She scaled Kolkata’s beloved Rollick to a Rs.500 million empire, but still loves selling ice-cream by hand: Meet Anisha Aggarwal
A giant, fully-loaded freezer at home, dinner-table conversations that would double up as a game of ‘guess the flavour,’ and vacations with the inevitable trip to the supermarkets for sampling local ice-creams form the cornerstones for Loretto’s “ice-cream girl” and the heir to the Rollick Empire – Anisha Aggarwal.
When Aggarwal began applying for jobs in the UK after her MBA at Lancaster University, she remembers having the talk with her father about moving back to India and taking on the mantel at Rollick. “I always had the sense that I would return and join the family business. I had seen my parents work hard throughout my childhood, so it was natural for me to come back and take the brand forward,” she says.
Aggarwal remembers her father’s words said on the first day of work: “This [business] is yours now, do it your way. The profit is yours and the loss is mine.” For, 22-year-old Aggarwal, that meant everything; it gave flight to both, her ambition and imagination. But the transition from being the boss’ daughter to being the boss was a challenge for both Aggarwal and the team. “They had seen me as a child roaming around the office; It took a while for both the team and me to learn each other’s ways. I believe, at some point, your work commands respect on its own,” she explains.
No task is too small for Aggarwal. From making ice cream sticks and tasting products on the factory floor to visiting shopkeepers in distant villages, she does it all. She has seen the company transform over the eleven years. Back then, chocobars used to be made by hand. So, they bought a machine that made 3,000 pieces an hour, and today, a new machine produces about 17,000 chocobars in the same duration. In all, today the company produces 80,000 litres of ice cream per day and 78,000 pieces per hour.
Rollick, which was then present in only West Bengal and Jharkhand, is now available across 15 states including north east India, Chattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar and Bhutan. With more than 400 distributors and eight ice cream parlours in Kolkata, Rollick clocked Rs.500 million in 2017-18.
Until recently, Aggarwal was the only woman in the office, and was often mistaken as the receptionist. People delivered couriers and bills to her, expecting her to pass it on to the ‘real bosses’. But, this is changing now, she says. Growing up with a sister, the siblings were often asked if they wished they had a brother. Today, she has a firm answer to this. “I am so proud to take this brand forward as a daughter.”