I turned my strawberry hobby into a profitable venture during lockdown.

Vriti Narula

Vriti Narula, a resident of Chandigarh, and her brother began to grow strawberries in the castle. But with plenty of fresh food and a good reaction, the brothers decided to drink all day.

We often refer to Freshville as a random effort because we didn’t know how things would go when we started. My family loves strawberries and always struggle to find fresh, high quality strawberries in Chandigarh. In December 2019, we decided to use our family land in the Moscow region and experiment with growing strawberries.

My brother, Part Narula, who is 21, is currently attending the BCom (Honors) of the Management Research Institute (NMIMS) in Mumbai. His interest in agriculture stems from his father’s love for modern farming methods and technologies. Based on information from agricultural magazines and research materials available on the Internet, Partt learned about several environmentally friendly methods of growing strawberries.

Fortunately, the experiment was successful and we found a great plant without any chemical pesticides. The yield was much higher than expected. We collected the first fruits in March 2020. Initially, he grew up with the intention of sharing products only with family and friends, but we were rewarded with a large surplus that needed to be sold and distributed somewhere. Then we decided to sell our products directly to consumers so that our products could be delivered to everyone on time and at an affordable price.Around the same time, a nationwide blockade was imposed and traffic restrictions in the city were triggered by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a big challenge ahead of us. We have a corporate city agency license for door-to-door delivery of strawberries. Shortly thereafter, my brother and I designed flyers with production details and handed them out to various WhatsApp groups. The response was overwhelming.

With regard to pandemic A, we face several operational challenges at each stage. I couldn’t find the packaging material needed for fruit, I launched a brand-less product that negatively impacts branding and customer loyalty, and I used a limited line of business – self-service. Surprisingly, oddly enough, a source of food and pleasure, the Strawberries became increasingly popular on Tricity in a matter of days, and by the end of the season their network had over 400 subscribers.

Overwhelmed by the feedback and support we received last season, we decided to continue growing strawberries this year and expand our farm from 0.5 hectares to 4 hectares. We are working on new ways to find the right packaging, create brands, implement delivery systems, diversify our product portfolio, and increase productivity and yields months before harvest. This led to the birth of Freshville Berries.

Perth and I have different experiences and interests. While he manages production, management and finance, I am responsible for public relations, marketing and sales. Functions such as fruit ordering, marketing, sorting, sorting and packing are stored internally to maintain personal contact with customers and ensure strict quality control. We simply classify our products into grades A, A, B by size. All fruits are equally ripe, fresh and aromatic.

Our operating model is to pick fruit in the morning and deliver it the same day within 6-7 hours of picking each order, while maintaining the freshness and flavor of the fruit. We are currently a 15-person team that supports the empowerment of women by hiring, collecting and packing women from the countryside on a daily basis.

We are currently selling our products through the WhatsApp group and @itsfreshville Instagram page. In less than two months we have a base of about 1200 clients who are growing every day! This year we expanded our product range and found a sugar free jam with homemade strawberry jam, mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes, ginger ale and fruit. All this was prepared by my mother, Minu Narula, the owner and chef in our home kitchen. One.It currently only supplies the Tricity region, which includes Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchukula, but plans to expand to a national level next year to supply products for strawberry lovers across the country.