A young woman from a small village in Kerala has defied all odds to establish a thriving enterprise specialising in healthy food products made from bamboo rice and skin wellness products from beeswax. Now, with a monthly income of over Rs 50,000 from her venture, Viji Sreekumar of Pathirapilly in Alappuzha, Kerala, has not only transformed her life but has also become an inspiration to other women.
Viji, who did her diploma course in fashion designing, started her own venture ten years ago because of her passion for cooking. It was her relentless spirit and ambition that drove her to dream big and take bold steps towards self-reliance despite having no prior knowledge of business models.
Viji’s entrepreneurial journey began when she started making pickles and selling them at different exhibitions. However, her desire to offer unique products to people led her to explore value-added products from bamboo rice and other natural ingredients.
“I love cooking and started exploring products that can offer a unique taste. I now offer 100 varieties of payasam mixes made from ash gourd, Chinese potato, carrot, beetroot, and jackfruit,” Viji said, adding that she started making value-added food products from bamboo rice after learning about its health benefits. “I conducted research and found that the Adivasi community used to consume a lot of bamboo rice due to its rich fibre content, proteins, and vitamins. So, I started making different dishes from bamboo rice, including payasam. Soon, the products became an instant hit,” Viji told “Open Digest.”
Viji now sells bamboo payasam mix, rice powder, kanji mix, and a bamboo rice-based protein powder called Bamboo Vita under the brand name AVS.
Her innovation didn’t stop with food products, and she soon started offering a simple range of homemade skincare products. Viji’s dedication and commitment paid off as she expanded her product line to include skincare products like lip balm and face cream made from beeswax. “The District Industries Centre in Alappuzha offered me total assistance to launch the products. My husband, Sreekumar, is completely supportive of my efforts. After years of hard work, we now have a strong clientele with steady orders coming from people across the country.
Viji’s success has proven that with determination and a willingness to learn, even those with limited resources can create thriving businesses that can positively change their lives and the lives of others.