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Diksha Khanna matches technology with confectionary to bring joy to the lives of others
Chocolates are wickedly delicious treats that release happy chemicals in the brain, are rich in antioxidants and help improve moods. Thanks to a creative mumpreneur (mum entrepreneur), this ultimate comfort food takes on yet another new form. Fresh from the gala ceremony where she won the St George Banking Group AusMumpreneur 2016 Retail Award, Diksha Khanna is savouring a sweet dream come true.
The Ausmumpreneur Awards recognise and acknowledge success in business, product development and innovation. Hoppers Crossing resident Diksha was awarded for being the first in Australia to customise macarons, marshmallows and fortune cookies, with the help of groundbreaking technology under the name Amazeology Australia.
Achieving the prestigious Mumpreneur Award under the Retail category is a validation of all her blood, sweat, toil and tears, Diksha said.
“It all started when we fell in love with the concept of printing on chocolate,” Diksha said, sharing the story of her initiation into the world of personalised sweets.
Leaving her home and family in Delhi, Diksha migrated to Melbourne ten years ago after marrying Gaurav Khanna, her partner in life and business. She had never held a job before and a short stint as an assistant accountant made it clear that she wanted to be her own boss. It was time to look for a business opportunity.
Exhaustive research by the Khannas led to the discovery of a food printing technology in the US that had yet to find a niche in Australia. Creative juices were flowing, discussions fired up and negotiations got underway to bring the technology to Australia. With absolutely no idea how to run a business, no support other than from her husband and very little finance, Diksha started a small business that required ingenuity and passion.
“Initially no one was ready to lend us money to finance this expensive venture,” Diksha explained. The pair took out an unsecured loan at a high interest rate, while Gaurav started working two jobs to support the household and loan repayments.
“There were many hurdles to begin with but we persisted,” she continued. “It took us nearly three years to figure out the ideal market for our product and how to promote and distribute it. We decided to target Corporates and optimised distributor sales channels. Gaurav eventually gave up his job and joined me in running the business.”
Success may be sweet now but getting there was certainly not smooth. Diksha remembers the time when she was about to deliver her first baby and a large order came through.
“At that time I was the only one who knew how to operate the printing machine and we were unable to fulfill the order as I went into labour,” she explained. “I came back from the hospital after the birth of my daughter and two days later I was back at work juggling like mad between my newborn and my demanding business.”
Today, Diksha dotes on her two children and wishes to build their future through her company. She looks after her creative venture Amazeology while Gaurav oversees their original Branded Chocolates and Confectionary wholesale arm.
Division of duties, self-reliance and tenacity have seen them through and now they are reaping the rewards of their efforts.
As the founder of Amazeology, Diksha was also recently declared the winner of the Emerging Multicultural Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 at Wyndham City Council’s inaugural Multicultural Entrepreneurs Awards event.
Indeed it’s been a hat trick in awards for the enterprising couple as Branded Chocolates and Confectionary recently won the Wyndham Business Award 2016 in Manufacturing.
Speaking after the presentation evening, Gaurav said, “I am really proud and happy for all the efforts that have gone into this business over the years. I had multiple jobs while still working on the business, but I moved forward with only one thing in mind never quit,” he said, thanking his wife Diksha, his kids and his family for their ongoing support.
Not the kind to simply rest on their laurels Diksha and Gaurav are busy setting up a not-for-profit organisation called Celebrating Life with the support of Wyndham City Council. Taking the sweetness further and sharing it with those who can ill afford such luxury, they intend to celebrate birthdays for underprivileged children by creating customised parties.
A recent kick-start to their initiative saw the couple offer customised macarons to over 150 people as the Salvation Army distributed burgers and blankets to the homeless. Their two young children accompanied them.
“Being a mother, this cause is very close to my heart,” said Diksha. “It is wonderful to see my children involve themselves in these activities that bring joy to others.”
The future holds great promise for this young family as they continue to spread delight. Diksha and Gaurav are now focused on working ‘on’ their business instead of ‘in’ it and are planning to take this technology to India very soon.