- Saxena’s vast experience has equipped him to build a formidable kitchenware and cookware Appliances brand, WONDERCHEF.
Mr Ravi Saxena laid the foundation of one of India’s premium brand of healthy and innovative kitchen appliances, Wonderchef in the year 2009. Armed with an MBA degree from IIM Ahmedabad, Mr Saxena began his professional career when he joined VIP Luggage as the Brand Manager for soft luggage business. His brand Skybags had been stagnant for the past many years and was a poor cousin to the main business of moulded luggage. Coming with fresh ideas, a research based approach (branded ‘theoretical’ until proven right), and boundless enthusiasm, there was a path breaking decision that he took which changed the course of the brand forever and it sky-rocketed over the next few years to become the mainstay of the organization.
He devoted a lot of years in spearheading and managing several brands and diverse businesses by launching as many as twelve new businesses where to name a few were VIP Luggage , Sodexo India. Mr. Ravi joined Landmark Group to head their hospitality business and launched many new brands in India and abroad like – CityMax Hotels, Gloria Jean’s Coffees, Fun City gaming zones, Yellow Chilli restaurants with Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Polynation Food Courts. “This was a very exciting time wherein he was using his skill sets in service and hospitality developed at Sodexo, learning about spaces, design and retail, and diving into consumer businesses”.
Having launched as many as twelve new businesses, Mr. Ravi finally decided to become a full-fledged entrepreneur in 2009. This was the time when Wonderchef was born. Mr. Saxena said “I wanted to build something that would be scalable, leverage India’s consumer story as it unfolds over the next few decades, and would really add value to my consumers in their daily life. For me, such businesses have an endearing story and a perpetual lifespan”.
Wonderchef was an idea that emanated from Ravi’s interactions with Indians he interacted with in over 65 countries that he travelled for work. These insights helped him identify certain latent needs that became the cornerstone of the business model of the company. The credibility he had earned during his years of work helped him raise investment from across the globe from fellow professionals who trusted his skill sets and commitment. The passion to contribute to the growth of society and entrepreneurship in India led to the focus on DTH business that now engages over 50,000 independent women entrepreneurs. The focus on technology and innovation ensured that a new brand was able to cut through the clutter in a rather traditional industry, and became the company that took the shortest time to grow from zero to 200 Cr. levels in the industry. Today, Wonderchef has a truly omni-channel distribution strategy with a 360 degree approach to target consumers. It has enjoyed three rounds of funding and has become a brand that is loved and advocated by its patrons.
All this did not come easy. As Ravi says, “In hindsight everything looks rosy. It all seems very well worth it. I have to sit back and think of the hard times we had for a number of years, to really appreciate what we have today with us”. The company did everything to survive in the initial period which coincided with the global financial meltdown. It offered financial consulting services, strategy solutions, culinary classes, employee engagement services and a few other solutions to be able to pay the bills. Working capital was always in short supply as growth continued year after year. Building a team was a long, arduous process. However, Ravi believes that all these things are the steel framework around which a tall building rises to the sky.
The kitchenware industry is evolving at a fast clip as per Ravi. In the last few years it has gone from a largely unbranded to a branded segment. Wonderchef has been able to lead the change in quality, performance and style of cookware that is used in Indian kitchens, and has become a thought leader in the industry. Its innovative blenders and juicers stand for quality and performance, and have become the benchmark in the market. Every appliance has a unique story of health, taste and convenience as the three touchstones of every product launch. All products are married with recipes from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor who is a co-founder and the face of the brand.