The Paan Story: Resurging Tale of a Decadent Treat

The Paan Story| Paan Centers| Paan Ice Cream| Paan flavour |Paan business
Naushad Shaikh | Founder | The Paan Story

Paan has always been defined as part of a cultural trait in India. It has been mentioned in the books, newspapers, flashed in magazines, and even has its own Bollywood song. Its legacy as a refresher has always been relished to the heart’s content by a lot of people across the country as well as abroad. To think that this traditional mouth freshner can turn out to be something different was unimaginable. But, Naushad Shaikh – Founder of The Paan Story, has redefined how we eat paan on a benignant level. Let’s read how:

Tell us how the idea of your start-up came about.

I was running a traditional Paan shop along with my father while in college, I went for higher studies and completed MBA from Rizvi Management Institute from Mumbai (Batch 2005-2007). While pursuing an MBA, I made a ‘Business Plan’ for an inter-college B-School competition. I took this presentation to Prof. Cyrus Gonda for his feedback on the same. Professor revered it as a very unique idea and said I must move forward with it on my own.

Then, I got placement from college in MNC ‘Haier.’ After that, I worked with Whirlpool, LG and all based in Mumbai. Then I worked with HP in Saudi Arabia and returned in Sept 2018.

When I came back, I got an offer from an MNC, but I did not accept that lucrative offer and decided to bring my business plan, from ppt to the real world. So, in April 2019 I launched ‘The Paan Story.’

What services/products/solutions do you offer?

We offer 100% Tobacco Free, Spit Free Gourmet Paan, Mukhwas and Paan Ice Cream.

What were the challenges you came across during the inception of your startup?

When I first told my family, my wife, and my friends, everybody thought that I was crazy. Somehow, I convinced my wife and my parents, and they supported me by telling me to do whatever my heart wanted. Real Estate was another big challenge because, in Mumbai, I was looking for spaces just to sell ‘Paan,’ in an area of 240-250 sq. ft. Many refused to provide me so just because the product was Paan.

Is your company bootstrapped or have you received funding, or do you plan on approaching investors?

Yes, it is bootstrapped.

As the founder/CEO, what is your opinion on the current landscape of startup culture in India?

‘Startups’ are like the Sun. They will keep coming until the Sun is there in the Universe.

According to you, how important is it to be updated with technology as per your industry sector?

‘Technology’ has become ‘DNA’ for all businesses. The health of your business is directly proportional to the technology that you are associated with. We give more focus on Social Media because everything is linked to it nowadays. If ‘Social Media’ changes, we will shift our focus accordingly.

How do you strategize on scaling your company in the future?

It’s very clear for us. When we think of coffee, ‘Starbucks’ automatically comes to our mind. Similarly, when we think ‘Paan,’ I want every person to think of The Paan Story.

For Scaling up below options are justified:

  1. Franchisee Mode (Already in talks with many franchisee takers in different parts of cities across India)
  2. Luxury Weddings (We did it at Le Meridian, Kochi)
  3. Corporate Events (In the negotiation stage)
  4. Online Like Swiggy /Zomato (Already on Zomato and Swiggy)
  5. SIS Model (Very Soon with the biggest retailer in India)

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