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An Ayurveda doctor advised the mother to give pure honey to her sick child. Not long after, the mother turned into an entrepreneur procuring organic, mountain honey and selling it across India.
Sridevi Manikandan, a resident of Teynampet in Chennai, has been marketing organic, mountain honey through her business Ecomom Natural & Herbal Traders, since 2017. Ecomom boasts of customers from all over India. She is seeing a market opening up in the US and Canada also.
Sridevi’s sweet journey started when her 10-year-old son had chronic cold and fever. She went to various doctors. An Ayurveda physician told her that giving him pure, organic honey will help boost his immunity. Sridevi then went in search of pure honey that had no additives. As she hails from Mettupalayam, she was able to get pure mountain honey from the tribal people living there. Her father procured the honey and sent it to her.
Sridevi found that the honey that the tribal people of the Nilgiris collected directly from hives on rocks and tree trunks helped her son get better. So, she got the same honey and gave it to her friends. She realized that there was a market for pure organic honey as the substance that was available in shops and supermarkets in the name of honey had other ingredients such as sugar, and was not pure.
Sridevi found that the honey that the tribal people of the Nilgiris collected directly from hives on rocks and tree trunks helped her son get better. So, she got the same honey and gave it to her friends. She realized that there was a market for pure organic honey.
She hit upon the idea of a business to market the forest honey. Her husband encouraged her. Sridevi had just lost her job and her husband felt this would help her. Sridevi then went to Mettupalayam to meet the tribal people in the Nilgiris from whom her father had procured the honey.
Initially, the tribal people refused to help her. They had had a bad experience with other honey marketing firms. They said initially the firms offered them the price they demanded but soon started paying them less once they set up the supply chain which began providing them the income. The tribal people feared that Sridevi too would also rob them of their hard work in collecting the money.
Sridevi was unfazed. She often went along with the tribal people often to collect honey. She found that they collected the honey during the night from the forest. The darkness helped the tribal people escape being stung by the honeybees, which could even be fatal.
Initially, the tribal people refused to help her. They had had a bad experience with other honey marketing firms. They said initially the firms offered them the price they demanded but soon started paying them less once they set up the supply chain which began providing them the income
The tribal people had to make their way through pitch darkness inside the forest and go up the mountains to collect the honey. Her experience with them, made her realise how much hard work was involved in collecting the pure honey. She promised the tribal people that she would never sell them short. She agreed to pay the price they sought for the honey upfront. Finally, she managed to convince the tribal people to support her business.
Honey is collected twice a year. December to March and June to July are the two fruit bearing seasons. In the forest areas, mango, orange and banana season starts in December. The flowers that the trees bear during this season are a source of nectar for the bees. Sridevi says the honey that is collected between April and June has an herbal quality to it.
After the honey is collected, it is then packed and marketed. The honey can be consumed for 18 months from the date of collection. The label on the Ecomom’s bottle mentions the date of collection of the honey.
Sridevi distributes about 1-1.5 tonnes of honey every year, all through direct sales. The annual turnover is about Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. In the beginning, she used to go to shops to sell the honey. But now all her sales are direct to customer, after she took her business online (https://ecomom.in/). You can also place an order on Whatsapp at +91 99416 56184.
Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani doctors are among Sridevi’s customers. She says diabetics also buy her honey because it has less content of sugars (fructose, glucose and sucrose which naturally occurs in raw honey). Sridevi believes that honey is not just a medicine but a food item that can be consumed every day by most people for good health.
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