Hearing the names of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, the first consideration comes from the mind-blowing visuals and the best tasting tea. But these beautiful places have much more than tea and mountains. Sanjog Dutta, 30, a resident of Darjeeling two years ago, felt something similar. Sanjog is a native of Kurseong city in Darjeeling district and has been a former journalist and political consultant. Sanjog, who works in different cities, whenever he finds the special things found in Kurseong on the online platform, he finds nothing but tea here. However, Sanjog knew that apart from tea on his own mountains, there is a lot that every Indian should reach, such as thukpa and glass noodles!
So he started a small online platform called Daammee, which caters to various products from the cottage industry located in the hills of Darjeeling and Siliguri to customers across India through its online platform. However, there was another reason behind starting this business.
About it Businesslend Told that, “Soon after the lockdown was announced last year, I realized that the cottage industry of the mountains is facing a serious economic crisis. Some families living in far-flung areas are also struggling to eat. I started thinking how to give them a platform that would help their product reach a larger market. We talked to some people in this regard. ”
The platform was established on 24 May 2020, amid the COVID-19 epidemic. ‘Dammi’ is a Nepali word meaning ‘finest’. Her mother, Rachna Dutta, who has been a teacher, is helping in this new business.
Taste of mountains
Sanjog studied at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Starting a business amidst the epidemic was fraught with challenges for Sanjog.
He explains, “Exploring logistics in particular was definitely the most challenging part, because we had to take care of customers across the country. There is no doubt that our business was small and we did not have a big budget to market ourselves. There were also some supply chain issues. After customer feedback, we resolved most of them. ”
In such a situation, the question may arise in your mind that what does Dummy have for customers? Sanjog explains about this, “We have many products from the hilly areas, ranging from food to decor items and Nepalese cultural apparel. The list grows every week. Talking about the food items, there are also many things available, such as dale (famous round pepper), Chinese sausage (lap chong), Gundruk (Fermented leafy green vegetable and a popular food in Nepal), smoked Pork, Mutton Pickle, Exxon (Kinma), Chhurpi Cheese (traditional cheese eaten in the Himalayan region), Thukpa and Glass Noodles. The most in-demand products are meat pickles, kalimpong noodles, titaura (popular Nepali snack) and churupi. We bring them mainly from Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Kurseong, but ship them to different cities. ”
Their focus is mainly on small cottage industries in the region. He adds, “We buy these products directly from the people who make them with our own hands. Then, we bring it to our warehouse. We do not compromise on the quality of those products. After this, by packing these products, we ship it to different parts of the country. Apart from the products, we have also received a lot of praise for the packaging. We ship 90% of our items across India. At present, we do home-delivered cold-cut (pre-cooked chilled meats) only in Kolkata and Siliguri. Our biggest market is definitely metro cities. ”
Sanjog says that in his journey from journalist to political consultant and now to become a businessman, he faced few problems. They believe that there has not been much change in the way they work for them. As a journalist, he used to run after stories and today he follows individual suppliers to expand his company based on product. Currently, he has a team of 12 people to run this business.
“But the thing that gives us satisfaction is that our customers bring smiles to the faces of families who live in remote areas of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong,” says Sanjog. Perhaps they are not able to visit Chennai or Bengaluru or Mumbai, but their products are now reaching thousands of homes in these cities. ”
Viraf Patel, a chef from Mumbai, shared his experiences for Dammi in a December 2020 Facebook post, saying: “For the longest time we had the privilege of going home to family and friends who brought us Daley and other beautiful Nepalese things.” Used to give I learned about and ordered daammee.in through a good friend from Nepal. However these things had to go a long way to reach us (due to COVID-19 protocol). ”
A review on Daammee’s Facebook page reveals one aspect of how the products available on the platform remind people of home.
Another Daammee customer Anuradha Pradhan Thapa says, “I ordered a dry buff pickle, which turned out to be awesome.” The same crispness, the same taste and the feeling that I have come back to my city. ”
In a very short span of time, Daammee has earned considerable name in Siliguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Regarding this, Sanjog says, “I think the biggest contribution is from our customers. Our main customer base is from metro cities, where such items are not available. In addition, almost all of our products undergo a thorough quality check. Our suppliers have been very supportive from the very beginning. Yes, I agree that there have been minor flaws with some orders, but we are constantly working on it and trying to improve it in every way. ”
Sanjog’s business is doing well. He says, “Our sales have crossed the Rs 20 lakh mark. While this figure seems large for a company that started barely 10 months ago, less than 3% of the profits have come from us. As for the cold-cut, we were initially delivering them only in Siliguri. We have expanded from this month to Kolkata, where we deliver items within 24 to 48 hours of placing an order. We are also eyeing other states, and we are constantly looking for like-minded partners. ”