Staying afloat

Covid turns biz upside down, boutique owner starts tiffin service

As pandemic-induced restrictions kicked in, people embraced simple weddings

Covid turns biz upside down, boutique owner starts tiffin service

Rashmi is receiving a good response to her new startup and the number of clients is increasing.

Charanjit Singh Teja

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 18

Rashmi was eagerly waiting for the wedding season to draw in which would have meant soaring of orders at her boutique. But Covid struck and turned her business upside down. Her sales witnessed a sharp decline. Initially, she felt that it would be a short-term crisis and things would get normal within a few months. But six months into the crisis, the business is still in the doldrums. To stay afloat, Rashmi decided to start a tiffin service from home last month.

“I faced huge losses in the boutique business as clients started cancelling their orders. I was waiting for the situation to normalise, but the things actually got worse. In the past six months, I have also exhausted my savings. I am the sole breadwinner in the family and I was without any other source of income, so I decided to start a new business to support my family,” said Rashmi.

Rashmi had been running her boutique for the past several years and the place was popular among women in the New Amritsar area. She was hopeful that before the start of wedding season, she would get a good number of orders. But due to the Covid-induced restrictions on gathering at marriages, people are choosing simple marriages or postponing their programmes.

“My regular customers told me that since no one is allowed to go out unnecessarily, there’s no use of getting new dresses. Unless the government gave relaxations, there was no hope of business getting back on track,” she said.

Rashmi quickly made up her mind to start a home restaurant and offer tiffin service. “My family members and relatives used to praise my cooking skills and often advise me to start some restaurant. But I was busy with my boutique and had no time to experiment with any other sector. Now that I had to do something new for livelihood, I chose to exhibit my cooking skills,” she said.

A large number of corporate employees, trainees and students reside in the New Amritsar area and there is no major market in nearby localities where one can get quality food.

Rashmi said: “There is an option of fast food available in the main market of New Amritsar but if you want to eat a traditional thali or chapattis you have to go to GT Road. The tenants in my neighbourhood would often discuss with me the non-availability of homemade food in the area. So it was an opportunity for me to start the tiffin service and and get the first mover advantage. I wanted to provide good food at an affordable price.”

Rashmi received a good response to her new startup and the number of clients is increasing with every passing day. “I use quality ingredients to prepare food that is safe and healthy. For me, it is a good experience and also feels like a service as with this I am feeding many. My customers are appreciating the food prepared by me and encouraging me to continue with the work,” added Rashmi.

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