September 21, 2018 08:18 AM NPT
By: Rea S Mishra
If you love ice cream but would like a healthier alternative, then head to Sweet Fix at Freak Street in Basantapur, Kathmandu. The gourmet popsicles are sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting just one more. Started by 23-year-olds, Shreya Upadhyay and Kritika Lamsal, Sweet Fix serves popsicles of different flavors and each, we vouch, is a delight.
The duo came up with the idea of making popsicles when they were craving for some strawberry ice cream but didn’t want to give in to it. “We wanted a healthier alternative and decided to make popsicles at home,” says Lamsal adding that when their family and friends said they loved the popsicles they decided to take it to the next level and actually start selling the popsicles.
They were working on different flavors and the type of packaging they wanted to use when they happened to come across a vacant spot in the heart of Basantapur. “We weren’t even looking for space. It had just been two months that we had been working on the idea. But we found it and it was a very good spot and things just fell into place,” explains Upadhyay. Apparently, since they had already made up their minds about the flavors and branding, it seemed like the right time to actually open a physical outlet.
Today, Sweet Fix is up and running and, going by customer feedback, they seem to be on the right track. However, serving popsicles isn’t the only thing they are doing. There is a philanthropic side to the business as well. For every popsicle sold, one rupee goes to one of the two NGOs the duo supports, namely Canopy Nepal and Autism Care Nepal Society.
While most people would argue that one rupee isn’t a large amount, Lamsal and Upadhyay say that since they are a new business it’s hard to sustain themselves in the first place and that, in the long run, the one rupee each will add up to a much larger sum. Additionally, they also make it a point to educate their customers on different issues such as autism. “We give out leaflets of different NGOs and charities, and talk to our customers about various issues. Some of our customers didn’t even know what autism was and we educated them about it,” says Lamsal emphasizing on how one of the main goals of opening Sweet Fix was to do something good and charitable through a happy and positive medium.
But Sweet Fix primarily aims to provide a healthy option to sugary treats. The popsicles are either fruit or milk based, don’t have any artificial coloring, and all the fruits are fresh and used only if they are in season. On top of that, all the materials used for the popsicles such as the packaging are biodegradable. However, this has created some problems.
“We will stick to not using plastic, but it’s very difficult. For example, we want to introduce drinks to our menu as well. But this seems impossible without plastic, as there are no cheap, biodegradable options for packaging,” says Upadhyay adding that advertising is also an area they struggle with. “Amidst all the new stores and things being introduced in Nepal, it’s easy to get lost and not be able to make your mark,” she adds.
However, Sweet Fix has been gaining a lot of popularity, and they get a lot of suggestions as well. “People seem to be fond of our popsicles and want more flavors. One of our customers suggested that we should introduce the pineapple flavor and, after a lot of experimenting, we did,” says Lamsal adding that the two of them develop all the new flavors themselves and taste a sample of each and every batch of popsicles before putting it on display. They claim that sometimes they will try multiple times to make a flavor work but it just won’t taste as good as they would like it to.
“Sometimes we try and try and the flavors come out really well in the end, such as our jamun flavored popsicle. But sometimes, things will never work out, such as our aspiration for a chai flavor,” says Lamsal adding that, either way, a lot of hard work goes into each new flavor of popsicle.