Entrepreneurship and Vision



AISHWARYA NAIR MATHEW'S TIPS ON GETTING AHEAD

Entrepreneur Aishwarya Nair Mathew wears several hats. A passionate health food brand owner, who is also a food and wine consultant - she sketches a wonderful story of inspiration and points out some pro tips on getting ahead in business. Read on! 

 

AMAI means sweet in Japanese. The inspiration for the brand came from my trips to Japan, particularly the visits to the local produce markets. Scouting new fruits, tastes and visually delectable delights were probably the highlights of my trip, except for the shopping of course! 

In Tokyo, I learnt the fundamental science of macrobiotics - which in its basis is just a way of pairing flavour, substance and the weight of a food, to match its nutrient value as a whole. 

Macrobiotics absolutely fascinated me - it was basically uncovering the art of Ying and Yang with food. It involved pairing complimentary flavours to benefit the overall consumption of the product created. I recall coming back from one trip, brimming with enthusiasm to try and create something of my own in this sacred space. 

So about 5 years ago, when the majority of trends in India were still big on macaroons and cupcakes, I moved on to towards greener pastures - quite literally. AMAI started off as a personal health introspection, which then lead to a full-fledged 18 product menu including a large variety of Vegan offerings. 

 

I’ve realised that the best subject matter for any product that you are developing is almost inadvertently yourself. It is the most honest, intimate opinion you can get, as there is no deception of how it reacts. 

This personal investigative angle made me realise that dairy and gluten were not really helping my lifestyle in any way. Once you get more in tune with your body and its needs, you start to consume more intuitively. Shortly after starting AMAI, I realised that I was not alone in my food sensitivities - which is quite literally why the brand has been successful. Currently, we vend through Scootsy and The Leela, Mumbai. 

I would like the reach to be more, but there are restrictions with the bigger carriers, namely Foodhall and Nature’s Basket, that have the capacity and space, but an abysmal connectivity for a small independent food brand. 

Even though AMAI is one of my core passion projects, I also dabble in Food and Wine consulting for corporate brands in India. I am also developing a lifestyle label for the working women called ALIGNE. 

Here are my top 3 business tips to achieve more:
  • Be clear with your business strategy from the start - your consumer research is really your best aid
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Write down your ideas in a business journal - you never know what magic can be created

 

 

Author Profile
Aishwarya heads the Corporate Food and Wine Merchandising at The Leela Palaces, Hotels. She has been instrumental in launching a luxury pastry brand called Dolce and has engineered a health food brand concept influenced by the principles of Japanese Macrobiotics called AMAI. She is the only woman in India to be felicitated with a Diploma d’honneur by the region of Champagne, the Comite Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne, for her efforts in creating dynamic wine lists. She has co-authored a coffee table cook book - ‘The Fine art of Food’.

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