I pursued a Master’s in Industrial Engineering in the US, but little did I know that most of the jobs I applied for didn’t work out during the recession. To my luck, I ended up getting a cake with Nestle. Most MBAs and most Marketers would aspire to go to Nestle; well, for me, such a thought never occurred in my mind. I eventually took the job. Here I managed the supply chain management arena, and it was like a new world to me. You could say it was like a kid in the candy store where I was learning every aspect through passing days. I eventually started getting hungrier and hungrier and started picking up things, and I fell in love with it. That was my first glance at the FMCG world, says Maulik Mistry, the MOJO Bars founder.
Back in 2013, I was looking at business opportunities in India. Since I come from a business background, starting something of my own was always the landmark plan. It was in the US, when I spoke to a few friends, that I was introduced to some of my co-founders; one of them being Chirag; he was from a market research background. So, I had to sit with him to understand India’s market structure since I was away from the country for about 6 to 7 years. I knew that I didn’t see every inch of what was happening in India. Hence, I took the stance of figuring out a perspective.
While researching, we realised a considerable market for snacking space. We saw opportunities for the next 20 to 30 years in the snacking arena. When we take a typical case scenario, people lose their regular meals, breakfast, lunch or dinner, but people always love binge eating snacks. That is when it strikes us; why not binge eat on something healthier.
However, this wasn’t a new concept in the US market. Additionally, we could see that the advertised products didn’t seem healthy. We were to build was an amalgamation of healthy snacking options and a high-grade taste snack. I realised it was the right time to take the plunge. A combination of the two has distinguished MOJO Bars in this industry.
During the first year of our business, we met another co-founder of ours, a nutritionist and a few other exciting personalities who helped us. We were a full team where everyone was working part-time, and I was working full time. As co-founders, we decided that once we launch MOJO Bars in the market, they would quit their other jobs and dedicate full-time effort to our venture.
Chirag Bhatia, Kunjan Parekh and I launched MOJO Bars in 2015. The three of us have different experiences and skills that complement each other. We initially started with our MOJO Bar. Over time we also included Dark Chocolate Thins, Roasted & Protein Rich Bites and several other snacks. The idea behind the MOJO Dark Chocolate Thins came from a habit of eating something sweet after a meal. The best part about MOJO Dark Chocolate Thins is it comes in portion-controlled packaging. So that our consumer doesn’t end up eating more, they indulge in something they love yet it is in a controlled portion.
So, around 2014 after speaking to a lot of people we across the factor of taste. Taste is something that one cannot give up on, especially Indians; they love their flavour. We kept the taste factor in mind that our product should be convenient, healthy, snack, and it shouldn’t be stale. We focus on health, specifically and holistically.
In fact, in 2020, just like the other businesses, we had a few sales in the initial months, and we didn’t know what to do. The path was full of uncertainty. We were pivoting our business. Even the major e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Flipkart refused to supply our products because our products weren’t categorised as essentials. We eventually had to design our website in a way wherein the customers can directly buy from us now.
It was hard but not impossible. Slowly things started opening up. The good thing is that we were allowed to rethink. The pandemic not only destroyed the existing assets but also helped us build new assets. The most satisfying thing for me as an entrepreneur is to see things grow because you’ve put in a lot of hard work.
Maulik Mistry, the co-founder of MOJO Bars, firmly believes that being an entrepreneur will keep you going. There will be challenges every single day. There is never going to be a time when you are going to slow down. Entrepreneurs are always interested, and those who have a curious mind always turn out to be the best entrepreneurs. This is because they will always go in to hunt for a solution to every problem. Sustaining two critical situations in his business, Maulik and his team made their way clear through the mighty pandemic.