Wonder Women | Kolkata | Season 2 | Episode 2

When She means Business….

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” ―  Mary Anne Radmacher

Thanks to First Idea PR, my visit to Kolkata this time got interesting by meeting some of women who are making difference in the food business.

After speaking to Shrabani, I was wondering whom to reach out next and then came a surprise for me meeting someone who have been in Hyderabad for a brief stint and running a cafe with Kolkata’s favourite pastime, Chaa (tea). I couldn’t resist the opportunity and went ahead for tête-à-tête over my favourite Match Moringa. These women entrepreneurs have been running their business with a professional camaraderie & sheer integrity. One thing common among them is their passion to stand out. So here is presenting a new season with new stories which are bound to inspire all of us.

My second conversation in Season 2 with Priti Sen Arora… Let’s find out from her, the story of Karma Kettle in this brief conversation.


1. Tell a little about yourself

Although I’m born in Kolkata I spent my early schooling years in Chennai and then Bangalore, where we lived for 7 and 5 years respectively. In 1995 we moved back to Kolkata where I completed my education in Loreto House, Middleton Row. 
I pursued B.Com (Calcutta University) and a B.Sc Management program with University of London (Lead College: London School of economics).
In 2003 I found an opportunity to participate in a global F&B internship for Hyatt Corporation’s flagship property in Beaver Creek, Colorado ( USA) and got selected with around 8 candidates from diverse nationalities and educational backgrounds. Got promoted to F&B Supervisor and was voted Employee of the Year in 2004. Moved to London early 2005 and worked with the Conrad in Chelsea Harbour as a Guest Relations Manager. Came back to India( Kolkata) in 2007 and worked with Oberoi Hotels in National Sales for a very short period of 6 months- met Dhiraj Arora, my husband.
We shared a common passion for food, wine & travel and decided to open 2 restaurants in Singapore- Karma Kettle & Rhapsody( Cluny Court) and The Clay Oven( Dempsey Road) In 2011 we decided to move back to India to be closer to our families. Karma Kettle was born….
Some of my hobbies include- swimming, yoga, wine appreciation & grooving to the 80s and early 90s music!!

2. What made you start Karma Kettle?

Karma Kettle in India was re-born to address the need to redefine the way tea is packaged, drunk & enjoyed. In India, there are a lot of traditional tea companies focusing on single estate or single origin teas and very few working with blended varietals. In the past decade, blended teas have gained increasing popularity across the globe. Blending teas with different herbs, floral elements & spices to create an artisanal blend, offers tea drinkers a chance to explore a different flavor dimension.

I also wanted to focus on Tea being a healthy drinking choice & of tea being a diverse beverage offering the drinker a chance to savor a completely different flavor experience in each different blend.

3. What were you doing before Karma Kettle?

Running the F&B Operations for our two restaurants in Singapore and also Marketing Director of our family owned hotel- Cochrane Place Hotel, Kurseong.

4. As a woman, what challenges did you face while setting it up? How did you overcome?

The biggest challenge we faced is hiring the right talent to understand our brand philosophy. Kolkata has faced a huge talent drain to other metro cities. We have tried to a great extent to overcome attrition rates, by maintaining a fun work environment that maintains an open line of communication.

5. How was Karma Kettle accepted by Kolkata?

The response has been nothing short of superb. In a city where tea is an intrinsic part of our local culture, the competition is severe. We have seen 4-5 new entrants in the past one year. We have carved out a niche for ourselves in this competitive market and have received a great response.

 6. What is the USP of Karma Kettle?

Our USP is definitely our Wellness teas- a careful amount of research and studies have gone into determining the right blends for this market. We stay away from all artificial flavoring & colorings. I strongly believe in embodying a healthy lifestyle and through Karma Kettle I aim to do precisely that- however we want to make this interesting & appealing to the customers without boring them.

7. How do you motivate your workforce?

Keeping an open line of communication & always being there for our workforce. We maintain a 100% transparency.

8. What plan do you have for Karma Kettle in the next 5 years?

We are looking to expand to the South- Bangalore & Hyderabad are in our top list. We are exploring the format of replicating our tea retail & tea room in a Mall space and also partnering with a few select five-star hotels in creating.

9. Do you encourage other women entrepreneurs make similar ventures? What tips do you have for them?

The opportunities are endless for women today. Never second guess yourself- never let your gender get in the way of you achieving your true potential. Be prepared for a lot of hard work & keeping your head down. Be confident & be yourself​.

Karma Kettle is currently located in 4, Swinhoe Street, Ballygunge. You can find them on Zomato & Facebook.

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