Disrupting a traditional market place while preserving its cultural identity

Disrupting a traditional market place while preserving its cultural identity

Understand the psychology behind the purchase

There is a challenge to flex and adapt to different cultures when you work in an industry like mine, but I’ve found this has got easier as I have begun to learn and understand more about the thinking and psychology behind the purchase. 

Getting to know your customer is key to providing a product offering that they will truly appreciate.  Success in business is really all about resilience and persistence and a will to achieve your goals, because sometimes it can feel like an easier option to give up.

In terms of gender issues in this market place, I’ve had to accept that change is happening gradually, but it will be slow. 

There are more females working in support functions, but I have yet to come across any leading women in the Asian food/supplier sector that are truly making decisions at the top.

Be mentally prepared for setbacks

If you are keen to disrupt a traditional market, you need to do your homework first and understand how that industry works inside out. 

If it is an industry not used to dealing with women in power, the chances of you getting a fair shot and any accepted meeting requests will be slim.

To get your business off the ground you may need to remove the focus on more personal matters (i.e. gender) to diffuse any potential tension that could have been caused. 

This will also enable you to have a more productive meeting and focus on what is important – the success of your business.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Understand exactly what the barriers to entry may be and create a plan of action to overcome them. Without being aware of the barriers, it will be difficult to pre-empt and tackle them successfully. 

However, tackle these piecemeal one by one else you will overwhelm yourself and feel you are not making much progress. Be mentally prepared too; you will have setbacks and come across challenges you may not have thought would occur.  

It is important to maintain a positive frame of mind and to not let things get you down.  Turn your restlessness into relentlessness and this will also open up more doors for more women to join you in breaking down the stereotypes and barriers in the future – and that can only be a positive thing.

Challenge stereotypes and make change happen

My goal is to become the leading online consumer brand for Asian cuisine.  Cooking Asian cuisine from scratch can be very daunting with so many unique ingredients that make up a dish.

The idea behind my business is to make cooking Asian cuisine a less scary process and to show how easy it can be to cook it from scratch.

I also want to challenge stereotypes of Asian cuisine and prove that is does not have to be unhealthy and full of oil to taste good and that requires a level of disruption in terms of what has always been a tradition. 

I want to be able to showcase the plethora of recipes and dishes that can be cooked up that are quick, healthy and super tasty. 

Markets steeped in heritage can be tricky but the prospect of leading changes that will make all the difference in the long term, is an exciting and rewarding one and something I now feel much better prepared for.


About the author

Jyoti Patel is the Founder of Red Rickshaw, the UK’s largest online Asian Grocer providing a one-stop shop for authentic Asian groceries and spices, delivered straight to your door. 


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