Startup

VEGSSUP | Promoting a Healthier way to life

“Follow your dreams. One should never stop dreaming. You might achieve something and miss out on others, but you need to keep working towards your goals”- Ashima Jain, Founder and CEO, Vegssup, in an engaging interview with the Startup story.

Vegssup promotes vegetarianism and a plant-based lifestyle by using natural substances that are healthy, sustainable, and cruelty-free. Ashima in her interview with Startup story opened up about her personal connection and belief that was closely related to her venture. Being passionate about vegetarianism and relying on more natural things was imbibed within her over time. While she was growing up, she was continuously surrounded by animals and nature. Her father who was in the Indian Forest Services and her family who are incredibly supportive of the cause have always been her biggest strength through her journey of setting up Vegssup. Ashima has been a Femina Miss India finalist and has spent close to 8 years in the media industry, post which she was tempted to take the path of entrepreneurship moving forth with a cause and setting up a brand she is highly dedicated to.

VEGSSUP, A VEGETARIAN WAY

When the Startup story asked Ashima about the name of her start-up she said that it meant ‘vegetarian up’, a connotation similar to ‘heads up’, which means helping people prioritize everything vegetarian and bring it up in their lifestyle. The name of her startup clearly states the cause and the focal point of her startup. Having started from a single Instagram post, Vegssup has now grown big in just ten months of their launch. They engage around 15k users online.

“Be focussed, there are cycles of highs and lows but you need to be a fighter”- Ashima Jain while talking about her journey of Vegssup.

Vegssup has been recognized under the Government of India Startup India program and has partnered with many brands and influencers so far, furthermore, they are connecting to Indian origin brands resonating with their theme and cause. They aim to promote wellbeing through a plant-based lifestyle and promote more Indian-based natural & organic local products and services, quoting Ashima “We as a country are blessed to have a rich culture and variety of foods and lifestyles that are healthy and nutritious, the entire world is taking note and adopting Indian traditional practices”.

Also, with different campaigns started by the government of India to promote good health & fitness, people are getting more aware about leading a healthy lifestyle. Covid-19 has proved to be another inflection point in the adoption of vegetarian and traditional Indian products & superfoods. Alternative lines of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Naturopathy are also witnessing mass scale adoption among urban Indians. People have started to go back to their roots. They are becoming more conscious of what they eat, what they wear, what products they use, etc.

THE TEAM AND CHALLENGES THEY HAVE FACED

When asked by the Startup story to tell something about her team and the challenges they had warded off together, Ashima said they are a small but powerful team. Her team is highly dedicated, and she allows them to have an open hand so that the flow of ideas does not stop. She believes in a democratic form of leadership. Interestingly, her team also includes the chief happiness officer, Cherry, the golden retriever dog who helps them release some tension at work.

As for challenges, she says “they are a part of the journey and are accompanied with excitement”. However, they have had more learning experiences together. Some of the challenges faced included curating the right content for their audience, picking the right set of employees and partners for the company, etc.

FUTURE PLANS AND DEVELOPMENT

As far as the future plans for Vegssup are concerned, Ashima said that they already own a prominent digital stronghold with around 15k followers online. They wish to create a platform that educates its users and offers curated products in a marketplace model in line with the overarching theme of vegetarian, responsible, natural, and traditional but yet making them accessible to all.

They are in the early stages of fulfilling the business model and having established the media platform part of the business plan while generating revenue, they are now keen to build the marketplace as a next logical step and are happy to engage with prospective investors.

WHAT MAKES VEGSSUP UNIQUE

When encouraged by Startup story, Ashima elaborated that “Vegssup is one of its kind platforms, focused on vegetarianism and natural lifestyle”. She explained that in India there are platforms that promote veganism or other forms of diets, but vegetarianism as a whole has only been undertaken by them. The content that they choose and promote is based on relevance and popularity and curated according to the audience. Overall, they have been covering people’s preferences and enhancing their knowledge about vegetarian products, services, and alternative forms of medicine.

Having noted that how fast-paced lifestyle, quick service food formats, moving away from nature are some of the problems faced by Indians, they wish to create a platform based on the 3Cs- Content, Community, and Choice, thereby engaging and enabling users through the value chain of all things vegetarian and natural.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK

The feedback for Vegssup has been great until now. They have been receiving tons of messages regularly online and have been making sure to be responsive to their audience. Ashima says that the “audience is their main focus”. They have been experimenting regularly to find the correct way to keep them engaged and informed.

A MESSAGE FOR THE READERS

“Everyone expects a startup to be super-fast and sometimes one is subject to needless comparisons, thereby making you forget as to why you set out to do something in the first place. Allow yourself the time to experiment, learn and enjoy what you are building while taking note of areas of improvement. Building a business is a marathon”- Ashima Jain, Founder and CEO, Vegssup.

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