Rohini Kaul | Entrepreneur | Part 2
In the 2nd part of the conversation with Rajesh Prothi, Managing Partner, Absolute Factor & the Founder of www.thecherrytree.in, Rohini Kaul shared her views on how to handle the professional landscape and of setting up of Kashmir food business.
What were some of the best practices you have adopted in your personal life?
Adapting the best practice of punctuality from Japan involves fostering a culture of timeliness and respect for schedules. It requires individuals to prioritize arriving promptly for appointments, meetings, and work-related activities. Additionally, it entails instilling a strong sense of responsibility for time management, emphasizing the importance of planning and organization to ensure tasks are completed efficiently and within deadlines.
Encouraging open communication about time-related expectations and holding individuals accountable for punctuality is also key. Ultimately, adapting the Japanese best practice of being on time promotes productivity, professionalism, and effective time utilization within any cultural context.
What advice would you give to aspiring women professionals who aim to reach leadership positions in communication within multinational corporations?
To propel your communication career forward, adopt a multifaceted approach. Seek regular feedback from industry experts to refine your skills, pinpoint a communication niche that resonates with your interests and strengths, and cultivate a compelling personal brand that showcases your expertise and unique qualities consistently. Be discerning in accepting tasks, ensuring you can effectively handle them to maintain work quality and avoid over-commitment. Additionally, stay abreast of the latest technological advancements and industry trends through ongoing education, allowing you to remain relevant and competitive in your field.
In a rapidly changing digital landscape, how do you see the role of the Head of Communication of an Agency is evolving?
The role of a Head of Communication in an agency is experiencing a significant transformation in response to the rapidly evolving digital landscape. This transformation encompasses several crucial aspects, including a heightened demand for expertise in digital strategy, proficiency in data-driven decision-making through analytics tools, and adeptness in content creation and marketing across diverse media platforms.
Effective management of social media, particularly during crisis situations, has become paramount, alongside the ability to harness the influence of marketing influencers. Familiarity with artificial intelligence and automation tools, the integration of multiple communication channels, and a commitment to adaptability and continuous learning are also essential.
Furthermore, an awareness of cybersecurity risks, cultural sensitivity in global campaigns, and the capacity to measure the return on investment (ROI) of digital communication efforts have become integral to the role. In essence, the modern Head of Communication in an agency is tasked with mastering digital technologies, leading teams in navigating this dynamic terrain, and achieving successful communication outcomes.
Being a communication professional what inspired you to start a Kashmiri Kitchen?
My journey into the world of Kashmiri food as a communication professional is a fusion of my passion for effective communication and my profound connection to the culture of Kashmir. While I have had the privilege of working with prominent corporations and being mentored by inspiring leaders and colleagues, there was always a yearning within me to align my professional life with a more meaningful purpose.
Despite being born and raised in Delhi, Kashmir has always held a special place in my heart. My experiences as a ‘tourist’ in the region left an indelible mark on me. The culture, the landscapes, and the warmth of the people spoke to me on a deep level. I felt a compelling need to draw closer to my roots, to immerse myself in the traditions and heritage of Kashmir, and to share the essence of this extraordinary culture with a wider audience.
As a child, I cherished the delectable Kashmiri dishes prepared lovingly in my own home. These recipes, handed down through generations, are etched in my memory and hold a unique significance. It was this culinary heritage that served as the catalyst for my decision to embark on the journey of sharing the authentic flavours of Kashmir with people from all walks of life. My aspiration was to enable everyone to relish a slice of paradise by bringing these cherished, time-honoured dishes into their homes.
In essence, my choice to establish ‘The Kashmiri Kitchen’ emerged from my love for communication and my deep-seated bond with Kashmir’s captivating culture. This endeavour allows me to seamlessly merge my professional expertise with my personal passion, enabling me to introduce the world to the culinary treasures of Kashmir and, in the process, remain closely aligned with my true purpose.
From being a professional working for MNCs to starting a Kashmiri food business. Staying competitive in terms of both pricing and facilities must be quite a challenge.
Maintaining competitiveness in the food industry requires a delicate balance of pricing and facilities, with a steadfast commitment to quality and taste. In our kitchen, we’ve prioritized this balance by implementing several key strategies.
First and foremost, we understand that pricing is a critical consideration for our customers. We’ve carefully analysed the market and competition to offer competitive prices, ensuring that our dishes remain accessible to a wide range of consumers. However, we firmly believe that quality should never be compromised to achieve cost-effectiveness. We are committed to using only the finest and freshest ingredients, which might entail slightly higher costs but results in unparalleled taste and satisfaction for our customers.
Furthermore, maintaining excellent hygiene and quality is non-negotiable for us. As a home kitchen, we’ve diligently adhered to stringent hygiene standards and implemented best practices in food preparation. This commitment to cleanliness and quality will remain at the forefront of our operations, even as we scale up our business. We recognize that these two factors are essential not only for customer satisfaction but also for the long-term success and reputation of our kitchen.
How do you maintain the authenticity and quality of Kashmiri cuisine in your kitchen?
Ensuring the authenticity and quality of Kashmiri cuisine in our kitchen is a commitment we take very seriously. Here’s how we achieve this:
Generational Recipes: The heart of our kitchen lies in the time-tested recipes passed down through generations. These recipes are a culinary treasure, and many of them have been meticulously crafted by my mother over her 40 years of cooking Kashmiri food. The fact that our menu is an ode to her expertise is evident in our name, “The Kashmiri Kitchen by Sudha Kaul.” This heritage ensures that the flavours and techniques we use are deeply rooted in tradition.
We are dedicated to preserving the authenticity of Kashmiri cuisine by reviving some of the older, less common recipes. By doing so, we contribute to the conservation of these traditional dishes, which are at risk of becoming extinct. This commitment to preserving culinary heritage sets us apart and underscores our dedication to authenticity.
What region of Kashmir do you originate from, and what are some of your cherished memories?
My family’s roots trace back to the Kashmir region, with my great-grandfather having lived somewhere near Lal Chowk in Srinagar. However, our family left Kashmir long before the situation in the region grew tense and before the onset of riots. I was born and raised in Delhi, so my connection to Kashmir is mostly through the stories passed down through generations and a few visits I’ve made.
When I close my eyes and think of Kashmir, I am flooded with memories of its serene beauty. I can vividly recal the tranquil Dal Lake and the rows of pine trees in Pahalgam that used to surround me. The cotton-like snow in Gulmarg is etched in my memory as well. I remember the breathtaking landscapes, from Sonmarg to the sight of beautiful children playing along the roads, their rosy cheeks flushed from the winter cold, all bundled up in their phirans. Kashmir is a place that has left a lasting imprint on my heart, even though I haven’t lived there, but have only experienced it through these cherished memories.
What are your thoughts on the true culture of Kashmir, where diverse communities coexisted before the 1990s?
The culture of Kashmir is incredibly rich and diverse, characterized by a long history of coexistence among various communities. Before the 1990s, Kashmir was known for its unique blend of cultures, traditions, and religions. Here are some thoughts on the true culture of Kashmir during that period:
Kashmir has been a melting pot of different religions, including Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism. This diversity contributed to a tapestry of religious practices, festivals, and rituals, all of which coexisted harmoniously.
The place is renowned for its exquisite art and craftsmanship. intricately woven Pashmina shawls, exquisite Kashmiri carpets, and beautiful papier-mâché work, these crafts are a huge reflection of the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir
Before the 1990s, the diverse communities of Kashmir coexisted peacefully, respecting each other’s beliefs and traditions. This coexistence was a hallmark of Kashmir’s culture and contributed to its unique identity.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially the ones who hail from Kashmir?
As a relatively new entrepreneur, I may not have a vast wealth of experience, but I can certainly share some insights I’ve gained over the past six to seven months. For aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those from Kashmir, here’s some advice:
It is crucial to have a clear and compelling purpose for your business. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing and believe in it wholeheartedly. Your purpose will be your guiding light in challenging times.
Remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of consistent effort and learning from both successes and failures. Trust in your abilities and the process of building your business.