Sahil and Rajani Verma have ticked one of their dreams as far as their entrepreneurial journey is concerned. I can’t keep calm and not write about them and PureMart; their venture for which they gave up their well-paying corporate jobs in Mumbai and moved to Jammu and Kashmir. It was their vison that made them embark on that journey almost nine years ago. On 7th October 2021 they opened their first store in Mumbai, (Kopar Khairane, Navi Mumbai). This was in the wish list of the owners and in demand of their many happy clients in the city.
I visited their aesthetically designed store that gave a feel of mini Jammu and Kashmir. I have fond memories of the travels I’ve made to the state and the stuff that I used to bring back for family and friends. This store is a must visit for all, people who love things that are pure and genuine. I did end up picking a bag full of stuff with a promise to make another visit soon to get my monthly supply of dry fruits. I loved the handcrafts that came from the village women, as a supporter of women empowerment and being the founder of a women’s organisation Indian Women in Hospitality; I couldn’t resist myself from buying a few of their creations. The Voice of Dogras T-shirt added to the happy feelings and the wide smile that I brought back!
Its not just the products that are enticing, equally inspirational is the story of PureMart, I feel specially privileged to know the people behind creating this brand which now has sub brands such as ‘5 a day’.
The PureMart Story
Sahil Verma was 26 when he thought of setting up PureMart as an online store. Born and brought up in Jammu he had spent almost a decade outside his home state to pursue a degree in pharmacy and had taken up a job upon graduation. He was appalled to see people associating Jammu and Kashmir with instability, besides the scenic beauty and abundant snowfall which the land is blessed with or else with saffron, walnuts and Kashmiri shawls.
The young enterprising entrepreneur at heart sensed opportunity at that time. In fact he had access to products which were considered ‘rare or delicacies’ by people from outside the state of Jammu and Kashmir.Sahil was working in Mumbai with Cognizant; in 2011 he decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. His wife Rajani supported him and stood by him through the meandering start up phase. He submitted his resignation on his birthday in 2011 and Rajani ensured that the family had funds to give wings to their big dream. Sahil spent the next sixteen months doing offline research and getting in touch with producers and local cultivators directly. This enabled them to have access to the purest saffron; which was one of the products that they wanted to deal in and also help push profit margins.
PureMart went live in 2013 with an inventory of only 10 kilos of walnuts and 20 grams of saffron. The project was entirely bootstrapped. Within six months, the website was lively with many hits converting into business and they started earning a decent profit by then. They also started receiving feed back had queries from satisfied clients who wanted to check with them if they could have other dry fruits like almonds, hazel nuts, dried figs and organic personal care products on the portal.
This was an indication for them to diversify by adding more products to their website which had been confined to walnuts and saffron in the initial months. The new products were in line with their overall motto of promoting good health by eating healthy -more importantly, eating pure organic foods!
To ensure purity and authenticity which they promise to their clients; PureMart sources the various nuts and saffron directly from the cultivators. The organic cereals, kitchen supplies, herbs, spices as well as beauty and health care products are again sourced from the producers themselves. What the customer gets in turn is a great product that guarantees complete satisfaction. No wonder they have repeat customers from all over the country and overseas.
The team comprising of the husband –wife duo handling all operations right from procurement of supplies to receiving orders, packing deliveries, finance, marketing, customer feedback, emails, etc. Sahil was keen in handling it all by himself to understand the challenges which his team might face when they grew bigger. The initial groundwork has helped them all through the growth phase.
He travelled to several cities with his Co-founder wife Rajani Verma, doing awareness campaigns and other promotions to learn what the people knew about organic products from the North. They did this for about a year; to their surprise most of the people they spoke to did not even know what a saffron bud or a walnut fruit looked like. Sahil used to carry unadulterated products to show to his audience who later became their trusted clients.
The Road Ahead
Almost nine years later, they receive orders from across the country and beyond borders. They have successfully delivered products from Kanyakumari to Nagaland and Andaman to Gujarat. Besides, they have also executed thousands of orders from Canada, UK, and Dubai- which have a sizeable Indian population. PureMart has their counters at the canteens of many units of the Armed Forces that endorses their quality products and service. With more business and a decent client base, PureMart now has a much bigger team. They have created employment for the locals and others through the supply chain. Thus supporting Make in India and sustainability. During lockdown they even got into delivering essentials to the elderly and people who were in need. Many orders were placed by people who were in other parts of the country or abroad for their elderly parents.
PureMart is working towards expanding its reach through multi-channel marketplaces and organic fairs. They are also looking for partners from Metro cities to collaborate with them hoping that would help them set up a more streamlined delivery channel. They are now trying to scale up their business and reach, social media has helped immensely and so has the positive reviews.
They have added handicrafts and apparels to their range of products. This has helped create employment opportunities for artisans across the state particularly women. Sahil reached out to the village ladies who had no means of livelihood but were good at making traditional handicrafts. He took the designs that were in demand and the items that had buyers across the country. The ladies learnt them and made new products that are available at PureMart store. True to the vision – ‘Innovate, Revive, Sustain’!
The journey has had it’s own challenges no doubt but nothing has stopped them. Today Sahil and Rajani are happy to reach a new milestone within the first decade of their dream project- PureMart. I have found their vision to see Jammu and Kashmir as a state that is not just mesmerising due to it’s natural beauty but also to bring it on the map as a land of abundance; to be very inspirational. They have found their calling and are empowering many others from their beloved, state to embark on theirs. To this I can only say, ‘More power to them and their endeavour‘.
If you wish to know more about PureMart check their website and their offline stores and offices.
Link to PureMart: https://www.puremart.in/
Head Office: N-16, Phase II, APMC Market, Narwal, Jammu, J & K, 180006 Ph: 0191 2490212
Mumbai Office: Shop No.6, Plot No. 32, Sector 20, Near Bikaner Sweets, Kopar Khairane, Navi Mumbai – 400709, Ph: 022 35766396
FB: @puremartindia Twitter: @pure_mart Insta: @puremartindia