Meet the Maker – Shahzad Anklesaria: Ambriona

In a nutshell, Ambriona is about exotic, indulgent, and healthy cacao derivatives. We chatted with the Makers in order to discover what makes them exotic, indulgent, healthy, and irresistible. Discover what we discovered.

In a nutshell, Ambriona is about exotic, indulgent, and healthy cacao derivatives. Exotic because we source the best single origin raw materials from around the world. Indulgent because once you try them you cannot resist the temptation to have more. And healthy because our products are all-natural, vegan, gluten-free, and loaded with antioxidants and dietary fiber.

Ambriona sells their products across India. They use e-commerce marketplaces and their own website to do this. At the top, Ambriona comprises 4 people. They are Shahzad and his wife Rukshin, Shahzad’s childhood friend Subham Joshi – a civil engineer by profession, who realised his true calling was to be a chef -, and Shahzad’s mother, Rukhshana, who is a chocolatier. The love of Chocolates is what they all have in common. Shahzad’s friend oversees the operations part of the business. Shahzad and his wife handle sales, marketing, and finance. Shahzad’s mother takes care of Research & Development.

In addition to the four mentioned, there is a manufacturing and marketing team in place at Ambriona. The former is made up of 70% women & 30% Men. Most of them are between 25-40 years. The marketing group is also young and dynamic. As a matter of fact, everyone in it is under 27 years old.

We spoke to Shahzad about Ambriona and the way forward for the brand. It was an enlightening conversation. You are cordially invited to it. Welcome.

What were you doing before you started doing this?

The idea of starting my own chocolate manufacturing company first came to me back in 2012 when I was completing my undergrad in UK. Since then I have been trying to learn everything there is to learn about chocolate manufacturing and cacao farming. Prior to starting AMBRIONA Chocolates, I was working in my family business.

 

Why did you choose to do what you do?

My life has always revolved around 2 things – Food & Travel. Nothing else gives me a greater sense of joy.

 

We are fascinated by names. What’s the story behind your brand name?

The AMBRIONA logo is our tribute to the Mayan civilisation, who were the first civilisation to harvest cocoa. Without them, we would have missed out on the most important food invention in the history of mankind: chocolate

The logo is inspired by the Mayan goddess of chocolate, Goddess ‘Ixcacao’.

The word Ambriona was coined by us keeping in mind 2 things: It has to be elegant and feminine – as it is going to represent the goddess of chocolate. Also, it has to be unique, so we can trademark it.

Which are your best selling products?

In Ambriona: The single origin 80% Uganda & 71% Ecuador are the best sellers. In Daarzel by Ambriona: It’s the 45% mild-dark chocolate with hazelnut, the 45% mild-dark chocolate with caramelised almonds and the 70% Indian origin Intense dark chocolate.

What kind of people do you create your products for?
AMBRIONA is positioned for the working professionals in the age group of 25 to 45. They are educated, well-travelled, and health-conscious. They care about what they use and what goes into their bodies. The Ambriona tagline is a step in this direction. It says, ‘Embrace Nature. Embrace Health. Embrace Ambriona.’

Daarzel by Ambriona targets teenagers and young adults in the age group of 13 to 25 years. They are aware about the health benefits of dark chocolates, but find the current offerings in the market too bitter to their liking. To enable these customers to graduate from milk to dark chocolates, we have introduced a new category of mild dark chocolates called Daarzel, with the tagline, “Come to the Dark side.”

 

What are the challenges you face in connection with achieving your goals?

Our prime challenge is to build and retain teams.

Where do you see your brand three years from now?

Our 3-year plan is to export our products worldwide and launch 40-50 new variants. We are exploring opportunities for contract manufacturing. We wish to become suppliers of chocolate to bakers and confectioners looking for world-class ingredients. We want to build a loyal customer base and become market leaders. And we are striving to do all this by excelling in the areas of product quality and customer service.

 

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?

I can’t think of anything else.

Visit the Ambriona Shop on Engrave

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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