10 rising women entrepreneurs8 minute
"There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish."
Entrepreneurship has always been considered as a man’s job, but long gone is that era where women were only restricted to play the role of a home-maker and rear children. Today’s women have not only broken these stereotypes but have also taken a step into the men’s world, who are doing an excellent job for themselves and are reaching greater heights. Here are 10 successful and rising women entrepreneurs in India who have accomplished to make their start-ups as successful companies:
Shopping can get very tiring, and especially shopping for make-up. We girls are so particular about the exact lipstick shade, the nail polish colours, the make-up brands that we want and sometimes we end up not finding it in the stores we go, your go to solution is Nykaa. Nykaa is an online beauty platform for all the women out there, Falguni Nayar is the Founder and CEO of the company. Falguni is an IIM Graduate and has 25 years of work experience in the financing arena for different companies. She started NYKAA in the year 2012 and within no time the e-commerce beauty app had become very popular and created a lot of hype amongst the women, the brand already had partnership with famous brands like L’oreal, Uniliver, P&G etc. Today, the brand has made a name for itself such that it is preferred by most girls, women and now even has a men’s store. The app has made shopping much easier for women and now all the products are just a click away. Nykaa has become offline as well, for those people who prefer buying it in stores.
Zivame is an online lingerie store which caters to the variety of lingerie options open to women. Richa Kar is the founder and CEO of Zivame and it was launched in the year 2011. We all are hesitant to buy lingerie in stores because of judgy looks given to us by the salesperson and sometimes we aren’t able to convey what exactly we need, which is where Zivame comes into the picture. The main idea was to save women from the embarrassment and unwanted attention from the opposite sex. Zivame has made lingerie shopping so much easier, with the un-numerable varieties that they have to offer in the products as well as in different sizes. Zivame is one of a unique company in its domain and manages to dominate lingerie shopping than any other company. Today, Zivame offers more than 5,000 styles, 50 brands, and 100 sizes. So, the next time lingerie shopping? Just Zivame!
Most of us here love travelling, and anyone who loves travelling will be very familiar with Yatra.com. Yatra was co-founded by Sabina Chopra and two other members- Dhruv Shingri and Manish Amin in 2006. Yatra is an online travel agency and search engine which provides travelling services to people.Yatra.com offers a variety of packages with all charges covered and has a user-friendly interface. Sabina being the co-founder of the company has quite some experience in the travel domain, before Yatra.com Sabina had worked in companies like, eBookers which is Europe’s leading travel company and has also worked in the BPO sector in Japan Airlines. Sabina knew quite a lot about the protocols and how the online travel companies’ function, which is why Yatra.com was introduced in India because the online service for travelling still hadn’t developed by then. Sabina was honoured in the second annual Women Leaders in India Awards, 2010 and was declared the winner in the Travel & Tourism group. Today, Yatra is one of the leading travel companies in India and has many loyal customers.
We all travel and meet new people at new places and tend to buy something from there as a souvenir back home. Indian souvenirs had become boring with the usual monuments and handicrafts and that is when Chumbak was born. Chumbak was founded by Shubra Chadda and Vivek Prabhakar, because they wanted to bring in a modern and quirky touch to the India souvenirs. Chumbak was started as a souvenir store but now has become a whole new brand and a successful company owing it to its products. The main objective of Chumbak was to bring out another side or meaning to India’s craft and products, the funky and eye-catching crafts have made chumbak what it is today, Chumbak has become a very popular brand especially amongst the young Indians and can be seen in almost all the shopping malls across India. Today this quirky brand has over 120 retail stores all across the country and Shubra Chadda is one of the most innovative women entrepreneurs in India. The next time you something funky and cool, you know where it is from.
We all are a big fan when it comes to food and FreshMenu has managed to become a household name today. Rashmi Daga is the Founder and CEO of FreshMenu and it was started in the year 2014. She is an IIM Graduate in MBA, and has worked in companies like IBM India, Johnson and Johnson, Ola and BlueStone. Today, we all have a variety of restaurant apps delivering food to our houses but a few years back the number of restaurants delivering food were very limited which is when Rashmi thought about coming up something new and FreshMenu happened. FreshMenu is an online kitchen serving people cuisines from around the world. It was first started in Bangalore and then went on to Delhi and Mumbai. FreshMenu has many satellite kitchens every 5 kilometres within the city to cater to the cravings of people. FreshMenu was first started as an independent delivering app but today we can also see it on other delivering app platforms like Zomato and Swiggy. The company approximately makes an annual revenue of $17.6 million dollars.
Suchi Mukherjee is the Founder and CEO of LimeRoad.com. Suchi is a master graduate in Economics and Finance from the London School of Economics. Suchi has worked for Lehman Brothers Inc and Virgin Media on the front. She wanted to create something of her own which would create an impact on the society and this is when the idea of creating a platform dominantly for women struck her and she came up with LimeRoad. LimeRoad is a platform used by women to share and buy clothes and accessories, they keep up with the latest fashion and trends, share their personal experiences and most importantly buy clothes. The main aim of Suchi was to create a platform for selling products at an affordable price. LimeRoad is unique in its own way and is loved by most women across the country.
- Shop Clues:
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal
Radhika Aggarwal is the co-founder of shop clues which is also known as the “India’s Online Bazaar”. Radhika Aggarwal has been the most successful women entrepreneur in the recent years and she also refers to herself as an “accidental entrepreneur”. She believes in “making her today better than her yesterday, by taking small steps towards it”. She started her career with Fashion Clues and then became a co-founder of Shop Clues, having an experience of 16 years in various industries like E-commerce, Advertising, Lifestyle, PR and Fashion. Radhika is a great entrepreneur who also believes in women empowerment, she urges women to fight for their rights and demand an equal pay as well. She recently joined the Unicorn Club. Shop Clues has recently launched an AD Zone, which helps sellers in getting visibility and as a platform for business amongst them. She believes that “Hard work is an outcome of passion. If you’re passionate, you will work towards achieving results and success will follow.”
Upasana Taku co-founded Mobikwik with her husband Bipin Preet Singh. Upasana holds a MS in Management and Science Engineering from Stanford University, US. She started her job in HSBC and then later on shifted to PayPal and learnt more about payment gateway. Upasana wanted to go back to India and do something there, hence she shifted back in 2009 and was on the lookout to start a business in India. At that time, India didn’t have a cashless society and all the payments were carried out in the form of cash, this idea initiated in the forming of Mobikwik. Mobikwik is payment gateway app which first started off as a recharge platform and then took shape into a mobile wallet. The concept of mobile wallet was new to the country and mobikwik was the first of its kind. Today mobikwik is used by millions of people to use, collect and transfer money. She has always believed in one thing, that is ‘Kick up a storm or die trying’
- Social Samosa:
Ankita Gaba is a social media strategist, consultant, lecturer and most importantly a successful entrepreneur. She worked as a social media strategist and also a co-founder in SuperChooha. They collaborated with famous companies and brands like Idea Cellular, Ponds, Mahindra, Colors and Zapak. She is currently the co-founder of Social Samosa. Social Samosa is basically an inventory that consists of thoughts, ideas, case studies and the social media functionalities. Today, Social media has no limits and is reaching greater heights with the passing days, The main aim of Social Samosa is to have things that are usually put up or scattered on various social parts of social media to be combined and put into one platform that is free and easily accessible to all. Ankita Gaba has been listed in the Global Top 100 Social Media Agencies and Consultants 2012-13, and also in 50 Indian Women to Follow on Twitter.
Menstrupedia was founded by Aditi Gupta and her husband Tuhin patel. Aditi hails from a small town in Jharkhand namely Gharwa. Aditi created a Hindi comic book with her husband, illustrating and educating girls about menstruation. Menstruation is still considered as a taboo in many parts of Rural India where girls are asked to follow certain restrictions when they are on their period like no entry to the kitchen, the temple or even the house; where they aren’t allowed to cook, or even come in contact with men, and have no clue as to why they are being shut-out by their own family. This behaviour had a direct impact on the girl’s mind and health. Aditi Gupta was also born in a conservative middle-class family, and even she was subject to all this. The unawareness of menstruation and the taboos surrounding it in Rural areas is the main reason behind the creation of Menstrupedia.com. The main objective behind this was to educate girls about the process of menstruation, the importance of menstrual hygiene and tips to remain healthy during menstruation. Aditi has taken a huge step forward with menstrupedia and has even managed to bring in changes not only in India but throughout the world.
GLADYATOR: Meet the twins making a mark in the sustainable fashion field.3 minute
In a time where Climate change is being debated upon, there is a company which takes the most used thing, and makes it safe for the environment, your clothes. Coral Doe was started in 2018 by Aqsa and Tuba Sajjad to make comfortable clothing that is sustainable and ethical. They intend to be 100% sustainable by the end of 2023 and are working well towards it.
The company and the team intends to go a step beyond and create awareness among its users about the need of the hour, sustainable fashion.
We spoke to Aqsa, Coral Doe’s co-founder, and here is her take on being an Entrepreneur and her aspirations.
- Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
For me, it's about getting to do something I love every single day. It may sound cliche but as a person who suffered from depression, anxiety, and mental health issues, it was very important to my well being to have a reason to wake up and work hard every single day. Coral Doe has brought meaning to my life and has given me something to work for.
Plus, the thought of working for someone else's dream has always been suffocating. It only made sense to become an entrepreneur.
- What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
Gary Vee. He's a huge motivation and encourages you to focus on all aspects of your life: professional, personal, and all others.
- What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Growing my business to 2000+ customers in under a year has been the most rewarding experience. Sometimes, I truly can't believe we did this.
- What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
I read somewhere: These 5AMs will make you a legend one day.
This has stuck with me since the day I read it. But it's important to take it with a grain of salt. Sometimes, hard work and waking up at 5AM isn't the way to go about it. Sometimes, you have to work smart rather than hard. Also, another good advice is to keep at it and to try to sustain your business in every way if it's something you love. But also to know when to quit. Not all businesses are sustainable and the world isn't ready for every idea yet.
- What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Word of mouth is always the best way to market your brand. Instagram content and ads have also been great for us.
- What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well.
Every sale and every customer matters, as a small business owner. It's always lovely to see customers going out of their way to support, review, and comment.
- Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? If yes, please describe.
Gary Vee's videos are a brilliant resource.
Any tool that'll keep your finances organized is important. Invest in a good accounting software. Finances are everything.
- Have you faced any failures? How did you overcome that failure and what did you learn from it?
Everyone faces failure. You either learn from it or you go backwards.
- What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I go to the gym and I read a lot of books. When you have your own business, it's hard to draw boundaries with work. Work never stops. It's always important to force yourself to take a break from work.
- What is the Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
Expanding into new markets.
Learning more and more business literature.
Diving deeper into sustainable manufacturing and trying to move other brands towards it too.
- If you were to give an advice to a 16 year old you, what would you say?
Find a supportive circle of friends. Invest in people and friendships. It'll go a long way in life.
- How can I be a good leader?
Put your team first. And lead with compassion.
- The last question, what keeps you up at night?
The thought that maybe I should be doing more and working harder (Not a healthy thought at all. I always have to remind myself to give myself credit)
How to be a successful intern6 minute
Internships are like a trial period for an employee that a company runs to understand what that person does and to assess what more he or she can offer to the company. For freshers who are just out of college, or for women who are returning from a break in their career or people who are undergoing a shift in their career, normally have to go through this. This probation period is the period where the company judges whether you are cut out for that role and that company or not. On the other hand, for the intern, it’s the best way to figure out whether he/she really wants that role.
But, trust me. Internships are not easy and are tedious since you have a lot to do and a lot of people to prove to. Here are some of my tips to ace your internship:
- Blend well with your coworkers:
The most important part of an internship or even a job is to develop relationships. Meet your coworkers and start mingling. You will eventually blend into the office culture and understand how the office works. You will also find yourself in a pickle every now and then and you may need to know which coworker to work with to get the help you require. Blending in is the most important part of your career. You will need to work with people of different genders, different personalities, different profiles, etc. while respecting them at the same time and people skills is the most important feature that workplaces require, right now.
Organize your day-to-day work requisites. Plan out each day accordingly to meet immediate requirements. The defining factor of an intern comes from the way he or she prioritizes what has to be done right now and what can be done later on. Also, the intern’s reliability is one thing that is defined over time, so you have to make sure you convey properly what you can do and what you cannot do.
- Learn from your peers:
Watch and learn from your peers. Active learning is the make or break of an intern’s career. If you are really interested in the field you are interning for, you should know what are the actual requirements for the job. You should research and learn those fields and be implementative. In case you don’t know how or what to even study, then the best and fastest way to grow is learning from your peers. Ask them all kinds of stupid questions. Ask them what to learn and how to learn. Ask them if they could mentor you and help you at times you are feeling some sort of difficulty. Watch them how they do the job and learn the professional skills required. Don’t feel shy or don’t feel embarrassed when you mess up. After all, you are an intern and you are here to learn. If they expected you to be that perfect, you would be an employee and not an intern.
Many, many interns are not professional, mainly because they are totally new into the field. And, that’s fine. But if you do not develop any professionalism by the end of your internship, regardless of how perfect you are in terms of your work quality or your knowledge base, they will not convert you to full time. Work ethics is something that needs to be picked up and worked on simultaneously. So please try to take it slow by being a little passive until you pick up on some professionalism and work culture.
You can’t be idle just because you finished your job. Key element for an intern and one of the judging factors to convert an intern to a full time employee is “How productive he/she is?”
In the world of corporate culture, or any work culture as a matter of fact is, productivity comes hand-in-hand with how much work you did. But, the judging factor comes with how much work can you actually do based on your skill sets and talent. Once your done with the task at hand, reach out to your team members and understand where you can help them in case they need help. Constantly deliver your thoughts and ideas to your team members. This acts as you being proactive and also shows your leadership skills to lead and motivate the team.
- Organize your day:
Organize your work. I cannot stress enough on this. Without the ability to prioritize your work and work accordingly, you can never reach the fullest potential that you have or showcase your true quality. Try different approaches on how to organize your tasks at hand. You can have a daily tasks list for that or if you have a team working with you and there is no organizational structure, go a step ahead and try to set up an agile system by making use of Kanban or scrum. Set sprints and reach the targets effectively.
- Time management skills:
Like mentioned before, prioritize what do you exactly want to do right now. Many times, you may get yourself involved in work that is not of immediate necessity while there is a pile of work that needs immediate attention. Work effectively and prioritize correctly.
- Project management skills:
Sometimes, you will find yourself receiving a lot of work and most of the times it is more than what you can handle. As an intern, it is okay to feel overwhelmed and you can always question if they are pushing work that is beyond the scope of your responsibilities. But, if there are times where you have to handle many projects at once, you need to keep track of what’s happening in each project. So, my suggestion would be to jot down everything. Document everything that requires attention from your supervisors. This shows what work you are doing, how much have you accomplished and how much are still pending. Work accordingly to reach your targets.
- Go out for a coffee with your peers:
Well, of course, this is just another bonding methodology. But the twist here is, they are outside the office. Get to know them on a personal level, their dreams and share everything you have to offer. This is a grand gesture that acts as the extra mile. It shows that you are a people’s person and you are interested beyond just the work limitations. This is a great bonding experience.
- Showcase your work and skills:
Remember when I told you to jot down everything that you do? Those tasks that you have completed, those tasks that you have picked up and are working on, all of these have to be converted into Key Performance Indicators and Objectives and Key Results for the team. They should align with the company’s vision. This shows to what extent are you harmonically working with the team and how you are keen on learning more and reflects how much more that you can offer.
Now these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more factors that affect your role in the internship. It might be something as simple as work culture, or mentorship, etc. But, if you follow these, it will definitely show that you are serious about your work and all the things that you can offer you are real. The HR department will definitely love you!