Discover Herbs, Spice and a Tastier Life with Sizl
“I always get asked where I buy my spices and noticed a gap in the market for high-quality spices that are packaged practically for home cooks.”
Our interview with Mallika
Cooking is an art, as the saying goes. Raiding cupboards and spice racks to find the right spices, herbs and ingredients – and throwing combinations together until achieving the desired result is a real skill.
But what if you didn’t have to play around with different quantities of ginger powder and chilli flakes to produce fragrant and flavoursome meals? And what if it was easier to source aromatic spices and herbs without trawling from shop to shop?
Mallika Basu identified this gap in the market and made it her mission to deliver high-quality spices to satisfy home cooks. She shares with us the steps to creating a business and her recipe for success.
Twill: What stirred the idea for a spice and herb kit business?
Mallika: I have always enjoyed entrepreneurial ventures in food alongside my main career in communications. Then I joined forces with three others who shared a similar vision for creating an exciting premium range of spices and spice blends.
Choosing something you are passionate about is a good place to start when coming up with a business idea. Decide what really inspires you and think of how this can be turned into a product or service that others will benefit from. It’s also important to consider the best freight shipping services for helping your passion reach its intended market.
Twill: And what was the creation process of SIZL like?
Mallika: I'm a food writer with two published cookbooks. I always get asked where I buy my spices and noticed a gap in the market for high-quality spices that are packaged practically for home cooks.
One of my co-founders runs a successful wholesale organic spice company. So we came together with two others to create a range of 16 single tins of spices, and then a range of five multi-purpose spice and herb blends.
The blends were a lockdown innovation when we saw home cooks struggle with recipe ingredients and mealtime inspiration. They are designed to inject flavour into a wide range of meals.
Lockdown sparked an interest in cooking across the country, as people were trying new recipes and getting adventurous with different cuisines. Mallika made use of this and decided to provide a service to inspire others with new flavours and ideas.
Twill: What does your day-to-day involve?
Mallika: We have to ensure there is stock available on Amazon, create buzz on social media, connect with retailers and more. Orders need to be fulfilled.
Twill: And what is your product’s key selling point?
Mallika: We are passionate cooks who have created a brand for other passionate cooks. We understand what home cooks need and so our tins are well labelled and stackable, with windows so you can see when you're running out and wide lids that are measuring spoon friendly.
Understanding what the demand for your product is and how you can make it unique can help to shape your idea. Spice tins with lid wide enough for a teaspoon is something that surprisingly isn’t widely available. This caters to the consumers’ needs, facilitating their cooking experience.
Twill: Did you face any challenges in the making of SIZL?
Mallika: We started just before the pandemic so it's been tricky to get retail listings in what is already a tough process. We've also learnt a lot about retail margins and the cost of sales, which impacted our sales projections.
Twill: What have you learnt from the journey thus far?
Mallika: I've learnt that the entrepreneurial journey can be emotional, tricky, satisfying and phenomenal one day and a complete low on another.
There will be highs and lows with running your own business, which is why it’s necessary to give yourself praise and take a break sometimes.
Twill: Where do you export to at the moment?
Twill: What piece of advice do you have for other budding entrepreneurs?
Mallika: Do your research and make sure you factor the cost of marketing, PR and sales into your plans, as a product that doesn't sell is worth nothing.