An interview with Sailaja, founder of “Sailoo Chocos – a bundle of Joy” – smartindianwomen
Hi Sailaja, thanks for taking the time to chat with SIW. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
Sailaja: Hi, it’s pleasure knowing SIW and its unique efforts in bringing out the Smart Indian Woman to light. I appreciate your interest and thank you for taking time to know us.
I am a budding entrepreneur armed with a vision, to spread bundles of joy with our exquisite personalized handmade chocolates.
As a tech savvy geek, began my career immediately after my graduation into IT world as first generation APTech, proving proficiency in multiple projects in Hard-core COBOL, Java, Oracle.
After marriage, my husband and baby son kept me blissfully busy exploring my other proficiencies. I took a break from corporate IT and started following my passion for cooking and trying new ways to please my hyperactive naughty son. This made me dwell deeper into professional baking and chocolate making. Soon my close friends and family started requesting personalized homemade cakes, muffins and chocolates.
I turned my passion into full fledged profession, on Dec 10th 2008, launching “Sailoo Chocos – a bundle of joy” a venture with blessings and support of my family. I believe in adding value and the zeal to contribute out-of-the-box without holding back, in every aspect of existence. This guiding motto makes each of our orders a very unique and personalized-gift-making-art than a mere product delivery.
We personalise each order to our clients with wide choice, offering varied chocolate base – flavours, filling, shape to the designer packaging, just to match the theme of their occasion, at a very affordable cost and on-time delivery. Quality, cost, on-time delivery and professional consultation are our expertise.
What inspired you to start “Sailoo Chocos’ Handmade Chocolates”?
Sailaja: I need visible progress and joy of progressing in every stage of my life and Sailoo Chocos is my baby to pacify that quest.
I love kids & elders a lot and regard them with great care & affection. They are beginning and end stages of our human life cycle. Bringing in joy and smile to them gives me profound peace. My chocolate making and gifting always brought that cherished smiles. I used to custom make sugar-free chocolates especially for diabetic elders, a little treat much needed in that age and a real mood booster in certain special cases and for kids, special shape chocolates with raisins, nuts, fruits, berries-filled-bars and lollipops of varied flavours as a teaching aid. I was making special chocolates based on their special needs, which was hard to buy straight from market any given day.
It’s more like my chocolates inspired hearts in numerous ways and occasions and it in turn motivated me in designing my own niche market and spread what little more I wanted to convey via my chocolates. That’s how “Sailoo Chocos” came into existence.
You can sense this passion reflected in our web-design www.sailoochocos.com
Would you like to share any secret recipe with SIW family?
Sailaja: Like chocolates, life is filled with wide range of experiences. Different at various stages, always aim high and keep your focus on your vision. Take every obstacle as an inspiring challenge and just crack it. Same time, don’t let the achievement blind you and boost your ego, life is long and be rooted to your fundamentals of existence. Give back what God graced you, to the needy and keep progressing. It’s not just us to grow, but the whole society, country and world to prosper in every way. Be zealous and think BIG.
This positive living is the only recipe that made me sustain so far so good.
Any challenges you face in this profession?
Sailaja: Handmade chocolates, is a special market with great personalization and high quality with little scope for economies of scale. Most people tend to compare the cost of these custom made chocolates with machine made and ignore the effort and expertise required for these special chocolates.
In India, to this day we have to educate clients at corporate level too, about the distinct qualities of handmade chocolates and personalization we do, at par with the cost of machines. Also handmade chocolates are yet to command respect and revenue as a profession way they do in Europe or US.
What are your plans for the future?
Sailaja: Currently we are operating in India with 40% transactions from corporate clients and 60% from individuals. We plan to double our clientele base in next 3 years.
How you manage personal and professional life?
Sailaja: I was fortunate to have a working mother, who was my first guru and I learnt from her to never ignore neither professional nor personal life.
The way we are like one family at home, so are we one team at work. We share and support our responsibilities with open mind, empathy and understanding. It’s vital to build that trust and confidence within family and business so that you are available as the pillar of strength always and so will they be your strengthening force. Balancing the work-life equilibrium becomes natural and easy when sharing of information and communication happens well in advance with proper timeline factors. Now my family and my team are my accelerators in progress J
What are your favorite books that you would recommend SIW family?
Sailaja: My all-time favourites are motivational – Whale done, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Follow every Rainbow- Rashmi Bansal, The Impossible is Possible – John Mason.
What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?
Sailaja: Define work-life balance and maintain it in equilibrium. Business has to be perpetual existence; this requires very clear professional work ethics and healthy long-run customer, vendor relationship. We are part of multiple gears that make the biz move in smooth correlation, this basic understanding has to be established and worked in tandem with your team and stakeholders alike. Have absolute focus on your vision and perseverance to execute the biz targets without compromising work principles… success will follow.
What advice would you give to young women readers of SIW who want to follow a similar career path as you?
Sailaja: I believe in three aspects that ensure enriching career. First is your health, an essential for any achievement and it is possible only through strict discipline. A healthy body nurtures, healthy mind and makes dreams a reality. Secondly, define principles that govern your life and aim high. Let, just do it be your attitude.
Learn, Unlearn and Relearn. Learn dynamics of your biz stream. Unlearn what is routine in it. And Relearn improvising that process. This makes working fun and productive.
Lastly, we have just one life, live it to the fullest. There is always up n down-side of life, trust in god and keep moving on, things will happen, your will-power and trust, will make it happen. Realise your dreams and achieve your ambition come what may.