How One Shopify Retailer Launched with a Single Product
- August 25, 2015 | Katherine Gustafson
Anjali Bhargava launched her ecommerce business Bija Bhar on Shopify with one product: Decadent Energy Nuggets seed-based snacks. She branded her vegan, gluten-free, nut-free nuggets as a healthier, smaller-serving alternative to the sugary, nutty energy bars that are increasingly popular these days.
“Sometimes you don’t need the whole thing and you end up eating the whole thing when you didn’t really need to,” she says of the typical snack bars. “Or you bite a piece off and then find a gooey mass in your bag later.”
Concept to Business
She developed the nuggets in her kitchen for her own use, using alternative ingredients like agave and cacao to create a snack that was healthy and tasty.
“It has cacao, so it can satisfy a chocolate craving,” she says. “It’s got coconut oil, which makes it more filling. The chia and flax provide a good amount of fiber. It’s a functional treat.” A dash of cayenne pepper gives the nuggets a unique and appealing taste.
The idea for a business was born—there were surely others who were looking for a nutritious, portable, and delicious snack like this. Bhargava started market-testing by giving samples to friends and acquaintances. She started a shelf-life test and began research on certifications and licenses, trademarks, and other regulations.
She tinkered with recipes and decided to launch with the one that was the most versatile.
“It’s great on the go, it’s great for athletes--dancers, bicyclists, runners--and also for regulating blood sugar, and for being a dessert replacement,” she says.
One Product, Easier Start-up
Considering that laws in New York require her to produce her wares in a commercial kitchen—making 20-40 pounds at once--Bhargava found that tackling a single recipe was the most efficient use of her time and resources. Figuring out how to scale up more than one recipe would have consumed valuable time she was better off putting into other aspects of the business.
Bhargava also benefited from the ability to gear her production and packaging methods to one item instead of having to design for multiple offerings. Additionally, high-quality ingredients for the bars are expensive; creating multiple products would have required maintaining an overly expensive inventory of ingredients just as she was starting out.
“If you can scale that one recipe and get one set of ingredients, it makes for the most efficient growth,” she says.
Now that Bija Bhar is finding a loyal following of healthy-snack lovers, Bhargava can easily expand her product line by making variations on the original recipe and by designing other items that her fans are sure to like.
She has launched a crunchy, crumbly version of her nugget recipe that comes in pouches, offering it in cinnamon-vanilla flavor as well as the original cayenne. And about a year after launching the business, she began offering a dehydrated drink powder made of health-promoting, organic ingredients.
Bhargava uses social media to project an authentic, transparent brand image. She uses her background in photography to give fans an appealing look at her products and her philosophy. Accordingly, she has found most enjoyment and success connecting with her customers on Instagram.
“It’s about letting people know who you are, what you’re making, what you have to offer,” she says. “Getting people to feel like you’re sharing something of value with them, and not about trying to convince them of anything.”
She doesn’t worry about how much of her marketing efforts are converting to sales. Instead, she’s satisfied that “someone looking at the Bija Bhar Instagram page gets a very good sense of what the company represents.”