Beating the odds, Geetha Saleesh from Kerala didn't let her disability get in the way of running her successful online business that delivers pan India.
Geetha Saleesh from Thrissur, Kerala, was only 13 years old when she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic disorder. She started losing her vision eventually and turned blind by the age of 15.
But being disabled never stopped her from achieving her goals. Geetha who always dreamt of a job learnt braille and finished her graduation. Now at the age of 39, Geetha runs a successful online business that sells homemade food products like ghee, pickles and also a superfood supplement made out of turmeric.
She launched ‘Geetha’s Home to Home’ along with her husband Saleesh Kumar in 2020. “I wanted to start something on my own and being visually challenged never stopped me. My husband and my children always supported me in all my initiatives,” Geetha tells The Better India.
Running a business wasn’t entirely a new experience for Geetha as the couple ran a small restaurant in Thrissur a few years ago. Geetha says, “We had a small organic restaurant and it was our first business venture. We used to serve food and drinks made using organic ingredients including vegetables. Unfortunately, we had to shut it down when we lost the rented space. But the mass cooking experience at our restaurant gave me the confidence to start this online food business.”
She then took a break as she wanted to focus on her kids and family. But later when she decided to work again she was disappointed with all the rejections that she had to face while hunting for a job.
Her husband Saleesh, a medical representative and distributor, encouraged Geetha to start her own business. He says, “Geetha always wanted to be self-reliant and earn on her own. Many doubted her abilities, but I always believed in her. I was confident that with her experience and abilities she could easily excel at it.”
It was the lockdown that helped Geetha come up with the idea of starting this business. “During the lockdown period, I felt why not start an online business? Also, with my prior experience in cooking, I was confident enough to start a food business. My husband and my children encouraged me. So, I slowly started selling a few products like homemade ghee and pickles online,” says Geetha.
Geetha, who started her business early last year, mainly used social media to sell and promote her products. She eventually introduced a few more products including a special product named ‘Curcu meal’.
“It is the most sought out product currently. We developed a Curcu meal after researching it for three years. It is an improvised version of ‘manjal (turmeric) varakiyathu’, which is normally given to women after childbirth. It is a blend of turmeric, dates, almond, coconut milk and jaggery. I would say it’s a superfood supplement as it has all the goodness of turmeric,” she explains.
Geetha adds, “We use turmeric named Prathibha which has the highest curcumin content. Curcumin is the bioactive compound in turmeric which carries all its potential. The higher its content, the better the quality.”
Curcu meal, which currently has over thousands of takers across the country is priced at Rs 600 per 500 gm bottle.
Served in the form of a paste-like Chyawanprash, the Curcu meal can be consumed raw or by mixing it in hot milk, says Geetha. “It’s good for everyone from children to adults. Since it’s made out of turmeric, it’s healthy and has no side effects. We have been getting orders even from Kashmir. I am happy that my research didn’t go to waste,” she says.
With the success of her signature product, Geetha now earns over Rs 50,000 per month and has launched a website to showcase and market her products. “Even though we have launched a website, we still rely on social media platforms for promoting our products. We don’t have a lot of products currently but whatever we offer are made with good quality, organic ingredients. Now we are planning to cultivate Prathibha turmeric on our own in the coming year,” concludes Geetha.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)