This Women’s Day, Maersk’s exclusive Discover Her Grit series introduces us to the powerhouse behind Ms Bector Foods
Her story is truly inspiring, especially considering that the Indians of that time were not so liberal in allowing their housewives to work anywhere. “1978 was a time when the ladies of Ludhiana from good families did not work at all; it was considered shameful,” Bector shares.
How, then, a young
Word of her products spread and she started receiving orders from all over Punjab, Chandigarh and Delhi. Soon, Bector started throwing parties, events, and weddings — and all by himself. She had to work up to 18 hours a day to meet ever-increasing orders.
However, she didn’t let this affect her responsibilities as a mother. The undivided attention to his children coinciding with the expansion of his business meant that the kitchen had to be reserved for the night, which did not deter Bector. “My kids used to go to boarding school back then, and whenever they were home for their holidays, my goal was always to spend time with them. I was very determined to don’t neglect my children,” says Bector.
The entrepreneur who wows her friends with her cooking has often been told to turn her passion into a business venture. Seeing her success in creating a taste for western dishes such as puddings, breads and pizzas also motivated her.
With this encouragement from friends and family, his entry into the business began with setting up a humble booth at a local fete. Much to her dismay, she was assigned a space right next to Kwality, a brand famous for its ice cream. Depressed, she wondered if anyone would even be interested in her novice mark. But to his surprise, people thronged his stand until his ice cream sold out!
With the influx of orders she was receiving, she finally decided to take her home cooking to greater heights. Thanks to the wise business advice of her husband, the foundations of Cremica were laid in Mrs. Bector’s court with a modest sum of money. This small unit quickly grew into a fully functional factory in the 1990s with its growing popularity.
Its journey as a quick-service restaurant supplier began soon after when McDonald’s approached Ms Bector’s factory for a year-long trial to see if Cremica could become their bun supplier. Impressed with its business efficiency, production quality and systems, McDonald’s eventually signed with Cremica in 1996 as a long-term supplier of rolls, ketchup, toppings and other condiments. The brand also collaborated with Quaker Oats, Chicago, and brought egg-free mayonnaise to India. To date, Cremica holds a dominant position in egg-free mayonnaise and supplies it to HORECA businesses across India.
Ms. Bector shares that logistics is vital in her business as products need to reach buyers on time. From humble beginnings, it now exports to 65 countries to expand even further, a strong and reliable logistics partnership has become a crucial factor in its success and growth.
The former Miranda House student was still studying when she got married. Regardless of society’s negative perceptions of working women, Ms. Bector continued to do what she did best: cooking! Perhaps coming from such a strong women’s institution assured her that she would never let anyone else dictate what her life would be like.
Her motto was to be brave in the face of others’ beliefs. ‘I love to cook because I create something new with my own hands and I take pride in my ability to do so, so I was determined not to listen to anyone’s opinion on what I’ should’ do,” says Bector.
What she didn’t realize was how much she inspired other women who had always dreamed of working but hadn’t had the will. Receiving a Padma Shri as Ludhiana’s wife was almost considered an impossibility back then. Her achievement of this award is an inspiration to young women; they may also aspire to build their career and be recognized for it.
“No one is perfect in life, including me. For perfection, every day is a new day to learn. So make sure you keep learning,” says Bector.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article in partnership with Maersk.