When Dr Hemapriya Natesan delivered a baby girl in 2014, she had a lot of questions and apprehensions about what she could feed her baby among others. She also joined parenting and ‘mom groups’ on Facebook and started receiving a lot of questions from other mothers.
But welcoming the joys of motherhood, she started a blog called ‘My little moppet’ when her child turned a month old in 2015.
Here she shared her mother and mother-in-law’s recipe for a traditional ‘sathumaavu’ powder (multigrain mix) and it was a huge hit.This led to the start of her business—that she named after her blog—which sells nutritious food for children.
Over seven years, Dr Hemapriya has supplied her goodies to more than one lakh mothers. Moreover, what started as tips for new moms, turned into a multi-crore company that earned a revenue of Rs 3 crore last year.
Women dry multigrains at Dr Hemapriya’s production unit in MaduraiSpeaking about how her business took off, Hemapriya says, “The ‘sathumaavu’ powder requires sprouting 19 ingredients and powdering them. This powder can be made into a porridge for babies, or even had as a drink for older children. Many mothers said that they couldn’t do such a laborious process, and asked me to start selling it.”
However, at the time, the doctor was in Raipur and was not in a position to start selling the mix. In September 2015, she moved back to her hometown — Madurai in Tamil Nadu, with her husband. At that time, with the help of her mother, they started making and selling this nutritious multi-grain (sathumaavu) health drink powder.
Hemapriya’s mother handled all the kitchen work, while she would package and courier the products.
“I had good web traffic to my blog at that time and all my readers converted to customers. In a month, we had so many orders that the two of us couldn’t handle them. So, we hired another woman to help us. After another month (ie in January 2016), we had so many orders that we rented another house, hired two more women, and started making our orders there,” says Hemapriya.
Today, the doctor employs more than 50 women, has set up a production unit in Madurai, and sells more than 200 products across the country.
They sell sprouted ragi powder, dried dates powder, cookies, crackers, energy bars, porridge mixes, cereals, millet noodles, pancakes, etc.
“We sell the products we make daily in small packages, which are freshly made depending on the orders. Since everything is done by hand, it is a very laborious process. We get about 150-200 orders per day,” says Hemapriya.
The products range from Rs 149 (for the Sprouted ragi mix 100 g trial pack) to Rs 302 (for the Sathumaavu Multigrain Mix).
‘Parenting is by far my boldest and most daring adventure.’
Hemapriya continues writing her blog, which has recipes, videos, meal plans, toys and activities for babies, growth milestones, and a lot more. She also answers questions and doubts that parents have.
Shruti Ravi, a loyal customer, says, “I have been using My Little Moppet drink mixes since my son was a year old, and continue to buy their products. He is four now and loves their pancakes, muffins, and noodles. Being a working mom, this saves me a lot of time. Since the products are organic and homemade, I know that my child is getting good nutrition too.”
In addition to running a thriving business, Hemapriya also runs the Little Moppet Heart Foundation with her husband Dr Gopi Nallaiyan. Here, they identify children with heart defects/diseases through medical camps across Tamil Nadu and perform surgeries or medical treatment free of cost for these children.
She also runs two more businesses, Ancient Madurai, which sells antiques and brass collectibles, and Soundaryah, which sells natural hair care and skin care products.
She says that to run a successful business, you need to be passionate about your product.
“If you put your mind to do something, you can achieve your goal. The idea is not to run behind money but run behind your passion,” she asserts.
You can check out her blog here, and buy her products here.
Edited by Yoshita Rao