Tell us about yourself
We are Mrs. & Mr. Adil (Fiza Khan & Adil Rafiq). We have done our schoolings from Presentation Convent and Burn Hall School respectively. Adil is a B. Tech from NIT Hazratbal and I have done MSc. Clinical Biochemistry from Kashmir University. Though an engineer, Adil has left his job and is now an established entrepreneur while I am a newbie to business. We also have an integral member with us, Basit Masudi, who is a 22-year-old hardworking chap. He has done his schooling from R.P. School and has done Civil Engineering from SSM College.
On left Fiza Khan & Adil Rafiq & on right Basit Masudi
Tell us about The Crunch Time Popcorns
The Crunch Time Popcorns is a trade name of our locally producing gourmet/flavored popcorns. Whenever we used to be out of Kashmir we would have them at any multiplex but back home you don’t find them. So the idea came in 2015 when we decided to introduce our own local production of flavored Popcorns. The kids of this era eat so much junk. Popcorns are nutritious over any other junk. So the idea was to introduce something that is nutritious and not junk for kids.
The thinking was half work done but then it took months of experiments to get the right taste and recipe for the flavors. None of the people from multiplexes would help us with the flavors, calling it a secret. So it was a big task to find the right recipe. Although we managed to introduce the product in the market in 2016 but due to unavoidable circumstances nothing worked out properly. However, Alhamdulillah this year again we have started to make a small space in the market for us. We have started with three stores where you can find our boxes which are Pick and Choose (Residency Road), A to Z (Rajbagh) and Chick Blast (Nigeen). We often sell in SSM College (Parihaspora) and Lacima cafe (Karan Nagar).
How has the response be so far
By the grace of Almighty, Alhamdulillah all those who have tried our corns, have always craved for more. It is always good to know that your hard work has paid off.
How did you initially raise funding for it?
Actually, it’s a self-funded project. No one would like to take a risk for a project that includes a thing like flavored popcorns. It seemed like a crazy project to people but Alhamdulillah we are doing fine and carving a niche for ourselves in the market.
Who is the team behind the business The Crunch Time Popcorns?
Not to name the team behind the scenes would have been unfair to them. They include Rashid, Arif, Mursaleen, Showkat, Waseem, Muneeb, Azeem and Arooj. All of them have always stood like a rock behind us and worked so hard in one way or the other from buying to preparing or packaging to marketing. We are really grateful to all of them from the bottom of our hearts. Without their support from the beginning, The Crunch Time Popcorns would not have been born.
In a place like Kashmir, which has no cinema halls where pop corns sell most, how do plan to thrive in such conditions
As told earlier, our initiative for this was to stop seeing kids eating all the adulterated junk. The idea was to bring comparatively nutritious food disguising the junk. We all know how nutritious the popcorns are. Not only is it good for kids but also for adults. Popcorn is a whole grain that is 100% unprocessed with no additional additives, hidden ingredients, or GMOs. Additionally, popcorn is relatively high in fiber. In fact, one serving of popcorn can provide about 70% of an individual’s recommended daily intake of whole grain. It contains no cholesterol & is virtually fat-free. It’s hard to believe a snack food that tastes so good, can actually be good for you..!! But it’s true. Regarding thriving, I believe that the cause is good, the effect will be better..!!
What is the best lesson you have learned from starting your business in Kashmir?
The best lesson I learned as a newbie to business is putting trust in Allah’s doings. Nothing ever comes easy. There are no free lunches. You have to work really hard to be in the league. But also need to have lots of patience. As we all know nothing ever happens without the will of Allah. So we have to work harder and put our trust and faith in Allah and just leave the results to Him. He knows the best..!!
What has been your biggest challenge you have faced so far?
Every day is a new challenge. From the inception of the idea till now, it’s a struggle and a challenge too. From finding the right recipe to keeping them fresh without chemical additives was a real challenge. But Alhamdulillah Almighty has always been generous. And we know that without pain, there is no gain..!!
In the coming years, where do you see The Crunch Time Popcorns?
I foresee The Crunch Time Popcorns as a brand that every Kashmiri folk will know for its quality. For now, it’s available only at few stores but in future it to be available at every nukkad.
What message do you have for readers
You will never know unless you try it! A small request to all the readers to kindly taste our popcorns. We won’t disappoint you in any way. We need your love, support, and blessings!
You can join us on Facebook under the name ‘The Crunch Time Popcorns’ or follow us on Instagram on ‘crunchtime_popcorns’.