fbpx
In this article

It all started amidst the pandemic.

At the time, Harleen Soin, who was originally from New Delhi, noticed a void in the market for homemade delicacies such as achar due to the inability to travel back home.

That’s when she had a lightbulb moment.

“We still had the ability to talk to our elders and learn and recreate their recipes,” she pointed out.

So, she decided to do just that. On top of learning the recipes, she also did research around the availability of materials and flavours. Once that was in place, she decided to open an online small-batch pickle business in Singapore.

Image Credit: INACHAR

As foodies, Harleen’s kids were the ones who encouraged her to start something in the F&B industry. It was also them who helped put things in place online in order to win the first sale.

“We initially spread the word through friends and family, sent samples and that more often than not converted to a purchase,” Harleen explained. “This process helped us build a pipeline and loyal customer base.”

With a solid base to start with, her achar brand, INACHAR, truly kicked off.

Filling a market gap

According to Harleen, a huge majority of achar products available in Singapore are actually imported from numerous brands in countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Aside from the lack of local options, Harleen also believes that there is not enough creative, and relatable messaging that promotes the health benefits of eating achar. There’s a lack of awareness behind the process of making it, too.

“This is where we feel there is an opportunity,” she determined.

Image Credit: INACHAR

Today, INACHAR is primarily ran by Harleen herself, who is also the head chef. Her kids help remotely when they have time, managing the brand’s online presence.

At the moment, they aren’t heavily involved in the business, but Harleen is happy to have their support.

“If anything, one has two more minds to bounce ideas off and question each decision, which often leads to healthy debate,” she mused. “One would definitely hope they can take this on full time some day and scale it beyond Singapore.”

Pick of the litter

INACHAR strives to use and promote age-old recipes that are supposedly healthier. The core values involve sourcing locally, using less oil, and ensuring there are no added preservatives and no added sugars.

“As a small-batch manufacturer of pickles, we focus on the fact that we have a stronger control over the ingredients we source from local vendors, allowing us to maintain high quality control that eventually leads to a final product befitting of upholding our standards,” she said.

Image Credit: INACHAR

She added that they believe people will resonate with the recipes that are a take on family or extended relatives’ recipes. Yet, Harleen also tries to play on more modern flavours, typically inspired by her travels.

“Guava Padi being an example of that and a tribute to our appreciation of diverse Asian flavours,” she explained.

The founder shared that she’s constantly playing around with new recipes, but not all make it into the jar.

“Having said that, we plan to launch more flavours this year and expand into some more food categories,” she said. “Fingers crossed!”

Each 200g jar of achar from the brand goes for S$12. Flavours include Mango Mojo, 24 Carrot Cauli, Feeling Chilli, Tomato Twist, Chick It Out, Bitsweet Gourd, and Guava Padi chutney.

For those craving something more, they also do achar orders in bulk.

A jar half-full

Starting out in the pandemic, INACHAR was highly dependent on their website for sales.

But today, INACHAR has expanded to Lazada and Redmart. On top of that, Harleen is also having conversations with specialty retailers to potentially stock INACHAR’s products.

Growing their physical presence, the brand has also begun displaying at events such as City Sprouts Markets.

“Getting out and showcasing our products at events is a great way for us to build awareness through tastings and face to face interaction with the public,” Harleen reasoned.

The journey has been challenging, especially when vendors run short on ingredients, thereby delaying time to market and money being left on the table.

Image Credit: INACHAR

When asked about how Harleen intends to grow the business, she said that there are a lot of ideas on her mind.

To start, the brand aims to continue growing their online presence, specifically on social channels.

But in the bigger picture, Harleen hopes INACHAR will be in more retail outlets across Singapore, and even partner with restaurants as their condiment of choice.

  • Learn more about INACHAR here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about startups here.

Featured Image Credit: INACHAR

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay updated with Vulcan Post weekly curated news and updates.

MORE FROM VULCAN POST

Singaporean

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Singapore

Edition

Malaysia

Edition