Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rupen Rao, Founder of Rupens, located in Northwest Washington, DC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Rupen's is a gourmet Indian curry sauce company. Our customers are the mainstream American audience who enjoy a gourmet Indian 'just like home' cuisine experience. All our products are made with the best spices and high-end ingredients that we can source. Our products are made with all-natural ingredients. All our products are made in the United States.

Tell us about yourself

Rupen's is my brainchild. My name is Rupen Rao, an Indian cuisine entrepreneur residing in Washington, DC (originally from Mumbai, India). I taught Indian cooking for almost two decades and have dedicated my life to making Indian cooking simple.

I moved to the United States in 2000 and started recreating my mom's Indian cuisine recipes in his American kitchen. I then offered in-home personal cooking classes, taught more than 30,000 patrons over fifteen years, and wrote three cookbooks on Indian cuisine. Over the years, I've realized that not only the list of ingredients required in Indian cuisine are long but difficult to source, and the recipes are complex. So, in 2018, I launched his initial line of Indian curry sauces.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Fulfilling the need for a high-end Indian curry sauce in the American market.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

For me, it has been patience. I worked on it over the years and feel pretty good about it. Of course, there are occasional spurts and outbursts, but overall, I have learned to be patient.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Start small.
  2. Control inventory.
  3. Focus on quality.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Yes, I read a lot of business books. There is a lot of information out there, and we do not have time to make all the mistakes, so we learn from other people's mistakes. Do not hope and pray; instead, work on your business. React quickly and along with the changes in the market. You may love your grandma or mom's recipes, but the market may not want them; it is simply a hard fact.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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