People often associate the word “tradition” with something old and simple, on the other hand, the word “science” is always related to something complex and advance. Mr. Ramesh and Mr. Tho combined these two concepts to create a healthy and nutritious drink that is proudly made in Singapore. Being healthy is now made more interesting through a bottle full of flavors and nutrition.
Let’s join our Faces of SMEs team (F) in getting to know Asmara’s founders – Ramesh Krish Kumar and Tho Pin Da.
Posted by Faces Behind ASEAN SMEs on Friday, October 11, 2019
(F) Why did you start your business?
A: We see a lot of drinks from our neighboring countries but not much from our own country. Singapore is a country that is very diverse and rich in culture. Different traditions co-exist and they create unique fusions, but a lot of people take it for granted. Because of this diversity, Singaporeans have an adventurous palate and are open to various taste profiles, both East and West. Asmara then created drinks that incorporated both flavors. We want to create a “uniquely Singaporean” health food company that represents multiculturalism, science, and nutrition. In addition to that, we also foresee the rising demand for “functional” food among a health-conscious middle-class in Asia.
(F) How was your journey in making Asmara?
A: We use our background in food science, herbology, and nutrition to start our journey in Asmara. It’s not easy to start a new business, especially when there’s a lack of support, no background in business, insufficient manpower, and limited funds. We handled Asmara as if it were a newborn baby that needs constant care. Every single execution is highly important and critical and it needs to be done properly. To add to the pressure, we also had to juggle our full-time job at the same time, for us to support ourselves and develop this brand. We slept at 3 AM and woke up at 7 AM every day. We were financially, emotionally, and physically burn out. All these hardships to simply create 4 products. We never got discouraged because we’re passionate about what we do. We strongly believe that passion, sacrifice, and love are the most important factors that determine the success of your business. Now, Asmara evolved from an unknown brand to a “proudly Singaporean” and “food scientists curated” brand.
(F) Why the name “Asmara”?
A: “Asmara” means love in Malay and Indian Sanskrit language, and this is our way to bring the healing properties of natural ingredients to the masses. We want to create a healthy drink that contains the best medicinal properties that nature has to offer. Through Asmara, our customers can skip the time-consuming task of brewing herbs and plants. They can just conveniently consume our product.
(F) What do you think about healthy products at the present time?
A: We aim to bridge the gap between tradition and science by combining both principles into our products. Though certain herbal plants have been used for centuries, a lot of consumers are still hesitant to purchase so-called health elixirs, especially when they are not supported by scientific research. Another issue is consumers need to be cautious in consuming famous exotic spices or herbs, not all of them proven to be good to one’s health just because they are endorsed by celebrities.
What is your advice to those who would like to start their own business?
A: A concrete business plan, marketing strategy, and profitability are crucial for any business, but to us, passion is the single most driving factor to thrive in it. Anyone can easily start and run a business with the aim to make a large amount of profit, but it’s the passion and dedication that adds meaning to our lives and to those around us. In our opinion, the most crucial aspect is to understand how we can use our business skills, passion, interest, and strengths to make a difference in the world and to solve a problem.
*Pictures and videos used are from Asmara’s social media account