the cycling track as mothers in their 30s led them to take the decision to quit their high powered careers to dive into their true passion—creating an organic food company which would offer people healthy, tasty and pure food. Thus was happyhealthyme (HHM) conceived.
Namu Kini is one of the founders of HHM.(picture from the website)
One-stopshop for organic food
A catalyst for change, Kini believes the joy of a fulfilled life lies in helping those around oneself. Her vision became a reality when she met Gill after many years. They realised how much their sensibilities mirrored each other’s. Kini impressed Gill with her prowess with health food recipes in the kitchen and many a shared organic meals later the duo decided to break into a market whose needs weren’t far from their own—a one-stopshop for organic food. “We wanted to celebrate real, tasty and pure food, keeping heirloom recipes and forgotten foods alive. We wanted to build a community of people who wanted to have a holistic experience, the beginning of which was switching to an all-organic diet,” says Kini, who admits her metabolism nosedived after the birth of her children but going organic and regular cycling saved her from excess weight and lifestyle disease.
Misha Gill is co-founder of HHM. (picture from the website)
The Happyhealthyme brand
With capital of `2 crore (approx USD 30,9406), HappyHealtyMe (HHM) was founded in Bengaluru in January 2016. Kini assumed the role of CEO and Gill undertook the operations aspect of the business. HHM is foremost a brand of certified organic food products. Under the HHM umbrella, also falls its retail store in Indiranagar, as well as, its e-store, www.happyhealthyme.com. Its 300 stock keeping units stretch across pulses, herbs, spices, grains, flours, rice, millets, coconut sugar, palm sugar, stevia and superfoods such as aamla (Indian gooseberry), ashwagandha (winter cherry) and brahmi (thyme-leafed gratiola). It also stocks tofu, miso, marinades, farm fresh dairy products, free range eggs and chicken, breakfast foods like idli mix made from brown rice, wheat pasta, dried fruits, nuts and flax seed chutney powder, and ready-to-eat health snacks—all of them organic.
HHM sources organic honey and almonds from Uttarakhand; organic walnuts from Kashmir; organic coconut oil from Kerala and organic rice from Karnataka. As gratitude to the Indian organic farmer, the duo opts to stock mostly made-in-India foods. “Our farmers deserve to encash on the diversity of Indian agriculture,” Kini says. Both the retail and e-store, also stock fresh organic produce procured directly from local organic farmers within a 100-km radius of the warehouse.
The HealthyHappyme retail store in Bangalore. (© Pure&Eco)
The splendid retail store
The tender loving care and mindfulness poured into HHM’s retail store radiates back from its stunning interiors, spanning 1,000 sq ft. The white-and-beige hued store features an outdoor area decked out with unpolished wood and bamboo furniture, a large retail section featuring a tableau of organic foods displayed in neatly stacked wooden crates acting as shelves, with a dedicated section for fresh produce; a workshop and demo vestibule, and a separate retail section akin to a showroom featuring holistic lifestyle products such as jute yoga mats, brass dinnerware, natural detergents, bamboo toothbrushes, menstrual cups, porcelain cups and saucers, wooden mortars and pestles and cast iron cookware. At the entrance, patrons take selfies against the backdrop of a life sized mural made from shards of green plastic soft drink bottles, depicting green wings.
Another room of the Healthyhappyme retail store. (Picture from the website)
Create an organic community and accelerate awareness
“The artist behind the artwork, Avantika Agarwal, followed the ‘Wealth from Waste’ ethos in this upcycled initiative,” informs Kini. The duo believes in experiential awareness, and opines that merely opening a retail store or e-store will not suffice in creating awareness amongst people, and that experiential workshops, classes and demos help drive the point across. In their endeavour to create an organic community and accelerate awareness about organics and health at large, HHM conducts frequent workshops inhouse. Themes for workshops vary from home composting to live healthy cooking demos, and talks on organic foods and urban gardening. Fresh samples of piping hot organic delicacies are handed out at demos and an inhouse nutritionist and an on-call oncologist add to the holistic experience.
It has helped. Both the physical and digital formats enjoy repeat patronage, and are clocking growth of 30 percent monthly. “Bengaluru people are willing to invest in organic foods. They understand it is a small price to pay for health. We get your typical fitness crowd coming in like runners, yoga groups, cyclists, etc, and we also have conventional joint families and seniors citizens visiting us as regular customers,” says Gill.
Traditional Mantra of seeds when the BioFach fairs took place in Bangalore. © Karin Heinze
Prior to the launch, Kini and Gill spent two years chalking out their vision for the brand and traversed various states and organic trade shows to tie up with the best of organic ingredient suppliers. Compliant with all organic standards, all HHM products are NPOP (National Programme for Organic Production—requisite certification for organic food companies) and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture—requisite certification for export to USA) certified. Whereas currently the e-store delivers all over Bengaluru, Kini and Gill plan to start pan-India delivery soon. The old school friends envisage HHM as a leader in the organic foods segment in the country in the next 5 years and are also contemplating Singapore and Dubai as future international markets.
Sun salutation sculpture at Delhi Airport. © Karin Heinze
The article is first published in Pure & Eco India. The print magazine is focusing on South Asia’s organic sector, and www.pureecoindia.in is its digital representation.