Grit & Resilience: 10 Homegrown Brands That Launched During The Pandemic - Homegrown

Grit & Resilience: 10 Homegrown Brands That Launched During The Pandemic

Crisis can be extraordinary, even in its throes of uncertainty it can present opportunity and a renewed ability to thrive. When times are good, businesses tend to stick to the tried-and-tested methods of working, and innovation isn’t often the need of the hour. Moreover, in everyday life too, we stay cocooned in our bubble of comfort and don’t push for a different or more effective way of doing things. With the ensuing global pandemic and the consequent downward spiral of the economy however, people have been forced to step out of their silos and propelled into innovative and effective ways of doing things.

Rahm Emanuel, (Obama’s Chief of Staff,) during the Great Recession, saw a crisis as an opportunity to do things that you could not before. And amidst such an uncertain present and future looming before us, young Indian entrepreneurs have exhibited tremendous grit to rise above and see the opportunity. With ambitious ideas and incredible resolve, these entrepreneurs have pointed out the silver lining that exists even during times which apparently seem less hopeful. Driving innovation during scarcity, some have pivoted, or some have developed a new product for an unmet need. They have emerged triumphant, starting their own homegrown brands with a grit and determination that is hard to surpass.

I. Dirty Good

Started by a passionate bunch of foodies, this Delhi-based company has an interesting assortment of recipes to choose from, including fresh smoothies and bowls, baked products and cold brew. Their ingredients - like granolas, vegan milks, single origin cold brew coffee- are either sourced locally or made at home. The food is made with passion and intent in a safe space without any risk of contamination.

You can find them at Pond Gallery, Safdarjung Enclave Market. For deliveries you can either DM or reach out to them at +91 8860601512.

You can check out their platform here.

II. Altered TV

With a vision to keep the artists and their fans connected in times of the pandemic, Mumbai-based music events company, Gently Altered has launched their newest venture Altered TV. The live-streaming platform aims to preserve the music community by providing an interface which replicates the dance floor that we all love and miss. In an exclusive partnership with the French ticketing platform, Shotgun Live, Gently Altered plans to provide service to artists, promoters and festivals, to help them stay connected with their community, albeit virtually. They believe that live-streaming will sustain in the post-COVID era, enabling fans to attend their favourite artists’ concerts from around the world, straight from the comfort of their homes. The platform is designed to be interactive and boasts of a bunch of social features like Dancerooms, Livechat and Wall of Fame which give a sense of community to the attendees.

You can access their curated ‘Telecasts’ here every alternate weekend.

III. GinGin

Founded by Shubham Khanna, GinGin, India’s first Hemp Craft Gin is manufactured entirely in Goa, with all botanicals and ingredients sourced locally from around India. This drink was created and perfected by him for two years, before he could make it into a flavour that proved enjoyable to even hardcore whiskey drinkers. The exquisite signature of GinGin was found several attempts and 40 recipes later.

“Because of the lockdown, I had to change all my plans. Whatever local ingredients were available online, I ordered them all,” says Shubham, in an interview with Homegrown.

Himalayan juniper, coriander, lavender, rosemary, caraway seeds, cinnamon, lemongrass, butterfly pea flower, and hemp make up this delicious, crystal clear gin.

GinGin is made using the single-shot distillation method wherein some of the botanicals are mixed in a pot with the base spirit, after which it is allowed to macerate, and then distilled. It is later proofed with water and bottled with the desired strength.

You can check out their platform here.

IV. NODE Workshops

NODE Workshops is a platform for continued education in Design & Architecture started by interior designers, Shonali Mahajan, Khushboo Parekh, and Shweta Kaushik. The organisation boasts of a variety of leading professionals in the realms of designing, architecture, technical consulting, business leadership, and PR & Marketing experts to create and conduct one-hour presentations on Zoom. The themes of the workshops include Design Ideation, Deep Dives & the Brand Business of Design. These experts are connected to an audience of young professionals - designers, architects, studios, students, contractors & craftsmen- who are eager to learn the nuances of the design practice, thus bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and pragmatic insights by speakers who have over 15-20 years of knowledge in their specific fields.

You can check out their platform here.

V. Pronto (fast food)

Pronto is a cloud kitchen co-founded by Tanuj Sahay, a chef with unparalleled culinary skills, Nargis Khan, who just finished her Master’s in PR (with mad skills in graphic design), and Arnav Bapna, a graduate in media & communication with a knack in marketing and advertising. They had all been working in different parts of the world, when COVID-19 hit, and they had to leave their regular lives behind and return to Kolkata to be with their families. It was then that they saw the need for safe, reliable (with the growing number of COVID cases) food outlets in the city, catering to a crowd which appreciates authentic gourmet fast food. So, within no time, they developed a business model, and curated a menu. They realised that this could be done from their homes, and hence came up with the take-away only model. They started distributing free samples of products, which helped them build a hype around it, and which also ensured that they gained loyal customers during this process. Soon, they launched the brand on a pre-order basis and have received immense satisfaction from customers ever since. The idea is to serve gourmet fast food to our customers at their door-steps, charging them much lesser than what restaurants would. All this, from a home kitchen!

You can check out their platform here.

VI. Sharent

It was early January 2019 when three close friends- Pritam, Ripdaman and Sagnik accepted new job roles and moved into an unfurnished rented apartment. They needed basic furniture and home appliances, and the idea of buying so much was way beyond their budget. Local rental houses asked for staggering figures of four months’ rent in advance, leaving them with no choice, but to dream of a model that would make day-to-day products inexpensive and easily accessible.
Sharent took shape later that month when three friends believed that they could be the brains behind changing the future of ‘buying’ in India. The company is designed to make people experience regular items without purchasing them, and not function like any other rental website. The founders ensured that they created a marketplace where individuals could both rent in and rent out their idle possessions. Free delivery of the same products makes the experience of renting convenient and fun. In a world affected by CoviD-19, Sharent believes in a minimalistic lifestyle, and allows you to share your resources and earn through the same.

You can check out their Instagram page here.

You can check out their website here.

VII. WIG Garage

Shekhar Wig, a full time High Court lawyer by profession, owes his fascination of cars to his family, who had a big car service centre, wherein he grew up listening to car sounds, and observing cars in general. By the time he was 17-years-old, he knew about the nitty-gritties of every car component, as well as its mechanics. After getting a degree in law from Washington University, he took up various positions in law firms, when he came back to India during the 2008 recession.

In the last few months, with the imposition of the pan-India lockdown, Shekhar went back to his first love, and started looking after both his own and his friends’ cars. However, his watershed moment came when he was tagged by his friends on a post by Barkha Dutt, which said that her car broke down while reporting outdoors in Mumbai. Numerous replies followed, after which the enquiries grew, leading him to start his Instagram page, WIG Garage, a car-servicing garage based in Oshiwara.

‘But we can come anywhere for our love for cars’, smiles Shekhar, who believes that it is equally important for us to take care of our cars, as it is to do so for own bodies.

You can check out his platform here.

VIII. Spaceman Spirits Lab

Officially launched during the current pandemic, the concept of Spaceman Spirits Lab was born out of the challenges faced by the founding members, as they tried decoding the AlcoBev industry to create their version of a craft gin. As they travelled the world trying to put together their signature gin, they realized that most people are unsuccessful in creating their own AlcoBev brand because of heavy regulations, large capital expenditures, exorbident MOQ commitments and limited access to mentorship. Hence, as they learnt how to make their gin, they also decided to solve the larger problem at hand and build a community-based platform that provided AlcoBev enthusiasts access experimental distillation equipment, formulation support, license sharing infrastructure, shared manufacturing facilities and end-to-end mentorship for the grain-to-glass-to-shelf journey. Whether it be a day-long tour to get an introduction to the art of distillation, or a week-long project to create your own unique blend for a special occasion, or an integrated collaboration to launch your own brand, Spaceman Spirits Lab strives to be the answer. By simplifying the barriers-to-entry in the AlcoBev fraternity, Spaceman Spirits Lab aspires to empower entrepreneurs, reduce start-up costs, promote experimentation and help India become the new global hub for AlcoBev innovation.

You can check out their platform here.

IX. Subko Coffee

In 2019 Rahul Reddy left behind his high-profile life as a corporate to train as an apprentice at a specialty coffee company called City of Saints in Brooklyn, New York, where he learnt the art of profile roasting, brewing, packaging etc. A year later, he set up his own roastery-cum-bakehouse and experiential cafe in a serene, Goan-style bungalow called Mary Lodge in the bylanes of Bandra, Mumbai. During the lockdown period, Subko spent the first month completely inoperable. They later began their operations through a ‘social distancing store’ to aim to cater to the Bandra and wider Bombay community with a limited stock of coffee-oriented products. They are currently offering coffee beans from a variety of different origins. These beans can be ground according to the customer’s choice for home brewing. The beans are packed in 100% recyclable and biodegradable package, that has been designed in collaboration with Aniruddh Mehta (@thebigfatminimalist). They also offer bottled cold brews as a homage to old-school desi medicine bottles, limited edition Coffee and Chocolate bars in collaboration with Mason&Co (@masonandco_chocolate), and the uniquely designed ‘Portable Pourovers’, that are specifically created for those who want specialty coffee at home, but do not have the equipment to brew it.

You can check out their platform here.

X. Tulua

Started a couple of weeks back by Richy Dave, a Mumbai based entrepreneur and Mischa Tropp, an Indian chef in Australia, Tulua was born out of the desire to put regional Indian flavours on the global map. Tulua offers a range of ready-to-cook curry bases inspired by regional recipes from around India.

Each paste is versatile and offers numerous applications. Made using high-quality ingredients and no additives, Tulua brings to you authentic age-old Indian recipes with a new-age approach.The current product range includes Ghee Roast, Vindaloo and Butter Masala.

You can check out their platform here.

XI. Yam India

Founded in 2020 by designers, Priya and Manmeet, Yam is a print-centric, millennial-run brand that produces locally, and doesn’t adhere to the retail calendar. They make their own prints and strive to create new and contemporary artworks from traditional techniques of weaving, embroideries, sketching, and painting, sourcing their textiles from across India- including silks from Benaras and cotton and canvas from weavers in South India. In keeping with the ethos of sustainable production and consumption, they choose to make garments and accessories consciously and with zero wastage.

“During our experience in the industry we realised that there are heaps of unacknowledged sampling waste. We wanted to tackle this problem when we started our brand and incorporated zero waste methods so that we don’t add to the garment waste produced by the fashion industry.”, says Manmeet.

Even though their production rate has slowed down by 40% since the lockdown, they are striving hard to keep their business going with the post-Covid work from home model.

You can check out their platform here.

If you enjoyed reading this article, we suggest you also read:

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Love A Good Cup Of Tea? Here Are 13 Artisanal Indian Brands That Should Be On Your Must-Try List

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