ZEST~Nothing But the Best~Jeenal Tank

Jeenal Tank is a young enterprising woman who is in the business of spreading sweetness wherever she is – at home, workplace, offices, hotels, restaurants, celebrations and so on. Yes, she makes chocolates – ZEST Chocolates! Different taste, unique packaging and made from pure raw ingredients, they are in great demand – always!

Tell us about your family.

I come from a family who believes in hard work, self-reliance and courage to change dreams into reality.

What inspired you to start the chocolate business? How did you coin this attractive name ‘ZEST’?

As I was  always passionate about doing business, I and my sister Bijal decided to start with this venture. We believe that chocolate is the most upcoming market and has a great potential for growth in India. Zest Chocolates started as a very small home-based business, and later it was upgraded to machine- manufactured chocolates.

My sister named this venture as ‘Zest Chocolates’. Zest Means ‘energy or enthusiasm or core essence of food’, and we felt that what better name than Zest!

(Left) Sister Bijal, (Middle) Mother Mrs. Divyaa & Jeenal (Right). The second is childhood  pic of Jeenal & Bijal with mother 

Tell us more about Zest Chocolates. What are its USPs and product range?

Zest Chocolates’ USP is its different taste and unique packaging. 

Since we manufacture chocolates for corporates and high-end customers, we focus on offering them customised packaging and chocolates made from pure raw ingredients.

As two young women what were the major hurdles you faced in your business? How did you overcome them?

As a young woman with a new brand, gaining trust of customers initially was a challenge. They had to be convinced about our quality products and gain their confidence in our capability to deliver the Best. Though women entrepreneurs are rising in numbers, there are still many people who are hesitant to work with us and would prefer to work with men.

Tell us about your experience of convincing the very first customer.

At first, we didn’t know how to sell the product. We had the product but no experience to generate money out of it. So we just relied on stating the facts about our chocolates, doing the sampling and that’s how our first customer was convinced and we made our first sale.

Jeenal with a unique packaging of Zest Chocolates

Do you have any interesting memory while dealing with any of your client?

The best form of recognition is ‘word of mouth’. There’s one beautiful story about a client and how he approached us.

He was shopping in the Phoenix Mall in Mumbai where he was standing in a billing queue of a supermarket. He overheard the conversation of two people who were ahead of him. They were talking about our brand and how we offer good quality chocolates. As this client was listening to them appreciating us, he felt curious but was reluctant to ask them for our contact details. So he searched our brand on Google with a wrong name ‘jest chocolates’ as those people were Gujarati. He guessed that Gujaratis often pronounce some words incorrectly, like, ‘Hole for hall, snakes for snacks and jest for zest’.

He contacted us and said that if people were appreciating us then definitely our chocolates would be of premium quality and placed his order for chocolates immediately.

We would like to know about your production facility, capacity and quality of your chocolates?   

Our chocolates are processed initially in our mixing tank, then moulded further, cooled and later individually wrapped in our wrapping machine. This setup has helped our chocolates manufacturing hygienically and cutting down our labour cost. There is very minimum of human contact throughout the process. This saves time and has made it possible to produce half a ton chocolates in a day.

All the ingredients are sourced from the best of vendors and our chocolates are pure veg. Some varieties of chocolates truffles, almond rocks, dates chocolates are handmade and require the best craftsmanship to make them.

What was it like to get other team members and train them?

In terms of staff, it was really difficult earlier to train them. But later I started hiring young people with fresh mind-set who had the ability to learn quickly. Even I got to learn so many things from them.

How did you manage to get big brands on your customer list?

During the early stages, we used to organize a lot of exhibitions as a marketing strategy to gain corporates as our customers . Loads of online marketing through social media and offline marketing through exhibitions, sponsorship of events, samplings done in malls and later through word of mouth, our company gained big brands as our customers.

What are your views on women leadership, and providing equal opportunities?

Women entrepreneurs are less in number, so we feel different. My experiences have been  very positive ones. I felt supported and cherished by everyone. I feel admired and this gives me an extra boost to speed up and achieve more of my goals.

There are two aspects which I discovered in my journey. On one side, people were surprised to see me doing business and offered me good opportunities, and on the other, I was doubted and not taken seriously. But I didn’t feel that I faced injustice or was not given equal opportunity. I feel women entrepreneurs should not compete with men entrepreneurs to become ‘equal’. They should accept that they are just ‘different’ and should strive to enhance their quality and capability to grow.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

Being recognized as a ‘young woman entrepreneur’ at the Indian Accounting  Association and in my college, Thakur College of Science & Commerce (Mumbai).

What is Divyakala by the way?

Divyakala is my another venture. It means ‘Divine Art’. We create artistic home products and semi- precious crystals, jewellery and accessories. This venture is a product of Zest Chocolates. We were thinking to create an ethnic themed packaging for chocolates, but that project was stalled. The good thing is that we created home décor products from that.

We also added semi-precious jewellery at later stage. Behind this, my mother (Divyaa) was the inspiration. She is really fond of semi-precious crystals and is always doing some or the other thing with it. She asked me to add this product category. And we soon realised that there’s big scope for such jewellery in India and abroad, especially.

What about your future plans?

I’m thinking to venture into many other businesses. And about this venture, I look forward to expand its reach further in India in the corporate and retail sector.

Your message to women out there who are struggling to prove themselves.

Just believe in yourself! And never lose on patience. Any good thing takes time.

Jeenal can be reached on Linked-in, Facebook and Instagram 

Here is video by Jeenal on Zest Chocolates

First Published: 06-Dec-2018- 15:52