- Evoking nostalgia through authentic regional beverages from across the country, Missus Sippi is hoping to find its way into our everyday lives
Missus Sippi wants to evoke nostalgia with its brand of homegrown beverages that includes milkshakes, detoxifying juices, and various regional refreshments. In a free-ranging interview, Kunal Malhotra, Co-Founder of Septagon Hospitality that launched the brand tells Gurgl how Missus Sippi was conceptualised, the need for nostalgia, and a connection going back to Sridevi.
Tell us about the conception and how Missus Sippi came into being?
Missus Sippi as a brand is all about nostalgia, the nostalgia that keeps you connected to your roots. Our basic idea behind this brand is to make these regional drinks available for everyone living in different parts of this country, to the people who have kinda forgotten about these drinks from their childhood, and the younger generation who is looking out for such soda alternatives.
Missus Sippi as a brand was purely made out of a personal necessity. I have always looked out for soda alternatives that don’t taste like cough syrup and would fit into my (almost) healthy lifestyle. Everything on Missus Sippi’s menu is made out of fresh ingredients and without any storing preservatives.
We really love the name and wordplay of Missus Sippi. Can you tell us how it came about?
We always wanted to create a connection between the younger generation and the nostalgia we are trying to build. What better than a woman character to do that for us! When I was young, I remember an NRI lady, who was a family friend, she used to always serve us these interesting regional drinks, whenever we used to visit her place. Those beverages tasted delicious, but there was something about how she always had a cool story about each drink that kinda made me want to try out every drink she served.
We took the character persona of Shashi played by Sridevi in English Vinglish and I used that as the unofficial reference for pitching the idea to my partners.
What is the USP of Missus Sippi according to you?
The USP is in the story and nostalgia. I feel the mere fact that these drinks are so delicious and have a rich history, is enough to win over the audience.
How would you compare your brand to Paper Boat that also works on the emotion of nostalgia?
I feel one big difference is that we are never going to be an over the shelf brand! We prepare everything fresh and the product is supposed to be consumed the same day. We want people to consume these beverages exactly how they were made; fresh!
What are the most popular variants in your portfolio currently?
Aam Panna, Solkadi, Panakam, Rooh Afza, Kokum Sherbet are the most popular ones I’d say.
How many more variants will you be launching? Is there a timeline?
As of now, we are really happy with the response our current portfolio is getting. We plan to research even further, and that involves going to distant towns of India and taste many more regional beverages first hand. So, we would parallelly be working on expanding the menu.
What are some interesting anecdotes about some of the current flavours that are available?
I have been working in the entertainment industry since 2011, and I have travelled to almost all the states in the country. People generally like trying out new food whenever they are travelling to a new place, but I have always made a habit of trying out these regionally popular beverages that I have only heard about through my friends and family. Even before this plan was discussed, I already had my list of the best regional beverages I wanted everyone to get easy access to.
We have had young people order and share these beverages with their parents and grandparents. You see how times change? That’s what we were trying to capture.
As we all know Mumbai has people from different parts of the country living here, and what’s better for a person from Tamil Nadu working in Mumbai, getting to order a Panakam while sitting in his home in Bandra in Mumbai. People have shared stories about how drinking certain beverages from our menu made them feel closer to their respective homes.
What is the scope of the ready-to-drink (RTD) market in the country according to you?
We all know now that more and more people are adopting a healthy lifestyle at a very young age, and the trends are changing. For decades the RTD beverage industry has been circling around soda, and there was a definite need to pivot. Initially, these healthy/non-preservative beverages were playing second fiddle to the soda induced soft drinks, but that trend is clearly changing now. Apart from the reason that these organic RTD beverages taste amazingly good, they bring so many health benefits along.
Can you share distribution and marketing strategies?
Distribution is fairly simple, we take orders in real-time and prepare them freshly. We aren’t looking to make any complex changes to our distribution strategy, instead we are planning to introduce a subscription model soon, for the ease of our regular customers.
We have priced our menu in such a way that you would never feel that you are overpaying for these drinks. We are so fairly priced for the quality and authenticity we deliver. The nostalgia factor plays a prime role in marketing strategies, and we are trying to capture the young demographic who is looking for delicious yet healthy beverage options.
What are the biggest challenges for Missus Sippi?
The biggest challenge for us would be to keep the entire strategy as simple as it could be. We have managed to do that till now, and pretty sure we would have the same clarity moving forward.
We often get a lot of new beverage suggestions from people, and we can’t help but notice them. We do have a problem of plenty, but we want to be very selective while introducing new beverages on our menu, this soon.
Will Covid-19 give impetus to healthy drinks and help your brand?
It already has, but how long that is going to be the case, is yet to be seen!
We don’t want to focus on the pandemic and circle our brand strategies around it, because it will be fairly short-lived. Our projection is to make these beverages an integral part of a consumer’s lifestyle. The idea is to win people over with the taste, and then make them stay for the health benefits.
Do you plan on being in more retail outlets in the city or will you expand to other regions?
Yes, definitely. The kind of response we have received from Mumbai is very encouraging. In such a short span of time, we are looking beyond the early adopters already. If we keep growing like this, there is a definite possibility of expanding to certain Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities like New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, etc very soon.
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Priyanko Sarkar is the Founder Editor of Gurgl.in. He has been a writer for over 15 years and this site is his attempt to document India's growing beverage sector with impactful and interesting stories. His favourite drink is Vietnamese Coffee and his favourite spirit is Turkish Raki.