Honey seems all set to replace the sugar bottle in homes, coffee houses, and restaurants, thanks to the public becoming more health-conscious. Like Winnie the Pooh, entrepreneurs are hot on its scent and eager to dip a finger into the sweet idea of the honey production business. One person who decided to leave his career behind to venture into this business is Neeraj Pathak, owner, and operator of Healtherio, honey production house. From working as a journalist to managing director of an HR consultancy firm to starting a company named “Healtherio”, his story is full of hard work and passion.
From a journalist to full time in the honey production business: Story of Neeraj Pathak
In 2002, he complete his graduation from DU with majors in economics, statistics, and international relations. Soon after, he started working as a journalist in the media for a couple of years. Post that, he did his executive MBA in the year 2010 and started working as a sales head in a solar energy company. Always being passionate to start his own business, he started an HR consultancy firm with his wife named “Map my talent” in 2012.
“A startup is 1% about the idea and 99% about the execution”
quoted Neeraj Pathak sharing his experience on success behind his startup
Although he thrived in his busy work environment and liked the fast pace of working, Neeraj found it challenging to maintain work-life balance and started struggling with health issues. This gave birth to his new startup idea.
“I continue to be a recruiter but just added a ‘dash’ of health to the life like never before”
says Neeraj Pathak
The birth of Healtherio
While he was working in his company, he and his wife started undergoing a lot of stress due to tight schedules and irregular sleep patterns. As a result, they started struggling with their health both physically and mentally. They felt the need to increase the immunity of their body.
Mrs. Pathak, a doctor, started taking pink rock salt with raw honey (fixed temp and quantity). Within a very short span of time, she started feeling better and energetic. This gave birth to the idea of Healtherio.
With a mission to provide the genuine products of honey to the masses, he started his company with his small bootstrapped amount. He used this money to set up machinery in his factory.
“Emphasising the final product we wanted, I and my wife designed the type of machine required to produce it. This helped us to bring down the cost of machinery from around 70 lakhs to 18 lakhs”
recalls Neeraj Pathak
To produce the finest quality of honey requires good raw honey. Albeit, he had no past experience of this business, his sheer passion and long-lasting primary research have helped him to identify the farmers and achieve success in this ecosystem as well.
“My learnings as a journalist have helped me to perform deep primary research and dig out the perfect farmers for the business”
says Neeraj Pathak reminiscing about his time as a journalist
Product development by Healtherio
With a mantra to always avoid any inorganic material in the product, they started developing with the first product. After the successful development and the positive feedback of this product from 90% of the users, they move ahead with the development of other products.
“It took us more than a year and half to develop 100% natural product, received positive feedback from 90% of the users”
says Neeraj Pathak
Each product developed under the banner of Healtherio has its own unique qualities. For instance, they developed products such as lemon-honey which helps in reducing weight, Tulsi-honey which helps in boosting immunity and ginger-honey which helps in curing cough and cold. All these products are based on personal experience and are quality tested.
“The products of Healtherio is also listed in the Amazon accelerator program and is being the first FMCG company to achieve this feat”
says Neeraj Pathak
When asked him about the things he does to take a brain break, he said
“When I work, I am always cool. Ask me to produce and keep selling honey for the whole day, I will not complain”
Opportunity for Healtherio
This dedication has helped him to produce the opportunity for Healtherio amidst the current crisis is also spectacular. In the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is emphasizing on the importance of immunity all over the world. Along with this, there has been a constant rise in health-conscious behavior in the public. The government has also started programs to support beekeepers in the states of Punjab, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and the parts of U.P., Rajasthan and Gujarat. All this has opened a big market for the honey production houses and thus, the market of honey is expected to rise from Rs. 2500 cr in the year 2019-20 to Rs. 3000 cr in the year 2020-21.
Suggestion to young businesses
Speaking from his experience, Neeraj Pathak gave suggestions to young businesses.
- Start early
“If anyone aspires to be an entrepreneur, he/she should start early in his life without waiting for lot of money and big infrastructure”
- Earn credibility
“Even though you are not able to earn a regular source of income, make genuine products and maintain good relations, this will help you in long term”
- Be Persistent
“I was not making money for initial few years but I continued to be in business, this helped me to achieve success”