Fantasie Chocolates has been providing Mumbai an alternative to traditional Indian mithai since 1946.
At 60, the niche choclateur is showing no signs of slowing down. On the contrary, increased competition has given it a shot in the arm.
"Competition has been good because it prevents me from becoming complacent," says Managing Director Zeba Kohli who joined the family business as an 18 year old.
Kohli is already walking the talk-there are several plans in the pipeline to give the company a coat of the young and funky-among her recent efforts was a fashion show complete with chocolate bustiers and accessories.
But it's not just a cosmetic change that the company is witnessing. Creating the chocolate experience and making it accessible to the masses is big on Kohli's agenda.
Fantasie express outlets at Atria mall to start with and several other malls that are coming up not just in Mumbai but in Delhi and Bangalore as well.
"Malls provide more retail space than standalone stores and have opened up a whole new vista for entrepreneurs," she says.
The launch of Luxor, its premium brand of handmade chocolates priced at Rs 1500 per kilo on its 60th anniversary is yet another step in the direction. The regular Fantasie range of chocolates is priced between Rs 999 and Rs 1300 per kilo.
With 30 retailers all over India and five outlets in Mumbai and Pune, the company has managed to maintain a taste 25 per cent profit margin over the last five years.
Though it has a distribution arrangement with Swiss chocolate manufacturer Lindt, its own products, like its popular almond chocolates, have stood the test of time. Pistachio chocolates come a close second.
But that's not all. They have over 70 varieties that can be delivered all across India and gift wrapped too. Creating an experience that's exclusive to each customer should he so desire, is a must for a lifestyle product like chocolates, and avers the chocolatier.
Started by Kohli's grandfather Ahmed Fazulbhoy, who also ran refrigeration and air-conditioning business, Fantasie started as a single store at Marine Lines, with a small workshop in the courtyard.
Today, there is a corporate office, a company showroom and a factory in suburban Andheri. The staff has been spruced up and the offices updated, with a separate web division that is an intrinsic part of the company's functions.
The corporate gifting segment has been a recent addition. A separate research wing for developing new chocolates has also helped. But Kohli says keeping abreast with international trends has made all the difference.