Uma Chandrasekar and Uma Natarajan became friends by virtue of going for a morning walk every day in Chennai. The sexagenarians would catch up every morning, exchange pleasantries and chit-chat about their respective families while they got their day’s exercise and step count tackled.
Little did they realise that this friendship that started in a park would turn into a rather lucrative business venture.
Uma Mamis, the brand created by both the ladies, has been doling out sweets, savouries and even pickles of various kinds for people not just in Chennai but from Europe, the UK and even the US.
For Chandrasekar, it all started five years ago, in 2017, when her daughter was getting engaged. “There were many savoury items that needed to be prepared and I was happy to do it all at home,” she tells The Better India.
She made the murruku (savoury crunchy snack), which immediately became a big hit with everyone who tasted it. Even before that, she recalls taking on small orders from friends and family. “Making such a large quantity for the function gave me the motivation to take this forward,” she says.
Popular items on the menu are the murukku, adhirsam (traditional south Indian sweet made of jaggery and rice flour), mixture and a variety of sweets.
Having started small from their home kitchen, the duo is now shipping the products all across the globe to customers. “This has happened only via word of mouth. Many of the customers who take our products overseas share it with friends and family there and that leads to more orders for us,” says Chandrasekar.
Friends turned business partners
The two Umas have known each other for over seven years now and Natarajan says, “In fact, her name on my phone was stored as ‘Walking Uma’ for the longest time. That was how our friendship blossomed.”
“Since we are both Uma, we decided to call ourselves Uma Mamis. This is a venture born out of sheer passion. Neither of us was looking to turn this into any sort of big business. The best part is we can work as per our own schedules and take on just as much as we are able to do,” says Chandrasekar. The duo is committed to ensuring that their family does not in any way suffer because of this venture.
They proudly declare that they are now at a stage where they are able to say no to orders they feel they cannot take on. “It feels good to be in this position. We do want to grow the venture, but at a pace that we are both comfortable with,” says Chandrasekar.
On the investment made into this venture, the duo says that they never put a number to what they started with.
“Since we work out of home, the ingredients and utensils that we need are already at our disposal. We never made a note of what that was. In terms of orders, one of the largest orders we have received so far is for Rs 80,000 during Diwali,” says Natarajan.
“We want to try and cross that Rs 1 lakh mark this year, let’s see,” adds Chandrasekar. She also adds that since all the work is done by the duo, her husband also helps when it comes to bulk order packaging.
“We have all the support we need from our respective families, that is what makes the job easy for us.”
Rama Lakshminarayanan, one of the many regular customers of Uma Mamis’ says, “If I were a teacher I would give each product that they make 100 marks. The cleanliness, quality and top-notch taste of each product that they makes that makes them stand apart. Even in terms of pricing, I would say they are on par with any other commercial venture.”
On average, 1 kg of regular sweets and savouries will cost you Rs 450 and for sweets with almonds and cashew, 1 kg will cost Rs 550. One can also order various kinds of podi (powder) for Rs 100 for a 250 gm packet.
Rama adds that while every product that is made by Uma Mamis are a hit in her household, she enjoys the kadalai urundai (Peanut jaggery balls) the most.
To place an order or explore the range of products that the duo makes, click here or call on +91- 98402 83722.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)