Mental peace is the most important factor affecting performance at work: Kabita Singh
Kabita Singh, the creator of Kabita’s Kitchen, turned entrepreneur talks about the recipe of her success and gives a whiff of the ingredients that aspiring professionals can make a note of.
With a subscriber base of 12.5 million on YouTube and a following of over a million on Instagram, Kabita’s Kitchen has established itself as one of the most successful channels that helps viewers cook up ‘Ghar Ka Khana’ (often with some fusing twists). Her content resonates with several home chefs who used to struggle with cooking meals, with minimum ingredients easily available in Indian households.
This also led to Kabita being one of the few Indians to receive a Diamond Play Button from YouTube and her transformation into becoming an entrepreneur. In this tête-à-tête, we see a different point of view, one that observes what goes on behind the content captured through the camera lens, with a spoonful of inspiration for the women who intend to establish themselves in the field of content.
We have seen you come a long way and achieve a lot from growing to over 12 million subscribers to turning into an entrepreneur. What has the process been like behind the screen?
I started my YouTube channel in November 2014 to move forward with my passion for cooking, and use my time of leisure productively, as I had been fond of cooking since childhood. But when I started posting my recipes, I noticed a few comments appreciating the minute details I include, and the way I explain, after considering this feedback, I focussed on what factors viewers liked.
Steadily, with informational aspects such as duration to cook, etc, the videos became more useful for the viewers and I also started enjoying the process of creation. During the pandemic, I started getting requests such as recipes without an ingredient that is not available at the viewer’s disposal. This was the genesis of the idea of a masala mix that only needs to be added with salt and nothing else. After a few tests and experiments, I partnered with India Food Network for the launch.
The concept behind this product is to be as useful as my videos.
Please share a few insights on your journey as a content creator until now, the challenges you have faced, and how did you overcome them. Have you faced any gender stereotypes in this journey?
Thankfully, I have not faced any of such issues… neither after my marriage nor in my journey as a content creator. In fact, I have been treated with more respect if I talk about my journey as a creator, and have not seen the differentiation between males and females. My father looked after my education and despite relatives frowning upon me working professionally, he supported my education, profession, and put his trust in me.
The stereotypes have also changed, in previous years, the man was valued more and labeled as a breadwinner. This is not the case anymore, in my experience these days people put their trust in women more and they also progress.
Who has been your role model who added aspirational value to your journey?
My role model is my mother-in-law. She is from a remote village, who would balance her job with the homemakers’ tasks. Never fell into the gender tropes or differentiated tasks as a man’s job or a woman’s job, and would even spend hours helping someone with errands such as banking tasks. It was motivational for me to see a woman from a remote village doing all this, and encouraged me to think why can’t we do it? I am now inclined towards the same belief system inspired by her, of not differentiating between genders.
Please share a few insights on your recent entrepreneurial venture, the launch of Kabita’s Kitchen Masala Mix; and also the content marketing concept used to promote the line.
I was unaware of the fact that my videos would even be watched, so the thought of launching my own product line never crossed my mind, when I started my journey in 2014. My thought of producing some sort of merchandise was stalled by the pandemic, as survival became the top priority. I also went back to basics with my content and posted recipes requiring minimal ingredients and effort.
It was from the feedback of numerous viewers either living alone or are newly married, the thought of one masala mix that only requires salt additionally came about. After various tests, experiments, and trials with family and friends, I put forward a proposal to India Food Network, and recently took the product line live on Amazon.
We have not gone too heavy on promotions as of now. I just use them as a native integration in my own content. The viewers are also informed on what ingredients they can use as substitutes. This helps in building trust with the viewers, and tones down a heavily promotional integration which is just an attempt to sell my product.
As of now, we’re only relying on video content to create brand awareness. I also believe the product would market itself through word of mouth, as my videos became popular through this stream, and the same would happen with the product range.
I don’t think I need to be overtly promotional for it. I trust good products and good work.
Also Read: Mental health is the little things that happen to us, not just words like anxiety & depression: Divija Bhasin
What are your thoughts on the portrayal of women in branded content and advertising? Do you think we have moved to progressive narratives or do we still largely build narratives with gender-specific roles?
The narratives have become progressive in comparison to the past. Skin color, body types, and similar concerns were preyed upon, but that’s rarely the case now. Today’s campaigns represent women’s points of view more authentically. It’s still a bit distant from an ideal campaign, but we’re on the way.
You have spoken about breaking multiple stereotypes such as being a mother, homemaker, and having a full-time professional career, balancing multiple responsibilities, and similar topics. How do you think women in your position can help bust social taboos and perceptions, and do you think it can be effective as a positive influence?
Even if we get half a chance to talk about social taboos, we should take full responsibility and do it.
I also believe women hesitate to raise their voices for their rights, which shouldn’t be the case. The youth of India is more aware and when they take the center-stage, society will get rid of these stereotypes and taboos.
Any closing thoughts or a message you’d like to share for aspiring content creators, or women in advertising?
Any women entering the field of content creation, or any field for that matter, should find their interest in that. A fulfilling experience is the most important factor, even if you’re interested in a 9-5, then go for it. Mental peace is the most important factor affecting performance at work, and performance leads to progress. Don’t give in to others’ inclinations and interests. Only go for what interests you, whether it’s painting, cooking, or dancing.
You do not need requests or referrals to find a place for your work, the advent of online platforms has given a platform to everyone, and if your content is good, then it will reach the audience. Formats such as Shorts, and Reels do not need a huge following or subscriber base. You will also get an understanding of what type of content is liked by your audience, so you can create more of that. A person who works hard never fails. Success may arrive late or early but it does arrive.
Don’t push it to tomorrow, or the day after, move forward today.