Women’s Day 2018: Powerful Stories of 4 Women Entrepreneurs

Not all Wonder Women are from another planet! Some are from big-small cities in India. They have the same fire, the same strength, and the same drive that a super-woman has. On International Women’s Day 2018, we collaborated with Deasra Foundation to unearth powerful stories of six powerful women entrepreneurs hailing from different nooks and corners of India. These women are changing the entrepreneurial landscape and how!

Read on.

Guneet Kaur – Knotty Musings

Guneet Kaur is a craftswoman from New Delhi. She creates innovative products with felt, to make day-to-day lives simpler and colorful. Guneet makes several things right from sanitary pad holders, card holders to bookmarks, sunglass cases, beer sleeves, earphone wraps and mug cozies.

She started her business in June 2017 and is today growing by leaps and bounds.

Speaking of her business mantra, Guneet says,”I believe my products should bring a smile on people’s face and make life less complicated. So each design is inspired by this thought of uncluttering our personal spaces like our bags and office desks.”

Here is a snippet of our conversation with Guneet:

Initial challenges:

As a woman entrepreneur one has to deal with a lot of biased suppliers. They overcharge because they are dealing with a woman. But one learns to negotiate over a period of time.

As an online seller, my main worry was the expenses of creating a website. With my limited funds I could not even think of that. A friend suggested instamojo which helps us set up our online shop for free. The charges are deducted from a purchase made through instamojo which is justifiable. It has made selling online easier.

Every woman is a Superwoman. What is your superpower?

My superpower is my mom who is an expert in sewing and has always encouraged me. Like a magic fairy (I really do mean this, literally) she used to complete all the unfinished pieces I used to leave on my desk. It has taken me almost an year to formulate this idea into something tangible. And all the credit for this goes to my mom.

What would you like to change about the current business scenario?

Since everything can be mass produced by machines, people don’t understand how each handmade product is crafted with a lot of love and care. We literally put our souls into our work and the price that we seek is what we deserve. We obviously cannot offer massive discounts like 40 or 50% or ‘Buy One Get One Free’. For that, we will have to quote unrealistic prices. After creating a product, we check each element before dispatching it. The thought that handmade products require a lot of effort needs to be acknowledged more.

Chaitrali Padwal and the Appetizing Van (via deAsra)

Coming from commerce background, Chaitrali Padwal is an amalgamation of a home cook and a beauty expert. Heeding to the entrepreneur in her, she decided to pursue beauty and food as full-time career options and soon found success as a cook with multiple clients with bulk orders.

Wanting to cater to a larger customer base, she pivoted her business to a food van. This is where deAsra extended a helping hand. We advised Chaitrali on all the nitty-gritty decisions of running the business, including details about the required licenses and permissions. Along with this, she continues to function as a beautician as well as an artificial jewellery dealer!

Rekha Goyal – The Pottery Lab

Rekha Goyal is a Mumbai-based ceramic artist. She set up her first studio in 1999 while studying at Sir J.J. School of Art. Over the last two decades or so, she has worked on ceramic art installations and murals for hotels, residences as well as public spaces. She has also designed and developed ceramic products under her own brand. Rekha has also held projects in art therapy and artisanal craft.

“A few years ago I set up The Pottery Lab, a community and learning space focusing on pottery & ceramics. It is a space where one can learn, attend a workshop and also use the facility to practice on their own,” she said.

Speaking of her business mantra, Rekha added,”I love what I do. It is such an integral part of who I am and how I live that going to the studio doesn’t feel like I am going to work. Absolute honesty towards my work is what makes my studio click.”

Here are snippets from our conversation with Rekha:

Initial Challenges:

As a woman entrepreneur one may often be at the receiving end of prejudices where it is assumed that as a woman you do not understand the technical aspects and cannot troubleshoot. I can’t say though that it has ever bothered me or been a hindrance in getting work done. I have made myself and my studio independent to an extent where we can take care of technical issues ourselves.

As an independent artist, integrating a regular payment gateway on my website to accept payments was not economically viable. Operationally, online payments make the business far more efficient than offline transactions. Instamojo with its quick and easy set-up and user-friendly interface has taken care of this.

Every woman is a Superwoman. What is your superpower?

Bulls*** detector. That is my superpower. Anybody who lacks honesty, dedication and passion would not last very long at my studio. Jokes apart, I have been very fortunate to have always had amazing colleagues, students, and clients – the people I interact most with. It makes the process fun and productive.

What would you like to change about the current business scenario?

1. The ceramic & pottery heritage has not just exceptional work but an exceptional work philosophy as well.However, there is a tendency to confine ceramic art within the bounds of its traditional definitions. I believe that we should learn from this heritage and grow rather than contain ourselves within these confines.

2. As an art form, ceramic art is still undervalued in India perhaps due to its craft history or a lack of awareness. In the two decades that I have been a practicing ceramic artist, I have seen a positive change. A lot more can happen and in due course, I know that will happen too; we are all doing our bit.

Vandana Divekar and the Sweet Sin (via deAsra)

 

Vandana’s story is the exemplification of following one’s passion.

Skilled at making delicious homemade laddoos, Vandana wanted to pursue her passion by converting it into a source of income. But she encountered a lot of problems soon after the business was launched, like lack of capital and scalability issues.

deAsra helped her with everything, right from the scratch – enabling her to make a business plan, market exploration, adding equipment, etc. Not only this, Vandana was also offered a loan at an affordable rate of 5% through a crowdfunding partner, evolving her business in no time!

deAsra and Instamojo are built on the core idea of empowering small businesses and mentoring women entrepreneurs. We provide a platform and lend a helping hand to anyone that wants to start their own business.

What are you waiting for? Come join the entrepreneurial experience today.


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