Srinagar, January 14: Brady Lee, an American citizen, rose to social media fame in the Kashmir Valley after he started making apple chips, also known locally as tsounthachi.
Brady, who is in his mid-30s, recalls visiting Kashmir with his wife a few years ago to explore and see the beauty of the valley. At that time, they had no idea that they would later start their own business and stay there for a long time.
We were hesitant at first but interested to see Kashmir. We finally decided to travel here. It was a positive discovery to discover that Kashmir’s climate is somewhat reminiscent of ours. Kashmir is a lovely place. He noted that the majority of people are kind and welcoming.
Brady claims that after several visits to Kashmir, he got the idea to start his business in the valley after a valley businessman suggested it to him. He said that several people asked him to open a company in Kashmir.
Brady says that after visiting Kashmir a few times, he thought of starting his own business venture in the valley on the suggestion of a valley businessman. He said many people wanted him to start a business in Kashmir.
Brady, who currently lives in Nishat in Srinagar, said he was offered to join a business in Kashmir as a consultant to start a food processing business.
“We were trying to come up with something that would not only compete with existing local businesses, but also add to and enhance the markets in Kashmir,” he said.
Brady has a degree in agriculture and was kind of interested in working with farmers. “That’s when we started getting the idea for apple chips,” he said.
Brady joined a local company, Pai Engineering Service, which has been registered for over 20 years. They wanted to use local resources for innovative solutions. With his efforts, he started making apple chips and gave it attractive packaging.
We are looking at this problem from multiple angles. People need job resources. There is a need to reduce waste. In addition to apples, we should have more natural and healthy snacks.
The American entrepreneur said that there is a tradition of tsuntachi (dried apple) in Kashmir and people eat it in winter. But we wanted to bring in quality and give it a new look. We decided to dehydrate the apples to preserve the quality of the apples (not cook or fry them).
For him, the past year has been primarily experimental, and they’ve only just started producing real apple chips.
We hope to use several tons of apples per month by the end of this year. Currently, we sell apple chips in many department stores and dry fruit stores in the valley. We ship orders all over India and are working on contracts in several states in India.
When asked why he chose to work in Kashmir, Brady said, “Americans sometimes like to work abroad, too. “If I can do that and do something good by creating jobs for other people, I’ll be more than happy.”
Brady is in Kashmir on a business visa. Business visas must be renewed frequently according to the rules and requirements. I’m not sure how long I’ll be here, but we want to ensure a growing and successful business.
Brady and his wife (also American) wanted to start investing internationally because they both enjoy traveling and exploring new cultures and places. He said he thought about entrepreneurship in high school.
“I was interested in international business entrepreneurship and doing business where it added to the economy, but I didn’t really know much about Kashmir,” he said.
“We hope our efforts will be recognized globally within a few years,” said Brady, who has been in and out of Kashmir for about three years.
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Brady’s family has a background in finance and his work experience is extensive, including business and facilities management. He speaks Kashmiri language and his videos have been widely shared and watched on social media with many netizens sending him positive messages.