Here at Unicorn Marketing Co., we have the privilege of working with some incredible creatives, entrepreneurs, and overall wonderful people! We want to highlight our creatives and their amazing businesses. Meet one of our lovely clients, Deepa from Not Just Curries!
Not Just Curries
Not Just Curries serves the Kelowna, British Columbia area with freshly prepared and flavourful South Indian meals that you can’t buy at a local restaurant. There is a common misconception that all Indian food is curry. In fact, the flavours of South Indian Cuisine are vastly different and we aim to introduce these flavours to our community neighbours. Aside from filling bellies with tasty food, Not Just Curries is here to introduce a lesser-known side of Indian cuisine to Western Canada.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company!
Originally from the Southern region of India, I met Rahul, and we got married back in 2015. I came to Canada to do my MBA in 2017 and Rahul (my husband and co-owner of our business) joined me 2.5 years later. When we moved to Canada, we struggled to find any restaurants or meals that felt like home. Western Canada is filled with “Indian” foods and restaurants, but they cater to Northern Indian foods like butter chicken, naan, etc. We knew that Indian cuisine was so much more than what was being offered here. Southern Indian cuisine isn’t very known in Canada, and that made us sad because we knew that our new community was missing so much!
For years we jokingly talked about opening our own South Indian restaurant so we could share our favourite flavours and culture with the community, but the timing wasn’t right, and we never pursued the idea. We only started to get serious about the idea after our move to Kelowna, British Columbia, in late 2020.
At the time, Rahul was working in financial services and realized it wasn’t really his passion. Food was his passion. He quit his banking job and, together with me, Not Just Curries was born. We’re on a mission to introduce the culture of South India to our Okanagan neighbours by sharing the unique flavours and foods we grew up with. With Rahul’s experience cooking South Indian food and my background in business and marketing, we work together to bring our favourite flavours and culture to our community.
How did you first get started in your industry?
We just dove right in! We knew we wanted to start small as it’s pretty risky starting a business. So we brainstormed ways to come up with a business model that worked for us.
How was the process of building your own company?
Confusing! Haha! Mostly because we had to learn how to start a business in Canada. It’s so different compared to how things are done in India. So at first, it was so confusing. But I definitely learned patience through the process and I took it one day at a time!
What were the good things about building your own company and what would you have done differently?
All the learning and confidence that comes with it! Building the business has truly shown me that I’m so much more capable than I think I am! And that has helped me so much with self-confidence. And I’ve learned so much along the way – especially since neither my husband nor I have any training in the food industry!
What I would have done differently is probably being more patient. In the beginning, I wanted to do everything all at once and beat myself up for every small little thing that went wrong. I had to teach myself that 1) everyone makes mistakes, and 2) this is a brand new endeavor and there is bound to be a learning curve!
What do you love most about your job?
A big part of our business is sharing things about our culture through our food. This is definitely one of my favourite things about the job and about the business! We use social media and physical story cards (these go out with each order) to convey things about our culture – and that brings me so much joy!
What are some of your favourite dishes that you offer?
My top 3 are definitely:
- Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani
- Mangalorean Chicken Ghee Roast
- Indian Chicken Kebab
What is your typical day like at work?
My typical day is interesting because I also work a full-time job as a Marketing Manager in real estate marketing. So, I’m at my ‘day job’ from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday. And once I’m home, I take a quick break and then start working on Not Just Curries. I write out the stories for the week’s story cards, plan and create social media content, edit things on the website, and everything else!
How do you handle work/life balance?
I admit I was not good at this when we first started the business. But soon, I reached peak burnout, and I realized I had to change things. So now, I ensure I take breaks between doing things, and also try and get outdoors a little more. Also, I’ve learned prioritization is key! Everything doesn’t need to be done at once. So I space out my tasks and set realistic timelines for each of them!
What do you love to do when you are not working?
Watching TV helps me tune out the noise in my head. And so does hanging out with my dog! And getting outdoors is definitely something that helps my mind receive some clarity. One of my goals for 2023 is to get out more too!
If you had one piece of advice to share for small business owners, what would it be?
Things don’t have to be 100% perfect to start a business! I realized that if we keep waiting for everything to be absolutely perfect, we’ll never get going! Also, as a small business, things will never be 100% ready because we’re always going to be innovating and introducing new features/capabilities of the business. As long as you’ve got 80% in place, go ahead and start that business! There truly is never a ‘perfect time.’
Do you have any exciting news that you would like us to share?
Yes! We’re collaborating with another local business, Chickpeace Zero Waste Refillery, to introduce a pickup location! Currently, we can only cater to people within our delivery radius. But once we launch the pickup location arm of our business, customers outside of our delivery radius can order from us and have it delivered to Chickpeace from where they can pick up their scrumptious meal 🙂
How can people connect with you?
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: notjustcurrieskelowna
- Instagram: @notjustcurrieskelowna
- Website: notjustcurries.ca
Thank you Deepa for taking the time to share about yourself and your company, and thank you to all our readers!