The two principles that have helped Anjula Devi grow her business

Over the past four years we’ve interviewed over 200 women, finding out how they’ve followed their passions to start and build careers and businesses. 

One such woman was Anjula Devi – a mum who had turned her lifelong passion for food into a growing home business.

We were delighted to find out recently that Anjula’s business is still going strong, with a partnership with Lakeland UK and a book about to be published.

Anjula’s story hasn’t been without its challenges, but through it all she stuck to two key principles. In her follow up with us, she explains what they are and how they’ve helped her.

The two important milestones in my career to date

I first wrote for Talented Ladies Club in July 2015 – Want to start a business from your passion? How one mum did it.

The business that I founded is Anjula Devi – authentic Indian cooking. In that feature I covered a short number of key themes. As I read through it again now, two of those stand out for me. One was that my USP (unique selling point) is individuality, and the other was that my dream was to publish a book.

I was delighted when I was asked to compose a follow-up piece on what has happened to me since then.

I can now proudly call myself ‘chef and author’. My journey since the summer of 2015 has had plenty of challenges and I have had to be incredibly determined and focused on achieving my goals.

There have been two important milestones during that time, and there is some value in expanding on both. The first was the launch of a how to book , an introduction to cooking authentic Indian food, and a range of Anjula Devi branded Indian utensils in partnership with Lakeland UK. The second is the launch of my first cookery book, Spice for Life.

I created a brand with Lakeland

When I first met the wonderful team at Lakeland, I carefully articulated my USP. I explained that it is based on the unique food that I create and the life that I have lived. It is supplemented by my insistence on not following the crowd, being innovative and creative, as well as being driven by my instinct and passion.

My recipes are absolutely unique, and I was able to explain this as well as sharing insights into how we could collaboratively construct a proposition, under the Anjula Devi brand, that would give Lakeland a stronger presence and profile for selling Indian food related products.

What has been so rewarding along the way is the interaction that I have had with those who have tried and loved the unique recipes. Also it’s been great to hear stories of how the masala dabba has given lots of people the confidence to create great Indian food in their own homes.

You can see the range of products that we created here.

I’m about to publish my first book

Also my first Indian cookery book, Spice for Life, launches in April/May this year. I found the right publisher, Clearview Books, and the journey with them over the past 18 months has been an unforgettable one.

When I first met the two co-founders, Catharine and Simonne, I knew that they had the wealth of skills and knowledge to publish something that we could both feel very proud of.

This cookery book has been a long time in the making! It started when I used to spend endless hours cooking with my dad, who was a culinary genius. He used to cater for large Indian weddings, and built such a reputation that people used to check his availability before they booked their wedding date.

My early childhood memories are of sitting on the kitchen floor grinding spices in a large pestle and mortar which was almost bigger than I was. We used to grow amazing fresh produce in our back garden, and often cooked outdoors over a hot coal-fire. Many of our recipes were created by either experiment or accident – like lamb and gooseberries or potato and rhubarb.

My Dad used to write his recipes in capital letters in a scrap book. He wasn’t able to publish them, but I promised him, before he died, that one day I would. This dream of sharing his recipes with as many people as possible has always fuelled me.

I cried when I first saw the front cover for the book, which I know he would have absolutely loved.

I believe that it is hugely important to have great content, remain credible and share knowledge which people hopefully feel has real value. It’s not about how quickly you can cook a curry, or how many books you’ve published. People want to see something that’s authentic and provides inspiration.

I can’t wait to see what the response is, both in the UK and internationally, with English and Dutch language versions having already been printed. I have well over a thousand recipes, so if people really like Spice for Life there could be more cookery books to follow.

You need to establish two key principles to be successful

My journey as an entrepreneur and business founder hasn’t ever been a straightforward one. The one thing that has enabled me to continually make progress and increase momentum has been a relentless insistence on following my passion and doing things in my own way. I have a strong conviction that everyone’s talent will see the light of day!

I would encourage those who are attracted by a similar journey to establish two key principles above all others:

  1. Firstly, always remain focused on your core business proposition.
  2. And secondly, continually pause to objectively check that you stand out from your competitors by being truly different and especially unique.

You can find out more about Anjula Devi on her website