Friendships are the most natural connections that begin in the most unexpected ways. A “hello” to a stranger can eventually lead to endless chatter about random things until 3 in the morning.
There’s also never a dull moment when around friends. Their affection and absurd sense of humor can simply help you cope on the most difficult days. No wonder many believe challenging times reveal your true friends.
When nobody believes you will make it, including you, and your passion suddenly feels silly and self-doubt is at its highest, imagine turning around and finding your buddy – a cheerleader – supporting you in the actualisation of your dreams. Blessed! Right? But what if your friend has the same dream and your interests align? Wouldn’t taking that risk be worthwhile with a friend?
In Goa, many random conversations among friends have materialised into businesses. Here are two special stories of how close friends became business partners:
GOLDSPOT BY IRAM AND SAMEERA
As you walk through the lanes of Fointanhas in Panjim, you are bound to enter a cosy café that goes by the name Goldspot. A passion project of friends Iram and Sameera, the café is a result of many years of yearning to create something and give back to the Goan community.
Like any other friendship story, theirs is special. Not because it started way back when they were schoolmates, but because their introduction to each other was with food.
When the two were in grade three, Iram opened her tiffin in the middle of the class and shared it with Sameera. At that moment, along with the food, some smiles were exchanged, and thus was born an incredible bond.
As the years passed by, they went their separate ways. Iram travelled the world as a cabin crew with Qatar Airways, trained as a yoga instructor and went on to become the lead designer at a popular tech company in Bangalore, whereas Sameera, a certified mental health therapist and people advisor at a venture capitalist firm, became a head HR at an AI company.
Friendships don’t crack apart if the foundation is built on respect, kindness and empathy. After living in different cities across the world, it was the COVID break that brought them back to Goa. And they took off just where they had left, turning a silly dream into reality.
With an appetizing menu that comprises breakfast items, Goan dishes, healthy bowls and some of the best beverages in town, the café also hosts some community-driven events related to art, music, reading and more. The duo’s fondness for books, art, music and food is all evident as one lightens up at the intricate and inviting ambience created at the café.
While Iram is artistic and the one responsible for the art and the well-curated menu at the café, Sameera is entrepreneurial and handles the business side of things at the café. They consider the best thing about working with your friend is being able to be honest, vulnerable and have fun all at the same time. “Of course, sometimes the boundaries can become unclear, like some days you meet up with friends and sadly end up discussing work,” Iram points out.
They believe true friendships are beyond anything materialistic. “It is not a score that you keep. It’s a strong sense of belongingness that helps you thrive to be the best version of yourself,” Iram says.
She also goes on to say that sometimes we act as if we have forever and procrastinate. “Take this as a reminder that you only have now. Act on that amazing idea you have been sitting on. Take that risk. You are worth it!” and feel free to reach out to us, we will be happy to help,” she adds.
Reach out to Goldspot Cafe at:
DOWN TO EARTH BY PRANAL AND SIDDHANT
One key element very significant in friendships is common interests, things you end up having long conversations about and hobbies you share and enjoy working on. A shared thought of helping people improve their relationship with healthier food options, Down to Earth started as an exciting idea, envisioned by two friends, Pranay and Siddhant.
The two met in college and discovered that both were sports buffs, that is, diehard RCB fans. Among their other shared interests, they both turned out to be problem-solvers. No sooner did they encounter the issue of lack of availability of healthier options, they started a venture that could tackle the issue.
Down to Earth makes healthy plant-based eating both accessible and fun. They offer plant-based salad bowls and smoothies made with plant-based milk. Their menu completely eliminates animal-based products like chicken or milk.
All businesses are an emotional roller-coaster with perpetual highs and lows, and what better way to have a friend on this ride? Pranay and Siddhant believe that navigating tough times has made their bond stronger. While Pranal Desai leads the team and handles all the operations at Down to Earth, his buddy Siddhant Naique handles social media and marketing.
For them, the worst thing about working with your friend is not getting to spend time outside business; you end up spending a lot of time with your friend at work. “The advantage, however, is that there is an understanding that helps decision-making a lot easier,” Pranay mentions.
It’s a blessing to have clarity as a team, especially when it comes to making a business work. As founders, the duo considers themselves lucky to have done just that and kept their vision clear.
Reach out to Down to Earth at: