Dianath Arshad - Cofounder, BREA
Dianath Arshad – Cofounder, BREA

Launched in the month of February 2014, BREA is bread and baked products start up. It is Derived from the Frisian Language, spoken in North Netherlands meaning – Bread. With BREA, they aim to make the humble bread an intricate part of people’s life and also a staple. The name is intriguing and drives the focus toward the product. They also want to take the consumers back to their roots highlighting the “goodness of baking”.

The freshness, the ingredients are our heroes and they want to take the consumer to the concept of healthy baking. BREA is spearheaded by 2 Founders Dianath Arshad and Mothasim Arshad. While Dianath looks after the business development and finance, Mothasim takes care of the new product development and operations. We are publishing an interview of Mr. Dianath Arshad.

BREA was conceptualised in the year 2014. The family was (ARE) third generation bakers. They (AND) have been in the baking business for about 120 years. There was no time for an inspiration as such because the concept came from the heart and we have lived through this. The family (STORY) started with AM Bakery (AND) for about 2 decades from 1940 to 1960, (JUST) serving the humble bread and bakery items to the British Army.

Dianath Arshad & Mothasim Arshad - Cofounders, BREA
Dianath Arshad & Mothasim Arshad – Cofounders, BREA

In 1960 the family came-up with Crown Bakery; andwere the pioneers of decorative cake making and (INTRODUCED EUROPEAN) confectionary in Bangalore. Post that, the brother duo (were the franchisees for cakewalk a Chennai based brand in Bangalore and ran 2 outlets under that brand name) worked as a franchise model with Cake Walk for about a decade. In the year 2000, under the parent company, Renowned Foods, both Dianath and Mothasim (GOT INTO THE B2B BUSINESS OF SUPPLYING) supplied bakery, snacking, institutional bakery solutions to Multiplexes, Theaters, Malls, Corporate Houses and leading Coffee and Restaurant chains across Bangalore. Then in the year 2014, BREA was born.

Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: We are self- funded. We started with a seed investment of 4 lacs (and a dream of having our bread on every breakfast table in Bangalore) and (today our retail products are available at 250 MT & GT outlets across Bangalore) we are at 250 stores we want (which we target to grow to 500 outlets) to have 500 stores by the end of 2020. We are also looking for further investment.

Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Bring back the goodness of baking- counter all the questions about unhealthy baking and break the myth around bread and baked /bakery products. (bread is a life source and is the prime reasons we humans are a socialistic being today. Wheat was one of the first grains to be domesticated and cultivated by man along with Barley and Maize after which man gave-up the nomadic way of life and settled in societies). We want to address all the misinformation surrounding the industry today (making bread the forgotten way) bread has been the way of life in many countries and we aim to make it a staple here. We want to take the consumer back to the roots, introduce them to freshness, goodness that has seemed to be forgotten.

Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
We have emphasized on the originality of the product and the process of manufacturing. Our product is our hero. We use non-bromate improvers (made of natural herb & plant extracts) natural herb and plant extract. We are the first commercial bread manufacturers to implement clean label policy in India. BREA manufactures bakery products at a fully equipped bakery facility with advanced equipment running on state-of-the art baking technology and a team of expert and passionate bakers.(who are passionate about making bread the forgotten way).

Q.: What is your USP?
We use Non-Bromate improvers, (MADE WITH) Natural Herb and Plant Extract for our products. Strategic planning and extensive analysis based on three core principles great tasting products, value for money and a healthy living has facilitated BREA to become a name to reckon with. At BREA we (we have in our repertoire a host of breads &bakery products which are ethnic to various regions of our country and intend to bring to the retail shelf products that were not packed and retailed before eg; we pick up breads that are ethnic and use authentic ingrediant to processes and produce them like we are the only brand to offer the original mumbai laddi pav, the delhi kulcha, the perfect burger bun and the multigrain bread that we are famous for) ( to talk about our foray into the retail cookies space we have chosen to name our product “bangalore cookies” here we have picked up the humble local iyengar bakery biscuits and transform them into an international shelf worthy retail product by cataloguing the age old recipies of making these cookies that have been our family hairloom for generations and giving it the unique packaging that celebrates our beautyful city) can differentiate one product from the other. We give a product that the consumer with all our passion to start their day with. Hence packaging forms an intricate part as it appeals to the eye. Hence we have bright colors in our packaging. We have vibrant colors, more no of SKUs, hygienic packing.Weselected Primary colors – Wheat Bread is a bright yellow, multigrain –Pink, Sandwich bread – a blue. These colors register well and the mind trains you to go back to the color and thus the product.

Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learnings that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have atleast one of them signed up?
We are a family run business with a heritage (of 100 + years and a hairloom of recipies that we bring with us. We have served (our customers and patrons) the humble bread right from the British era. When we entered the market we realised that retail business has evolved to be a science in itself in the past 20 odd years, earlier in the 60s our family used to sell the bread out of our stores in Fraser town & Richmond town and also supply it to the army depots, Government hospitals and institutions. This was much before even good old modern bread was packaged.

Now this was our first attempt at packaging our bread for the retail market to sell it other than in our store. We realised there was place for a good bakery brand on the retail shelfs in our catagoyry and so long as we make a good and healthy product and package and present it well we will have people to buy it, now this was our biggest misconception – we were hoping to start selling out of modern trade retail chains and establish our brand in this segment as the product and packaging were pitched to be aspirational. We were in for a rude shock when we figured that all these mt chains had huge introduction fees calling them sku listing charges, vendor registeration charges, some even charged rent for shelf space. Over and above they demanded huge margins. As bread is a mass produce and a low margin product with a shelf life of 5 days it was imposible. There was no way we could work with these guys.

Now we had to change tracks and go back to the drawing board. We came back with the plan of starting to introduce our product in gt and kirana stores. Here we needed distributors but we couldn’t find anyone willing to work with us as we could not guarantee them a minimum off take. There fore we went store to store convincing the shop keepers to buy our bread and that way we managed to setup our own distribution network and were able to place our products in about 40 stores in 3 months. Now, having placed our products in these stores within 2 km radius from our factory we faced another peculiar problem. We started getting feedback that our bread is attracting fungus in 5 days where as the breads from other brands were holding on for more than 8-10 days. Here we had to be patient and it took us a lot of educating our retailers about our product that a bread that is naturally produced with minimal preservatives that are way below the allowed parameters will attract fungus which is actually a sign of life and that is why we pick out our bread from the shelves on the 3rd day of placing them and in tern requesting them to educate the customer about storing and consuming the product fresh.

Today we have been able to reach 5000 homes on an average every day and are available in all modern trade retail chains across Bangalore on our terms and on the merit of our products. And also have some top line distributors working with us. Every body is our ideal customer. Bread is the best source of carbohydrates for our body and we want to encourage every one to consume it. There was a need to make bread a staple in India like the other countries, Just like how rice is in South India or Wheat is in the north, We also wanted to bring the consumer back to the roots and introduce him to the goodness of baking. We are a B2B and B2C company so both retail and B2B clients are ideal. We retail out of places like MK Retail, Nature’s Basket to name a few. We have Barista, Gloria Jeans, Inox, PVR as some of our clients.

Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
Too many to talk about – I think we fail but we learn from it. We are a 120 year old business starting out as a small time shop, serving tea and bakes to the British. We have definitely come a long distance. Initially the challenges were to maintain the quality of the product, facilitate and provide the best technology for the products. Sourcing raw materials was also a challenge. With a skilled team of innovators, we were able to overcome all these shortcomings.

Q.: How are you pricing the Product? Explain your thought process.
Priced strategically between regular and premium –aspirational. It is a blend of premium and affordable. The Bread starting price is INR 35 and the cookies is INR 200.

Q.: How did you get your first customer?
Our First customer was the humble, known to us all – the GENERAL TRADE STORE. We then worked as a franchise model in a tie up with Cake Walk. We supplied our breads and other products to our clients like PVR, CCD to name a few.

Q.: Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it. ?
We are still on the road to success. We have not succeeded yet. We want to make BREA an internationally known company, introduce and raise awareness about the concept of healthy baking, give the consumers a palate experience like never before. Constantly innovate, keeping our traditional recipes as the crux, embrace change and take the consumers back to their roots. We also want to become India’s no. 1 employment generators.

Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product leading to something bigger? If so, how?
We aim for International Retail Positioning for our Brand. This is via our authentic Bangalore Cookies. Our baked items are A Game and want to partner with Cafe’s across India and Abroad. We also aim at partnerships with airports India and Abroad.

Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
No disruption – baking the forgotten way – bringing back the goodness in baking – going back to the roots.

Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles – How you see them evolving over time. What would be each of their Skillsets?
Dianath Arshad – Founder CMD,
Mothasim Arshad – Founder Director
Hansel Cabral – Executive Director NPD, Compliance

Dianath Arshad brings a blend of creativity and detailed market research to this venture. As Founder and Managing Director, at BREA, Dianath is instrumental in conceptualizing, business development, sales & strategy for the brand.

Chef &Director, Produce & Operations MothasimArshad ,is the driving force behind the brand ,BREA. Mothasim Arshad has been instrumental in bringing, a century old traditional recipes to the consumer via the brand.

Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
All present bread and cookie manufacturers. We are different because of our choice of products we produce and market , quality promise, our grounded approach to sourcing quality ingredients and age old manufacturing process. We are the only brand to be present across all formats from mt & gt in retail, kiosks in it tech parks, Cafe’s in international airports and cities, online gifting space.

Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Launch Bangalore cookies in retail, have 2 more BREA outlets in CBD, grow our reach to 500 retail points.

Q. 16: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Try to fail – never fail to try.

Q. 17: Any other information you would like to share?
We have 5 kinds of Bread, the white, brown and multi grain, the Delhi Kulcha, buger bun and Mumbai Pav. We have 6 no of kiosks and we are now at the Kempegowda International Airport. We also give the Bangaloreans a taste of authentic Bangalore Cookies – We have the butter, the Green Chillicurry leaves, the cashew almond, Classic Khara, Ginger, jaggery, butter salted, double chocolate , choco chips. We are at 250 stores and want to reach to 500 stores by the end of 2020. With the back up of flavor taste aroma hygiene and a 100 year old recipe we aim to make BREA a household name, and a global leader.
Thanks Mr. Arshad. Best wishes.