Member spotlight - Sobhna's curry pastes

A business that started in small farmers markets in Auckland is now looking to the future with expansion into more supermarkets and Australia on the cards.

Sobhna’s is a true family business involving Subhadra Odedra and daughter, Nimeesha Odedra. Subhadra began selling samosas and pakoras at farmers markets which were soon accompanied by her own curry pastes, pickles, and spice blends. Subhadra quickly gained a loyal following at the markets. “She loves meeting new people and talking to her regulars about food,” says Nimeesha.

The COVID-19 lockdown had an unexpected positive effect on the business. Sobhna’s Facebook page started lockdown with 70 followers but soon swelled to 6,000, all eagerly following the cooking videos Nimeesha made with her mum. Once lockdown was over, it was all go. Orders were flying in, and Nimeesha spent hours driving all over Auckland delivering orders.

After all the positive support, Nimeesha and Subhadra were ready to expand the business. A suggestion from a loyal customer prompted Nimeesha to apply for Countdown’s Kete Accelerator Programme, aimed at getting products from small businesses into Countdown supermarkets. Sobhna’s was one of only five businesses selected to take part and it was then onto the not-so-insignificant job of getting the products ready for the shelf.

Nimeesha found the support from her GS1 New Zealand Engagement Manager invaluable while preparing Sobhna’s products for Countdown. She recalls the stress of having 10,000 product labels printed that weren’t GS1 compliant. “I called my Engagement Manager in a flood of tears, but they were able to work with the Category Manager at Countdown to resolve the issue for me.” The next run of labels was more successful, and it didn’t take long before they needed to be reprinted. “We thought we’d need to go into the production kitchen once every six months, but we sold out in two weeks!” laughs Nimeesha.

Nimeesha and Subhadra are passionate about Indian cooking and want to help people make amazing Indian feasts. “Before we launched at Countdown, I made sure that we had plenty of recipes on our website and video tutorials on our YouTube channel,” says Nimeesha. Sobhna’s YouTube channel has over 100 videos with the kind of priceless tips that only mums seem to know, like the importance of cooking your onions out fully before adding the spices. “You're not just getting a product, you're getting all the resources that you need to make restaurant quality dishes,” says Nimeesha.

Nimeesha’s GS1 Engagement Manager was there from the very beginning, helping to get their product photography sorted and barcodes compliant for their products and packaging. “The relationship that our Engagement Manager built with us was the reason we chose GS1 for barcodes,” says Nimeesha.

If you’d like support to get your products ready for the shelf or online, contact our Engagement team.