Genslin Vinodh is an emerging entrepreneur who not just has a catchy tagline to her business model but also takes the very words “A Mom’s Promise” to her heart and lives by it. Get to know Genslin, the founder of Farm to Home that sells home made healthy, nutritious food products to its customers, talks about what led her to this amazing journey. She talks about her learning from her mother, how the business began and the need to keep her passion alive.
Genslin, so tell us, How do you do this?
I am always a health-conscious person. I take a great care of what I eat since my childhood. At home, whenever they bought some fruit jams or any other factory manufactured product when I was a kid, I took a good look at the list of ingredients that are added to that products. I started to learn how harmful some of those preservatives were. And that urged me to prepare my own home made food. I cook well naturally. Everyone at my home and my closed ones love my cooking. So, I began to make these home made foods as a hobby as I have got the skill for it. I never knew it would turn into something big. I don’t know if I am doing this as a business but it is definitely creating a family to me.
What keeps you going in this business?
I gather the energy to go on from my customers. They are much like family to me. I create such an emotional contact with them and available at their service regardless of whatever the time of a day. I take a great care at their child’s nutrition and answer them to their queries. The trust, they have developed over me and my products, makes me reach beyond my limits and keeps me going. At end of the day, the purpose of our existence and the contribution that we have made in our life are all that matters to us. I strongly believe it and I never want to stop doing it. And they have helped to spread the good word out there about my work. This spontaneous positivism, the support and the response , I find in common people, is what makes me keep going.
When did you realize you have to take your hobby as a business to the wide spectrum of people?
When the people who are benefited by my products come and tell me how their lifestyle is changed and how healthy they have started to become, this positive impact induces the confidence in me to take a leap. I realized the importance of being purposeful in life. I never got a negative impact for my products so far. I have got complaints about the transit issues of transferring the products to customers. The quality of my products are never questioned. I am really proud of that.
You lead it on your own..
How do feel about running your own business?
I am very conscious about the quality of my business rather concentrating on the profits. It feels good to have my own business and it comes with great responsibility to fulfill. It has been 2 years that I am doing this business. It all comes with the practice to ensure the standard of the taste and the quality to my food products. I have never noticed my income in this business got reduced anytime during the initial building-up of the business. It kept increased month after month. I felt very rewarding and motivated. It urged me to sustain in it. My initial investment was just Rs. 2,500. And I never anticipated this success. Now I work hard to keep the standard of my products intact. It is very difficult to earn a name for yourself. It is necessary to keep the trust at any cost.
And you used to run this business from your home?
I am still running this business from home. I have got 12000+ customers across the world, from UK, from Ireland, from Singapore and so many countries. I feel bad as their shipping cost is much more than the cost of product they are buying. But still, they make sure they buy it from me. I feel overwhelmed at the kind of response I am getting for my soulful work.
Take us back to the moment how it all began.
I am from Nagercoil. My mom used to prepare variety home made nutritious food. She was very stern about the kind of standard her food delivered. I learned my business ethics from my mother. She built the strong emotional connection with her customers too. She cared about what she did. My mom is my inspiration. I am B.E ECE graduate from Anna University. I am a rank holder in 2009 batch. I got placed in HCL but I didn’t thrive in the corporate environment. But I was pursued by my family to go to work just to explore what kind of world it was. I liked the people I worked with. But something was missing. I didn’t like to go to office just because I had to go. I wanted to do something that I like and tried to excel at it. But I didn’t find it yet. I got married and got a kid then. My mom passed away after that. I resigned my job to take care of my kid.
One day, I told my husband that I have to do something than just being at home. He is very supportive. He loves me unconditionally. I wasted his earnings initially while trying to build a food blog. But he really got my back at those tough times. Then he suggested that I do what I do the best among other things. I am always appreciated and motivated for my cooking and encouraged to do more and to try more by my colleagues, my neighbors, my friends. I was encouraged by my husband to start a facebook page for my food recipes using organic ingredients. Now we buy the organic ingredients from the certified farmers to keep the standard of my food products. Even my family men have got organic farms at their native places. We cook the foods using that organic items. Initially, it was just my husband and I in this business. We built it from the scratch, the procurement, the preparation and the packing. It was just 10 to 12 customers at the beginning. It only grew large with the good word of mouth through facebook and whatsapp group of friends and family. We started this on Feb 5, 2018.
I began to prepare some nutritional foods and the response was immense. The customers loved it as the food was nothing like in the shops. They found it was different and much more healthier. They wished me to go great heights. My food really felt like home for most of the people. And I am happy that, by God’s grace, I am indeed able to succeed at what I do. It has got a soul to it. I get customers from places I haven’t dreamed of. It all happened through the spread of words by the people who got benefited by the products.
Have you tried to advertise your products by any other means than just facebook and whatsapp?
No, I may not sound humble but my product is my best advertiser. It speaks for itself. I am very proud of something that I have created using my own hands and get appreciated for it. It is also a form of art, Isn’t it?. My mom used to say that the advertisements are louder for the things that lack in its standard. Good products don’t need that much of severe advertisement. Customer satisfaction is the key to the success. It will build up spontaneously. It always happened like that in my case. One customer would bring one or two more people just because that someone was satisfied with my work. The network and customer’s count grew in that way.
Tell us about the hard work behind your work..?
I am staying in Chennai, Selaiyur. We opt for parcel services to transport the products. Transportation is not much of an issue. But the preparation breaks the back for sure. One of the famous products with us is Nendhiram Powder. It takes an immense amount of hard work to prepare it. We procure the Banana from my hometown. I had to wake up 3 in the morning. I cut up them and dry them under the Sun and make them as fine powder. It takes a toll. I don’t know if anyone from this generation would put this much of hard work to build something like this. I am used to the hard work since my childhood days. I worked along with my mother on such these preparations and I think that prepared me for something bigger. It had a positive impact for me to work hard. I have people to help me now in my home town. They take care of the initial preparation and send them to me. I take them forward as the customers grew wider. Initially it was just me, now it is a team of 6 to 7 people.
How much do you think the people are aware of eating healthy food and leading a healthy life?
I think people are very aware of what they eat now. They want to eat healthy food. Our parents introduced us to white sugar and ceralac and stuffs. But parents from this generation are very wary about what they give it to their children. They don’t worry about the cost now. They buy palm sugar now because they just want their families to be healthier. The people from the previous generation are not really convinced of this wariness. There are some conflicts arise for being very wary of being healthy. It is hard to convince the older generation now.
Do you also play a part in creating awareness to your customers?
Yes, I have heard parents saying that their children fell ill after eating a store bought jam. It is hard to make the kids eat food that they don’t like. But the home made fruit jam I make is not creating any disturbance to the kids. The food products I add to my menu are actually coming from the customers’ suggestions and requests. I am making 180+ food products as of now. Store bought instant health drinks come with steroids. I tend to make natural health drinks that were being used at the time of our grandparents.
What are the machinery involved in the preparation of the products?
I had to use the flour mill for powdering. But anything other than that involves home preparations. We roast at home before powdering it unlike the store bought products. The difference is obvious from the aroma and standard of the products. It is very difficult to convince people that your product is good. They should use it and see for themselves. Then they would be convinced. I give them the product in minimum quantity to try it first as I am confident about my product that they would be coming back for more.
You found your passion in cooking.
Could you tell our readers how to find their passion along their way?
Passion is something flares inside a person. It keeps motivating them to pursue the passion. As Kalam said, A thing that doesn’t let you sleep, a thing that makes you to jump out of your bed everyday in the morning is what passion according to me. And every person should find what makes jump out of their bed. I was never like this when I was going to office. I used to wait for the weekends to be free of work. But now, I am working 24/7 and I am still happy. One should do anything with love. And I will always be rewarded. One should not just focus on profits and money but for the complete soul nourishment in a work they do with love. I think that’s what important.
Where do you see Farm to Home in the future?
My ambition is, that for all the health conscious people out there, when they want to buy something to enrich their health, I want them to be reminded of Farm to Home. The word about the standard and quality of our food products should reach further. We are almost there now. When the customers who are benefited by my products spread the word just because they are happy with the product makes me very happy and emotional. It creates such an impact to go farther and beyond. Again, it is very rewarding. Their love and support is very overwhelming. I am blessed to have got such customers who treat me like their family.
What would you say a memorable incident in your journey of Farm to Home?
A kid who was diagnosed with Cancer was going through chemotherapy. The kid felt nauseated and couldn’t eat any normal food. The kid’s parents asked me for suggestions. I listened to their food charts requirements and prepared foods for them. Luckily, the kid got accustomed to my food and began to eat all the food as usual. They thanked me and gifted me. It felt like an award. Things, like this, are what makes me keep going. Even when I want to stop doing this, the family I have got in the customers wouldn’t let me quit. I think of such positive impacts I have on many people and realize the necessity of keep doing what I do. I do a lot of research for my products and convince my customers with scientific facts. I try to know everything about why we follow such practices. That builds the trust towards the products. And I take a lot of care towards each and every queries of my customers. I answer their queries through voice notes in customers’ whatsapp group. They appreciate for the time that I take to answer them. They build a strong connection towards me and slowly become a close acquaintances. That’s really a rare thing to happen through online shopping.
Do you believe in luck?
I don’t believe just in pure luck. I believe luck only favours for the ones who work hard. Luck goes hand in hand with hard work. According to me, I work really hard and I have people telling me that I have reached great height in a short span of time due to my hard work. I do have to endure the physical pain but the love for my passion keeps me going.
Tell us about the love of your life..
My husband works in software company Taramani as a project Lead. He is very supportive. I couldn’t have asked anymore than this in my life. He never let me feel sad for not having a mother by my side. His love is unconditional. He is there always to have my back. I am very lucky to have got him in my life. Suppose my customers ask for 50 boxes of laddu to be delivered the next day, I wouldn’t have the boxes to pack. He goes out even if it is 10 pm to get what I want, even when he doesn’t find the shop for it, he tries until he finds it as he respects my word towards my business. He wants to honour that commitment. He goes in circle to make it possible everything I need. Even when he has a bad day at work, he prioritizes my happiness and respects my work. He is the backbone of this entire structure of business. I may be the face of it but he is equally sharing the burden.
Where did you find the spark to expand your business from 10 to 12 people to larger no. of people?
I am part of a whatsapp group called smart moms. I post my products there. That group was really helpful in the beginning stage of business to gather customers. There were many people in that group who do what I do. But I was appreciated and encouraged to do more. I felt, perhaps, I am doing the right thing. I build a great no. of customers through the group and that created a spark to expand it to large no. of people.
It is a lovely, inspiring conversation with a person who cares great deal about her business not just for profits but for the mere soul nourishment it brings in her life and every others lives she has touched upon in her journey.