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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Meet the former Air-Hostess who used her mom’s pickle recipes to earn lakhs

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Yachika Chopra established her pickle company Circa in April 2021 from her house with Rs 20,000.

Yachika Chopra used to like seeing aeroplanes in the sky as a child growing up in the little city of Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh.

By chance, Yachika became an air hostess and worked as cabin crew for approximately 10 years until losing her job during the pandemic and becoming a pickle entrepreneur.

She not only lost her work in 2020, but also her mother, Poonam Chopra, to whom she was very connected and from whose journal she obtained the recipes for all her handmade pickles.

Yachika’s shift from the glamorous world of the airline sector, where she was making a solid income working for Emirates in Dubai, travelling between Los Angeles and Dubai and staying in the most costly hotels, rubbing shoulders with celebrities and famous people on flight, to running a homemade pickle business from the small town of Porvorim in Goa, demonstrates that happiness does not come with money alone.

Yachika, 34, established her pickle company Circa in April 2021 from her house in Porvorim, Goa, with Rs 20,000.

She spent the money on pickling gear and materials and created her first product, chilli pickles. She now earns around Rs 1 lakh per month with no substantial overhead expenditures while still working from home.

Yachika first launched an Instagram profile and gave free pickles to family and friends.

The major break came when she sold 60 jars in a few hours at a neighbourhood display.

Circa currently sells pickles in eight different flavours: carrot, chilli, cauliflower, brinjal, garlic, mango, tomato, and lemon. They are available in 100 gm (Rs 125) and 200 gm (Rs 275) jars.

The goods are available on both their website and on Amazon.

Yachika further states that her products do not include preservatives and may last from six months to a year. She claims she did not follow all of the directions in her mother’s recipe, which she discovered in an old blue journal.

Customers initially placed orders over the phone and over WhatsApp. Once she created the website, her sales climbed by 45%. 90% of her orders now come via her website, with the remainder coming from Amazon, phone calls, and WhatsApp.

Yachika was raised in a middle-class family. She completed her secondary education at Bishop Conrad Senior Secondary School in Bareilly. Her family relocated to Pune’s Wanowrie district in 1999, and she enrolled at Hutchings High School, where she graduated with honours in 2001.

She then earned a BCom from Wadia College in Pune and an MBA in Human Resources from TASMAC in Pune. She afterwards worked in the HR department of a financial business in Pune for almost a year.

In 2011, her aunt, who worked for an Indian airline, invited her to an interview for a cabin crew position with Air India. Despite her disinterest in the job, her family members encouraged her to apply because she was unhappy with her HR position.

She didn’t obtain the job with Air India, but she did find a position with Jet Airlines as an air hostess, where she worked for almost a year in Mumbai.

She joined Emirates in Dubai in 2011, and her life has never been the same since.

She married Ray Vaz, who owns a tour and travel company in Goa, in 2019. Yachika first met Ray in Goa, where she was attending a friend’s wedding. They fell in love and got married with each other.

Later, on July 8, 2020, during the pandemic, she received tragic news in the form of an email notifying her that she had been put off from her work. She was in Goa with her spouse at the time.

It was during this time that she discovered her mother’s old diary with all the pickle recipes while cleaning her house in Bardez, Goa. Of course, the rest is ‘her-story.’

Curiously, she received a call from Emirates in September 2021, offering her the position again, but Yachika rejected.

Yachika intends to establish a manufacturing hub where she can hire women from poor neighbourhoods and expand her business.

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