Waking up in the morning after an all-night boozy bender that at the time seemed like a fantastic idea is an all too familiar feeling to most of us. Between the customary “I’m never going to drink like that again” oath which would probably be broken the next weekend and train-wreck headaches, a cure for those mornings after has always seemed like a bit of a long shot. Until now. A Bangalore based start-up is promising a cure those nightmare hangovers so naturally, we offered ourselves up as guinea pigs.
Based in India’s start-up capital, 26 year-old entrepreneur Mitali Tandon and her pathbreaking start-up “Morning Fresh” have successfully conjured the dream remedy for all our tippler travails. Speaking about the beginnings of the organization, Mitali says “Morning Fresh was born out of the need to uncover and understand the myriad uses , versatilities and biological applications of silk coupled with a market gap and an opportunity.” A subsidiary of Sericare - who are leaders in the field of sericulture and pioneering the different bio-applications of silk , the company began researching and found properties in silk protein that resembled and enabled naturally occurring liver enzymes. “There is a proliferation of bars and restaurants in the city and youngsters are increasingly leading a fast-paced life. We developed Morning Fresh as India’s first post-drink solution to help relieve customers from the after-effects of alcohol consumption and liver protection” adds Mitali when asked about what inspired her to start this venture.
That being said, the road that turned an idea into a concrete business was not without its fair share of bumps along the way, as the first-mover advantage also traded difficulties and challenges that had to be overcome. Preliminary investigation and feasibility studies were key to evolving the business model and figuring out the business plan initially. “A lot of back-end scientific research and extensive product development was also required including testing and finalising formulations,” opines Mitali , echoing these exact sentiments. There were two parts to it she explains as she elucidates the different learnings that were inferred from consumer and the retailers of the product. “With Morning Fresh we are really addressing consumer mind-sets, so part of the challenge has been to educate customers about the product USP’s and to have it be successfully included into their routine/everyday life” she explains.
Being a woman did also pose obstacles initially as the legwork involved needed her to interact with sellers / staff / promoters and others of the ilk from various liquor stores who were quite stumped to see a woman talk to them in such detail about the product. “All the staff at the store where male, including our promoters and they were shocked and found it odd I think, like I was out of place. Then when customers started coming into the store to start asking for the product themselves, things settled down and they realised that I was there for serious business,“ she says.
Once these difficulties were overcome, the city of Bangalore welcomed Morning Fresh with open arms. “When we initially introduced the product most people loved the idea, where open to trying it and more than anything curious about the efficacy. Our aim has been to make as many customers have first- hand experience of Morning Fresh, as possible. Nothing works better than making your customer your brand ambassador and that’s really what has helped build the brand so far,“ extolls Mitali as she describes the entry of the product into the mainstream consumer market. This is also because Morning Fresh works quite differently compared to other over-the-counter hangover remedies as it can be consumed after a binge session.“ MF helps actively break-down alcohol in your system [since it’s your last drink] and flush out all the toxins, so by the time you wake up, you are good to go. Our formulation also contains vitamin C and Mulberry leaf extract which is rich in antioxidants and boosts overall liver health!” she adds.
Mitali also eloquently explains how they came up with all the flavours as there’s more that meets the eye and is not as simple as one might think. MF products go through rigorous screening procedures before they are allowed to hit the shelves. “ While conceptually and marketing wise this is a fun product, there is a lot of science behind it. Our flavour choices are driven in part by customer preferences and in part by compatibility with our formulation. All our flavours in testing must pass certain quality and shelf life standards for us to include it into the final product range.” she explains giving us a hint that this is only the tip of the iceberg for the company.
After overwhelming success in Bangalore through all seller channels including online and retail , the product has turned quite a few heads , both nationally and internationally. ” We have been receiving a lot of organic traction from cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata [among others] and even in international markets that we have entered. I think the overall trend among urban India is being conscious about their health/fitness + their work hard/play hard lifestyle, which MF as a brand compliments well. A lot of customers internationally appreciate the technology and science behind the product as much as young Indian markets are open to incorporating this into their wellness routines.” she says. Taking the product to exclusive music festivals such as the Magnetic Fields festival last year not only helped revellers find and recalibrate their bearings but also helped generate a lot of awareness for responsible drinking and the health benefits in store for a conscious consumer. This is something Mitali advocates very strongly as she believes that this is an integral part of our lifestyle that needs to be incorporated rather than ignored. MF have also started initiatives such as the #Freshstarts campaign - A 21-day challenge that pushes patrons to stay fit, healthy and adventurous.
It doesn’t just end here either.
Late last year the organization also invented the “Bro’ster” - an interactive digital coaster that enables the user to keep a track of his/her drinking curve and keep the user in check through contextual messages. Soon to follow was the ‘Alculator’ app on the website that details the number of productive hours lost due to hangovers (you would be surprised ! ) along with “Fresh Sets” which curates music from underground DJs, artists and audiophiles for all states of mind.
Mitali and her organization are also working extremely hard to ensure the product is available Pan-India and internationally and she happily concedes that she is proud that it 100% Indian as Morning Fresh now aims for even greater achievements this year.
So does the hard-working CEO ever find time for a drink herself?
She chuckles and says “ As luck would have it, all my places of fun have become places of work and I don’t drink much anymore. On the rare occasion/ celebration, i’m always happy with a nice cold GnT with lemon/Chilly or a glass of champagne!” .