Two Parsi brothers brimming with innovative ideas have a new take on making pappadums in a jiffy
Proud of Papadum Express
Kersi and Kayo Kadva are inventors of a papad tray, a unique dining presentation utility called the ‘Papadum Express’ that has won the prestigious Sydney Design Award for its versatility and convenience of use. Operating out of Liverpool, this enterprising Parsi duo has brought their spirit of entrepreneurship from Mumbai to Sydney. The brothers explain the concept behind their creation in an exclusive interview with The Indian Telegraph.
How did the name ‘Papadum Express’ come about?
We brainstormed for days, trying different ideas, but it was the actual design that lead us to the name – the rack of stacked papadums looked like a train, and thus the Papadum Express was born, taking you on a journey of guilt-free papadums forever!
When and how did you first come up with the concept of the Papadum Express?
We’ve always loved our papadums and enjoyed them either fried or microwaved. But over time, both those processes were rather tedious and cumbersome, and not enough to curb an immediate papadum craving. Plus, cooking in oil is unhealthy, and so we began to rethink the whole process. We started with speculative ideas and preliminary designs, and debated until we reached concrete parameters that would bring the idea to fruition. After several versions, we locked in on a design which is the Papadum Express today!
How did you test whether the idea was a viable business proposition?
Both of us are somewhat analytical people. Nothing begins without viable market scrutiny and a public acceptance inspection. It’s how we function, even with pet projects. Our very conservative global survey and study showed that the product was worthy of investment and procurement. Period! A business plan was drawn up and we began patenting the utility and design
in several countries around the world, as the Papadum Express also amplified itself as a cross-culture kitchen utility. Now, everybody can make quick papadums without too much know-how or hassle! Weighing in on these facts, off we went into another Kadva Korp venture and launched the Papadum Express.
What did the design and testing process involve?
The design took about 12 months to complete as this project was about
designing a tray that worked in the microwave without any water molecules in the food. Getting the tray architecture to function and appropriately disperse heat evenly across the whole rack, while permitting a controlled flow of moisture dispersion as the papadums cook in the microwave, and keeping them dry and crunchy, was challenging. Another addition was to make the tray eloquent to serve cooked papadums straight onto the table. Our initial work started at home by drawing and furnishing several models. On finalising the shape, size and quantity specifications, we hired an industrial CAD design team to take our design to the next level. We worked on several models, before deciding and locking in on the shape which is the Papadum Express today. After which came 3D-CAD printed beta models for guaranteed manufacturing feasibilities and injection mould creation. On approving the 3D model, the design stage was finally complete. We picked a reputed Australian manufacturer with very high standards of quality who delivered the final product. We are extremely pleased with the results and so are our customers!
How challenging was it to bring the product to the market?
Very challenging! We had to sacrifice time, money and learn real fast. There are no rehearsals. We had to be disciplined and find the tenacity to take on something this big, challenging not just ourselves but also inspiring the team through to
its finality. Multitasking is essential, we had to wear 12 hats sometimes. Its about 70 hour weeks with no end in sight, finding finances, balancing books; draw up a business road- map, pricing models and marketing strategies. Not to mention finding warehousing, sorting out logistics, insurance, packaging and printing, maintaining an online presence, prompt customer service and order requests, keep inventory, taxation responsibilities… Basically, busy, very busy!
How was the project funded?
We managed to fund it ourselves with personal savings and some loans. We have no other partners currently, it is still a 100% Kadva Korp product. But the future may pan out differently.
Does having full time jobs affect the growth of your business?
Working at a regular job and pushing business projects is always
challenging and a tough ask. But we’ve been seasoned and are handling the work ethos/format much better. In the future, we’d like a bigger team on board, dedicated to various units of the business and allowing for more rapid growth. But all in due course.
How is the product marketed?
Our marketing is a mix of traditional and guerilla tactics. We used local print media, YouTube videos, Adwords and other online ads on foodie sites. In conjunction we rolled out the whole social circle: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Kantabiz and Google+. All this chatter has given our online store www.papadumexpress.com a strong Google search presence, which helps tremendously. Of course, many of our first customers were family, friends and work colleagues and their connections. Word of mouth is a powerful platform. The product is now sold at the larger Indian grocery stores.
What awards have you won so far?
We have won a Sydney 2014 Design Award and the product is shortlisted as finalist for the Melbourne and London Awards too. Winning has been good for the Papadum Express brand and for the business, as it
is a world-class, Australian-made product. Over time, we hope to continue winning awards as the brand grows in prominence.
So what’s in the pipeline?
We do have many other projects in the Kadva Korp bank of ideas, of which some are actual items and products, others are software based and still others have already been patented, pre-designed and registered for trademark purposes! But its one step at a time for us! We try and stay excited and engaged with all our projects, which helps. We genuinely want to change and affect lives of our customers in a positive manner. It’s a proud feeling!