Mountain Woman’s Salt Venture: From Modest Beginnings to National Recognition

Mountain Woman’S Salt Venture: From Modest Beginnings To National Recognition
Summary
Shashi Bahuguna Raturi, from Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, turned her passion for mountain cuisine into a successful business venture named Namakwali. Starting with an investment of Rs 1.5 lakh and only three women, Shashi’s enterprise now boasts an annual turnover of Rs 50 lakh. The company specializes in Himalayan rock salt, known as Pisyu Loon, enriched with local herbs and spices. Shashi’s efforts have empowered rural women and preserved traditional culinary practices. Her business, primarily operating on a direct-to-consumer model, has expanded its product range and gained national recognition. Shashi continues to inspire through her dedication to social work and women’s empowerment.

The Journey of Namakwali: From Humble Beginnings to Great Heights

Shashi Bahuguna Raturi’s story is a testament to how passion and dedication can transform lives and communities. Born and raised in Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, Shashi had a deep love for mountain cuisine. This passion led to the creation of Namakwali, a brand that celebrates the flavors of the Himalayas. With an initial investment of just Rs 1.5 lakh, Shashi’s venture has grown into a successful enterprise with an annual turnover of Rs 50 lakh.

The Birth of Namakwali

In 2018, Shashi started her business with only three women from her neighborhood. Her flagship product, Pisyu Loon, is a Himalayan rock salt enriched with a blend of fresh herbs and spices. This unique salt is known for its digestive benefits and ability to neutralize acidity. Ingredients like mint, coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chili are carefully ground using traditional methods, ensuring a high-quality product that resonates with customers.

Empowering Women and Preserving Tradition

Shashi’s venture is not just about business; it’s about empowering women and preserving culinary traditions. The women who work with her handpick the ingredients from the high-altitude areas of the Uttarakhand Himalayan range. The process involves grinding the salt using a “sil-batta” and packaging it with a touch of love and tradition. This approach has helped Namakwali gain popularity in major metropolitan cities across India.

Expanding the Product Range

Namakwali

Namakwali has grown beyond its initial product offering. The company now has 21 SKUs, including mountain honey, turmeric, cow ghee, chutney powder, and pulses. These products range in price from Rs 120 to Rs 2,800 and are available on Amazon, Flipkart, and the Namakwali website, which accounts for 70% of sales.

Shashi’s Background and Inspiration

Shashi completed her intermediate education at Government Girls Inter College, Dehradun. Even during her student days, she was passionate about empowering women. Before starting her business, she ran an NGO, Mahila Nav Jagran Samiti, established in 1982, focusing on women’s empowerment. Shashi’s early involvement in social work, including starting a kindergarten for children whose parents collected firewood, laid the foundation for her future endeavors.

The Rise of Pisyu Loon

Pisyu Loon, once an essential part of hill cuisine, had lost its prominence over time. Shashi wanted to revive this tradition and empower women through their culinary skills. By collaborating with Mahila Nav Jagran Samiti, she produced and distributed flavored salt across the country. Social media played a crucial role in showcasing the variety of local salts, leading to orders from all over India and inspiring Shashi to think bigger.

Namakwali

Establishing Yellow Hinsar Pvt Ltd

In September 2020, Yellow Hinsar Pvt Ltd was officially registered. Today, Namakwali’s products are in demand nationwide, with customers from cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune. Shashi continues to use social media to share stories and reach a wider audience. Her family, including her husband Vipin Raturi and sons Suvendu and Navendu, supports her in the business.

Family Support and Business Growth

Suvendu, a documentary filmmaker and photographer, returned from Spain during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Seeing his mother struggle with social media orders, he decided to list the products on Amazon and launched the Namakwali website. Since 2022, Suvendu has been fully involved in the business, helping it grow further.

The Manufacturing and Packaging Unit

Namakwali’s head office is located in Upper Tunwala, Dehradun, with no branches or franchises. The company employs 15 women in a 1,200 square foot manufacturing and packaging unit. Shashi plans to expand offline by placing products in supermarkets and stores in metropolitan cities and opening their own stores internationally.

Future Aspirations

Dressed in traditional attire and embodying the culture of the mountains, Shashi aims to create awareness about traditional cuisine both in India and abroad. She wants to highlight the efforts of the women in her community, ensuring that their culinary traditions are preserved and celebrated.

The Impact of Namakwali

Shashi’s story is a powerful example of how one person’s passion can create significant change. By starting Namakwali, she has not only built a successful business but also empowered countless women and preserved cultural heritage. Her efforts have gained recognition and support, proving that with determination and a clear vision, anything is possible.

Conclusion

Shashi Bahuguna Raturi’s journey from a small village in Uttarakhand to building a successful business is truly inspiring. Her dedication to empowering women, preserving culinary traditions, and creating high-quality products has made Namakwali a household name. Shashi’s story reminds us that with passion, hard work, and support, we can achieve great things and make a positive impact on the world.

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