What does a 23 year old fashion graduate do upon returning as a vegan from London?
The answer lies in Naimita’s Bombay based bakery - An Ode To Gaia
Once she moved back to India in October 2017, she took up designing as a freelancer but somehow felt it didn’t really click, despite having specialised in footwear designing. While she was trying to take up the naturally conventional route as one would post a fashion degree, she struggled to survive in Bombay as a Vegan, a lifestyle choice she adopted while in London. To resolve this crisis, she spent most of her time in the kitchen conjuring up known and unknown recipes for herself, “I was making everything myself, plant milks, yogurt, cheese, desserts and butter too. It was through this that I found my calling. At potlucks people devoured my vegan cheesecakes”
She noticed the gap in the market and realised people wanted to make healthier, animal free choices. She wanted to be part of the plant-based movement in India and revolutionise the dessert industry. This idea gave rise to her brand the name for which is derived out of her intentions to save our planet by making the right food choices. Gaia is the goddess of the earth, and an ode is a poem or a dedication to someone special.
CREATING THIS BRAND AND ENCOURAGING AND ENABLING A PLANT-BASED LIFESTYLE WAS MY DEDICATION TO THE EARTH, IT WAS MY ODE TO GAIA
During her research she understood that the vegan movement in India was more of a health movement, which is one factor that made it unattractive to the millennial population. Not everyone is looking for an oil free, raw or sugar free desserts. Sometimes you just want a sugary, chocolatey, gooey brownie and don’t want to think about the ingredients.
“I took it upon myself to really perfect my recipes so they do not taste different from their non-vegan counterparts. It took me over 7 months to perfect my baked cheesecake recipe. So it tastes just as good as the cream cheese version. It light and creamy, not too sweet and bakes so well. It’s my proudest achievement, along with French butter cookies that absolutely melt in your mouth, and they have zero butter!” boasts Naimita.
She also wanted to price her products at rates similar to regular bakeries. To make vegan food accessible, it must be accessible by everyone, not just the upper middle class population. A 200-rupee price tag for a cookie is not something everyone can afford, and that’s why vegan-ism has such a bad name globally. It’s seen as an elitist lifestyle and she want to show that it most definitely is not. Her intent is to make good quality vegan food accessible to as many people as possible.
While at the moment Naimita is trying to get the word out by focussing on offline events where people can get a taste of her baked goodies themselves, in the long run she wants her brand to go as commercial as being available in departmental stores pan India!