We had the good fortune of connecting with Harshit Gupta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Harshit, what do you attribute your success to?
Being honest and transparent with ourselves, our values, with our customers. That has been one of the key factor to our success. We love to honestly talk about our company, how we started, how we come up with flavors, how we operate, why fair trade practices are important to us, why our chocolate is prices at $9 per chocolate bar. This transparency has helped us gain the confidence of our customers, which in turn has helped the success of who we are and where are we at today. We believe in sharing and we believe sharing resources, contacts, how we do something only makes us grow.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We started experimenting with flavored chocolate pretty early on after Elliott began making chocolate as a hobby. It was only after our friends kept hitting us up for more chocolate that we thought there may be a market for a product like this. So we decided to start selling them at our local farmers’ market and were shocked at how much interest people had! It was crazy how enthusiastic our customers were, and through these direct sales we were able to quickly improve our products based on the instant feedback.
As with any business there have definitely been a lot of ups and downs. The biggest hardship to overcome, funny enough, was branding our products as “Indian-Inspired” chocolates. We dealt with lots of comments like “Oh, your chocolate is for Indians?”, “Does your chocolate tastes like chicken tikka masala?”, and many more that demanded a lot of clarification to say the least.
With COVID-19 hitting in early March 2020, wholesale market was essentially wiped out for us overnight. We knew that if we weren’t able to quickly pivot to online sales, we weren’t going to last. So we buckled down, bought a bunch of books about marketing, and went to work building an online retail presence.
We our Indian-inspired bean-to-bar chocolate makers based out of Austin,TX. We use lots of Indian spices, nuts and flowers in our chocolate making process to make very unique and beautiful chocolate. We’re 100% LGBT and 50% minority immigrant from India owned.
What makes our chocolate unique is the flavors! We pride ourselves in each flavor which come up with – each flavor has a story behind it, most of the flavors resembles or reminds some Indian dessert, one of our signature flavor – Masala Chai chocolate bar is inspired by my mom (Madhu) and how she likes to make our chai every morning back in India.
We’re very proud of what we have achieved so far with a small team of chocolate maker! We cannot be more honored to have been listed as “Top 50” bean-to-bar chocolate makers and the only one from the state of Texas to make it to Megan Giller’s list. And we’re named as one of the best chocolate in the United States by Food & Wine Magazine. Those our amazing honor which we are really humbled and are proud about.
We offer 12 chocolate bars – all are Gluten Free and most of them are Vegan. We advice our customers to enjoy a small square of chocolate at a time and relish the beautiful cacao from Tumaco, Colombia and Idukki Hills, Kerala, India. We also offer chai blend, two hot cocoa mixes which are made from scratch as well. You can find all that information on our website: https://www.madhuchocolate.com
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Zilker Park, Trip to Hill Country, Movie at Alamo Drafthouse, Tex-Mex food from Torchy’s. Tres Amigos, Barbecue at Rudy’s, Evenings at 6th and 4th Street, Shopping and food at South Congress, Breathtaking views at Oasis, Hiking near the hill country, a definite visit to Patrizis on Manor Road for some delicious handrolled fresh pasta from a food truck, some yummy churros on South 1st Street. Breakfast tacos for every morning, Swimming at Barton Springs Pool, Short trip to Hamilton Pool.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We cannot be more thankful to Texas Farmers Market at Mueller, Austin for giving us the platform where we could showcase our products to a local audience. It was at this market, where we kicked off our first sale, we made multiple connections with our lovely customers, made connections with fellow amazing vendors. This market worked as a launchpad for our small business and helped us prove that there is an appetite for Indian-Inspired craft chocolate.
You can check them out every Sunday from 10-2 PM in Mueller area of Austin, TX.