• For the love of chocolate: Rupali Samat at Choc Le’

    She may not be a chocolate maker per se, but as far as making a chocolate business successful goes, Rupali Samat knows all the tricks of the trade. A Bachelors in Management Studies in Marketing from H.R.College and Masters in Entrepreneurship from Foundation for Liberal and Management Education (FLAME) equipped her to handle the marketing and business development section of Choc Le‘, founded by her mother Neelam Samat. And that’s what she has been doing, driven by her family passion for, what else, chocolates! We spoke to her for some yummy tales. Read on.

    Taking on the marketing and business development section of the family business

    The undying passion for chocolates and the innate desire to create a legacy as a chocolatier led me to leave my 9 to 5 job and head to Choc Le’. The sheer joy that I get from understanding my client’s needs and converting that into a chocolaty-reality whilst innovating in this space is absolutely unparalleled.

    I had resisted the urge to follow my heart for a longtime; and walked the tried and tested path whilst working with Reliance ADAG. The profile at Reliance Infrastructure was with the Project Finance team, giving me an exposure to syndication and finance projects worth INR 10,000 crores. With an interesting and comprehensive work experience for more than four years across different organizations and senior profiles, arose the inner calling encouraging me to leave the promising professional world for building a career at Choc Le’.

    The recipe that created Choc Le’

    Chocolates have been part of my life since the very early years; it’s something everyone in the family relishes. This sinful indulgence was lurking somewhere as my mum delved into it in the early 90’s, whereas I moved on to do my masters and take up a job in the professional world. However, few years into my stint, realization surfaced to build a “chocolate” business professionally. Although my capabilities don’t lie in the cooking domain, both my parents are trained from Barry Callebaut. Hence, I took up my real calling – to be with Choc Le’ and build it up as a professional set up with the support of a talented team.

    Rupali Samat  with mother Neelam Samat, creating Choc Le'

    Undying love for chocolates: Rupali with mother Neelam Samat at Choc Le’

    Established only few years back, Choc Le’ today stands with a brilliant team that actually comes with a combined expertise of 3 decades, one of the largest per day capacity to produce desserts (250kgs) and chocolates (800kgs), works closely with the Corporate, Cafe and Restaurant industry (attending to a countrywide requirement) and has established a robust packaging and delivery model for the company.

    Today at Choc Le’, we deliver a varied selection in chocolates as well as the best in desserts. The chocolates are available for corporate orders, whereas the desserts are only served through the B2B channel for restaurants, hotels and café chains.

    It’s not what they have or what others lack, the trick lies in how a woman balances a lot in her life to bring alive her passions and dreams.

    The initial challenges

    Building the right team to create a professional setup and ensuring every employee is driven to match the vision at Choc Le’ was a challenge in the initial years, which is true for all businesses. Beyond that honestly, being a woman meant crossing all hurdles with support from family and friends. Financial support was more than abundant with banks and investors always available.

    It was a blessing because personally there was no ‘fighting conventions’ or ‘breaking family barriers’. Chocolates and desserts for my family have been never only a Business, it’s more like first love for indulgence.

    Also read: Catering to your sweet tooth: India’s Best Pastry Chefs 

    The inspirations

    Inspiration and Motivation came in different variants to me.

    From my mother who  created this baby to my entrepreneurship professor Mr. Parag Shah who helped me with the initial financial requirements, which pushed me to make this big move. And then my business coach Mr. Parshuram who helped me define my business segments and strengths.

    The delicacies of Choc Le'

    An Apple tart served up at Choc Le’

    The strengths women bring to a workplace

    Perseverance, possibility, gratitude and undying strength are just a handful of words that signify a woman. It’s not what they have or what others lack, the trick lies in how a woman balances a lot in her life to bring alive her passions and dreams.

    Coming from a family of three women – two daughters and a mother – neither of my parents ever pushed for seniority or ‘head of the house’. Instead we were often reminded to push our limits. Hard work and effort is a given, be a man or a woman, it’s a journey to reckon when you fall off the ‘herd’ and stay confident to aspire what others aren’t looking for or haven’t seen yet.

    The traditional war between men & women entrepreneurs is a bygone. Everyone is blessed with opportunities but harnessing the same is what makes the difference.

    The greatest achievement so far

    Achievements at Choc Le’ got shaped in multiple packages. Creating niche products and international premium chocolates like soft fills (with flavours like orange, citron, hazelnut) and almond pralines. Designing a professional manufacturing setup with being one of the first ones to import a machine from Belgium for chocolate production, hence creating large capacities that of 800 kgs per day. Eventually building clients in the corporate and restaurant space for our customised options.

    In the 1st year of my business, we backed an order of almost 3 tonnes from VW for their launch of Beetle with customised beetle shaped chocolates. Our capacity and professional approach to being a chocolatier helped us build this credibility with renowned clients.

    Choc Le' and the art of making chocolates

    Pure chocolate indulgence at Choc Le’

    The single most important reason for success

    A committed set of people, a strategic team that has stood by your dreams and wishing Choc Le’ to be a huge factory manufacturing, breaking through geographical limitations.
    Sheer belief in my madness to build segments for desserts and chocolates in the B2B format 

    Choc Le should be engraved in memories as offering a sweet-tooth madness that elevated experiences to another paradigm! If your product makes customers happy and if your team believes they can grow together – then this will create impressive memories that  any brand would be delighted to live by. And that’s exactly what we intend to do.

    Also read: Pie Charts: Bakery Puts Gender Inequality Stats On Its Cakes

     The number of women entrepreneurs today is heartening

    The traditional war between men & women entrepreneurs is a bygone. Everyone is blessed with opportunities but harnessing the same is what makes the difference.

    It’s a slow but definite transition and acceptance that women are best at whatever they do. Couple this with the brilliant advent of social media and awareness about opportunities in the market, India is witnessing the steady presence of women entrepreneurs – which is here to stay. It’s a delight to be part of this journey and wouldn’t wish to trade it with anything at all!

    One piece of advice for women… 

    Keep Walking and you shall never find yourself walking alone – Mother Teressa  

    Being a business woman is no different than a man running a business, it simply boils down to how we think and grow. There is no fixed mantra and never can be. But what we can ensure is to stay focused, not compromise but ask what has changed.