This past weekend, Rubina Magazine got the chance meet with Pooja Bajaj, founder of the up-and-coming Kulfi Co.
Nestled in the cozy corner of Healthsmart, Pooja Bajaj and her graphic designer, Salena Johnson, wait for close friends to arrive. Today is an informal tasting of Bajaj’s delicious kulfi in honor of launching The Kulfi Co. in the near future.
“[This is] where it all started,” said Bajaj.
Kulfi Co.’s progress marks a year’s worth of innovation and productivity for Bajaj and her team. After an inspiring summer of making kulfi and meeting with a family friend at Healthsmart, Bajaj began building towards a one of a kind company and product.
Kulfi is an ancient Indian treat that resembles ice cream in taste and appearance, but is denser, richer, and more brilliant in its flavors. Bajaj researched how to successfully bring kulfi to the U.S., collaborated with Johnson for packaging and web design, and has come a long way. Her product has been approved for wholesale by many independent specialty stores, including Wholefoods.
For Bajaj, the best part was seeing everything come together.
“Creativity is a true process.”
The kulfi line will launch with four flavors: Classic Black Tea & Pistachio, Alphonso Mango & Cashews, Passion Fruit & Pistachios, and Coconut & Almonds.
The product is all natural, gluten free, contains no high-fructose corn syrup. Bajaj added her own twist to the kulfi, and uses ingredients like saffron and Fair Trade certified black tea for flavor complexities.
All this talk about Pooja Bajaj’s kulfi is worth the wait. When all her friends arrive, the classic black tea flavor is brought out in little trays. The treat is distributed on popsicle sticks (a common method of kulfi consumption), and not one person is silent. The spicy tinge of cardamom, the thick black tea cream, and the crunchy crushed pistachios leave everyone in a frenzy of compliments. A triumphant tasting to say the least.
It is exciting to see where The Kulfi Co. will go. Bajaj not only wanted to create nostalgia by bringing some of India to the U.S. for first generation immigrants like her parents, but also share the delicacy with American culture. With a brand like “indulge your inner child,” it’s easy to see her enthusiasm and vision, as well as her experience. She warns that one must be flexible and understanding when starting a company because things don’t always go exactly as planned.
“Be passionate about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, or else it will fall apart.”
Pooja Bajaj graduated from Rutgers, was a stockbroker for five years, and received her M.A. from Columbia University for Organizational Psychology before turning to entrepreneurship.
“I wanted to make an impact with something of my own.”
When asked why it is important for women to follow entrepreneurial pursuits, Bajaj answered with a quote given by Thomas Friedman at the Columbia Teacher’s College graduation: If it ain’t happening, it’s because you ain’t doing it!
We couldn’t agree more.