Kainaz Messman did not let her crippling back injury keep her from setting up Theobroma

The owner of Theobroma Kainaz Messman has always enjoyed food, even as a child. Baking, with its enveloping aromas, may have easily appealed to her. She now makes delectable cupcakes for customers who come even from various cities in search of the cafe. Her parents’ entrepreneurial journey, support and their family trips have contributed greatly to her success and knowledge. It goes without saying that Messman never once faced any resistance from her family. “In fact, they were more than encouraging,” she says.

After studying at the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), Mumbai, Messman joined the Oberoi Group of Hotels, and did well there. But the dream of a small neighbourhood café pulled her away. The response to the little eatery was overwhelming, even perhaps for Messman. More than a decade later, Theobroma has gone from being a quaint, family-run corner café on Colaba Causeway to a full-fledged chain (still family-run for the most part except for a recently employed CEO). Like at every other start-up, things were not so easy for Theobroma at the beginning. With little knowledge of retail and business, the Messman family did face difficulties, but eventually learnt from every mistake she made.

Today, with eight stores dotting the city and four more in the pipeline, Messman has more on her plate than she had ever dreamed of. Theobroma is popular not just in Mumbai, but in Delhi too.

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