Chilzo is a homegrown brand run by 3 women entrepreneurs cum family. They bring freshly made-in-India sauces with international flavors to your plate.
We interacted with the founders of Chilzo to bring the secret behind the business that believes in ‘serving the world on a platter.’ The brand serves about 11 flavours of sauces from different countries like Africa and Italy. But what brings these authentic flavours to India is a story of an employee turned entrepreneur while traveling around the world.
Cravings turned into a business idea
“I used to work abroad and my job included a lot of traveling, but when I returned to India during the lockdown, I missed those cuisines,” said Dikshita. That is when Diskhita and her sister Ojasvi, with their mother Hema’s help, started making different sauces at home to satiate cravings and kill time. These sauces were loved by their relatives and friends, and they inspired the mother-daughter trio to start a business.
The two sisters then started experimenting with the flavors and did trial and error for an entire year. “In 2021, we bought a small R&D machine that occupied our entire house,” said the founders. As none of them were from the food industry, it was very difficult for them to run the machines and understand the process of starting a food business. Finally, after consulting knowledgeable people, they launched their brand Chilzo and started offering products in the market in January 2022.
The trio shares the roles equally in the field of their mastery. Dikshita being from a computer and business marketing background focuses on marketing the products. Ojasvi being a Mechanical Engineer, run production and R&D while their mom Hema takes on the entire operations part of the business.
With the combined efforts of all three, as of now, the brand has 11 SKUs and ships PAN India. The main locations where Chilzo is available in stores are; Modern Bazaar in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Chandigarh, Natures Basket, and local Kirana stores in Mumbai, local markets of Kolkata and Goa. “We are soon going to open 26 more SKUs by the end of the year 2023,” said the brand owners.
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Straight out of Sichuan
Chilzo offers various flavors of sauces, mainly from Africa and Italy. They started with Red Harissa (Chilli Paste) which comes from Tunisia, and Green Harissa, which comes from Morocco, both being the staple food of the people in that region. “It was easy to launch with these products because every Indian included chillis while preparing the food,” said Dikshita.
The Italian range includes Arrabbiata, Marinara, and Pesto, all made with the traditional process of blanching the tomatoes for 8 hours. Another range of products that comes straight from the Southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan is schezwan and chili oil. “We import the Sichuan peppercorn (one of the main ingredients in authentic schezwan sauce) from Sichuan, where Schezwan was born,” said the founders.
Dikshita has personally visited all the places where the products originally came from and brought the authentic recipe back to India. At the same time, Ojasvi is personally involved in the production and Quality control process. “We use very particular species of ingredients in the process to make the sauces as authentic as possible,” said Ojasvi. Mostly all the raw material is purchased from local markets, and specific ingredients like Parmesan cheese from the place of their origin.
Empowering and Employing the Women
The brand places emphasis on the empowerment of women. With each purchase, a percentage of the proceeds contributes to the Women’s Relief Fund, dedicated to empowering marginalized women in society. Additionally, the brand proudly highlights that 90% of its staff consists of women.
“The cutest thing about Chilzo is that all three of us get time to spend together while doing something productive,” said the founders on being asked about the best part of the business.
1. One local brand that you source your ingredients from?
APMC Market, Vashi, Mumbai, to support the farmers.
2. Your favorite product from your brand?
Red Harissa for Dikshita, Chilli Oil for Ojasvi, and Hema.
3. One place in India whose cuisine you like the most?
Rajasthani cuisine (Dal Bhati Churma especially) for Dikshita, North Indian cuisine (especially Parathas) for Ojasvi.
4. Favourite dining place in your city?
Foo Asian Tapas in Mumbai.
5. One word to describe the amazing Mother-Daughter trio?
Trio North – Africano (referring to their product having a combo of Hot Red Harissa, Herbalicious Green Harissa, and Spicy and flowery Rose Harissa)
Also Read: Feel like home at these homestays run by mother-children duos!
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