Based out of Delhi and started by two sisters, Shivanie and Gayatri, Minus 30 is an artisanal gelato brand. A professionally trained gelato maker, Gayatri, handles the recipes and the flavors while Shivanie looks after the operations of the brand.
Although, in reality, they do everything and manage the whole business between the two of them. But as Shivanie puts it, “we both end up doing what the other one was supposed to do."
Having grown up eating their mother’s ice cream, who’s a trained chef and would send it to other people, they decided to finally sell it. And now, with a lot of exciting projects in the works, the brand is looking at a busy year ahead!
1. Tell us about the journey of Minus 30 and how the idea of the brand came to you.
Growing up eating our mom’s ice-cream, we saw her send it to a lot of people. And we thought, why not sell it? So my sister and I decided to start Minus 30 together. She went on to go to Italy to learn how to make gelato professionally and eventually started working at a gelato shop. She came back, we worked on flavors and decided to launch in Delhi, in 2016.
We sort of moonlighted into this because we both had full time jobs at the time. We started out from our home kitchen, with one small machine and 1 delivery guy that we had hired. The first 2 years we really took in understanding the product, the customer and what they wanted. We then put up a cart at PVR Director’s Cut, Delhi and started making a few supplies there. Our focus at the time was the product and figuring out deliveries because it’s a temperature sensitive product. We started growing and saw ourselves doubling every year. By the second year we’d grown out of our home kitchen. We moved into our first small factory which we grew out of in 1 year and moved into a bigger facility, and continued to focus only on Delhi and the Delhi NCR. And then we just about expanded our retail presence into Bombay when Covid hit. But we worked really hard through Covid and the brand saw tremendous growth at that time.
What we began to see very early on was that we had a very high customer retention rate. Now we can quantify that with a number, we have an 80% customer retention rate. We’re really proud to see that a lot of our Delhi based clientele who we started with 5 years ago are still our clients today.
2. Tell us something about the brand name. Why Minus 30? And is there any special meaning behind the logo?
Because gelato freezes at -30 degree celsius. Not really, there’s no special meaning behind the logo, but there’s meaning behind the name.
3. What expansion plans do you have for Minus 30 in the near future?
At the beginning of this year we launched in Bombay. Then went on to launch this year in Bangalore, Jaipur, Goa, Dehradun and Chennai. We also opened a manufacturing unit in Chennai. We’re hoping to close the year in Hyderabad and maybe Calcutta and Pune also.
4. What’s your USP, what differentiates Minus 30 from the others? And who’s your target audience?
Our first USP would be our vegan and sugar-free products. They do exceedingly well and they're super healthy and we use really simple ingredients to make it. And the second USP would be that all of our gelatos have 30% less sugar than what’s actually available in the market. So, I mean, of course our vegan and sugar-free products are extremely healthy but even our regular products are really healthy.
And our target audience would be anyone 13 years old and above. But kids also love gelato, so the moment they can start eating/ they're allowed to after 1. My own kids were my tasters when they were just 2.
5. Are you guys still using the same recipe that you started with? And do you plan on venturing into other product categories also, say cookies?
Yes, we use the same recipes and nothing has changed in that aspect. And no, our focus remains gelatos.
6. How often do you launch new products? And do you do something special for the holidays, like Christmas or New Years?
It depends. Sometimes once in 6 months. Last year we only launched 1 product and that was our hot chocolate which we actually did for the winter , because we were primarily focused in Delhi and the winters had set in and we got a great response from that. We now have a few new products in the pipeline we’ve been hoping to bring out next year. It depends on the market and the customer reaction. We really like to get the product right so we don’t want to rush in and flood the market with products.
For holidays we have hampers and gift boxes and we have our hot chocolate which is actually really good and we do a vegan sugar-free version also which is quite tasty.
7. Since Minus 30 deals in different zones across India, have you found dealing with people’s different tastes and preferences in these regions to be difficult?
No, luckily for us 90% of the people like the products. There are some people who don’t like it but that % for us is very small. We don’t tweak the product because a lot of research goes into it before we finalize and launch a product. But you can’t make everyone happy so if 90-95% of people like the product that they’re getting, and with 80% customer retention, we like to think that we’re doing something right. But yes, we do customization and take special care of people’s medical conditions, or anything where they can’t eat the gelato as we’re selling.
8. Could you tell us something about your new collection? Like what’s coming up, what kind of products are in the pipeline?
It's under wraps and it’s something that we want to surprise everyone with. We’re in the testing phase just now and hopefully by next year we’ll be ready with it.
9. A highlight from your journey?
I’d say it’s the collective satisfaction of seeing the brand grow and the team that we have right now is the team that we’ve had since the start. We’re really proud of it because they’ve been with us through the journey and there’s nothing more satisfying than to see everybody grow together. And while we’re growing the company, while we’re growing the brand, we’re really happy that everyone is growing with it as well.
10. Is there any message you’d like to convey to the audiences?
For the brand, and for anyone who hasn’t tried it, it’s- taste it to love it. And from the business side of it, if you work hard and if you give it your best, then nothing is impossible.