Business person or not, your view of the world is most definitely going to be from a completely different lens. Now, when you’re a mother, that word takes on a whole new meaning. It influences the way you look at things, how you deal with everyday situations, but most importantly, how your actions and professional life impact your children. For most women making their way in the male dominated entrepreneurial world, their ventures are, more often than not, considered a hobby or a way to  while away their time when the kids are away at school.

We’re here to prove you wrong. Allow us to introduce you to seven women who have not only managed to take care of their homes and families, but are building empires and legacies, one baby step at a time!

DR RUPALI AMBEGAONKAR, 39, CEO and Co-Founder, Tea Culture of the World, Mumba

TCW Tea Pvt Ltd., is a contemporary tea brand that brings the finest whole leaf teas and exotic blends from India and around the world, to your teacup. Tea Culture of the World is a brand under TCW Tea Pvt Ltd. that started off in 2010 as a proprietary company and are now a Private Limited Firm. They have exotic whole leaf teas sourced from across the globe and India; and also signature blends which they have developed over the years.

Meet the founder…
I believe in doing everything with passion and perfection. I put my heart and soul into the task I undertake. As a person, I love travelling, adventure activities like aerial yoga, trekking and exploring new cultures. I am a business woman, a homemaker and mother to a lovely daughter named Katha.

The drive behind your venture…
My motivation came from my sabbatical after I had my baby. I gave up my medical profession to care for my daughter. After five years of staying away from medicine, I was inspired to start my own venture. Moreover, I wanted to create an empire and leave behind a legacy that my daughter could be proud of. As my work demands a lot of travelling, I barely have a personal life. As my daughter is growing up, I give her space to do her own things. My husband is an Orthopedic and he keeps busy with his work. Busy schedules make it extremely difficult to find time. So it is only during the holidays and the weekends that we get to spend fair amounts of time together, and we make the most of it.

Striking that balance…
Running a full-fl edged business keeps me very busy and away from my family. I make up for it by spending quality time with my family and daughter whenever I can. Every year, my daughter and I take a 10 days trip to a new place. I also ensure I spend time with family and friends. But, I won’t lie, it is extremely difficult to spend quality time with your children. When I was a homemaker during my five-year sabbatical, it was easy to spend all my time with my family. Now, when I look back, I realise how crucial that was. Nonetheless, it is about qualitative time and not quantitative time. We tend to appreciate the little things and time spent together.

The next step…
As a mother, it’s a life long journey of learning and improving. I take it all in my stride. And so far, I think I can say that I am managing perfectly. As an entrepreneur, I plan on expanding my e-commerce and retail reach across the globe. We plan on being present in more retail outlets in India and overseas. But that’s not all in store for me. I have a few more ideas that I’m excited about, and working on. But, I will announce them when the time is right.

Entrepreneurial wisdom…
My advice would be to never give up on your dreams and do what you are passionate about. It is also necessary to keep your family involved, so that it makes the business a more fun experience and your family’s support is definitely a motivational factor for you to aim higher.

NIDHI BATRA, 31, Co-founder and Director, Nirvana Excursions, Mumbai

Nirvana Excursions is a very young and enthusiastic travel brand, that was established in 2013, and specialises in unique travel experiences and customised solutions for the discerning traveller

Meet the founder…
I am an MA in International Journalism from UK, now sucked into the materialistic world of entrepreneurship. Post my return to India, I worked with NDTV as a television producer. After a couple of years in the media, I desired to explore the world beyond, and that led me to quit my media career and enter my family business of construction, where I headed the marketing department and was instrumental in introducing fresh insights and ideas into the business. I also started and successfully ran my own restaurant in Navi Mumbai, but somehow, I still hadn’t found my calling. At least till my husband and I decided to pursue our passion for travel and began our own venture. Our goal was to make travel feasible and fun for the average Indian traveller.

The drive behind your venture…
Nirvana Excursions is my third baby. I am a passionate traveller but I do understand that passion alone cannot drive a business. Striking the perfect balance between profession and passion becomes all the more difficult but I think I am coping well with this. Nirvana Excursions is a full-service travel agency, specialising in creating travel packages across the globe. The main focus of our travel packages is always experience. We have managed to grow every fiscal year and continue our endeavour for tapping new avenues within the travel sector.

Striking that balance…

I am a working mother. I have two boys, a two year old and a fi ve month old, that should give you an idea of what my daily routine looks like. In short it’s crazy. I start my day at 6.30am packing one off to school. I head to work with my infant. I owe it to my super supportive little kids to be nice enough to understand their mum’s lifestyle to travel with me for work. Apart from being a working mum, I am a very hands-on parent, too, so once back, I spend every single moment with my children. I read to my toddler, we go on a mommy-son date and even chat about his day before bedtime.

The next step…

I have big plans for Nirvana and I am going to give it my hundred percent. Success and failure are all part of the journey and I welcome both with open arms. I want to give freshness to the traditional travel business and succeed with a lot of new avenues we are currently tapping. We are working on our Home Agent Programme, which is beginning next month, that’s primarily for stay-at-home and ex-professional moms. Being a hands-on mom, I know the restrictions that come with the birth of our little bundles of joy. This venture is for women who don’t want to work full-time, but be productive when their kids and spouses are away. We are looking to empower these women by giving them work from- home opportunities.

Entrepreneurial advice…
You’ve given birth to a new life; you’re stronger than before and a force to be reckoned with. You’ve even got the battle scars to prove it! The only thing that’s going to stop you, is you. I say go for it. The sky is your limit. Up, up and beyond you go!

AMBIKA ANKIT AGARWAL, 30, Proprietor, The A-Cube Project, Chennai

Founded in May 2012, The A-Cube Project is an innovative event design company that organises bespoke events, complete with a theme woven into their conceptualisation. Each celebration planned has a unique story to tell. At The A-Cube Project, they strive to craft unique stories for every client by incorporating their aesthetic sensibilities, creating bespoke décor and memories that their clients cherish forever.

Meet the founder…
I’m an entrepreneur, struck by wanderlust and all things beautiful. I love creating beautiful spaces and I try to seize that moment and absorb all that it has to offer. I strongly believe that people are blessed with more than one virtue and I do hope that educational institutes and families, emphasise the fact that the journey is more important than the final destination. I completely believe that if u have a vivid journey, nourished with varied experiences, you will eventually arrive at a destination of your choice.

The drive behind your venture…
After my struggle through a rough childhood, fair share of human loss, setbacks and tremendous learning, it’s perseverance and the belief in my talent that drove me to establish myself. As a child, I always knew that I never wanted to be in a bad situation, unable to pull myself out of it, for whatever reason. My mother single-handedly raised my brother and me, after my father lost his fight against cancer, so I knew that I couldn’t be financially dependent on anyone but myself. That’s when I decided to use my creativity and start something of my own. I started at at the young age of 25.  I discovered that there was a lack when it came to bespoke events, that were infused with the right degree of quirk. I was fortunate enough to tap that niche market at the correct time.

Striking that balance…
A baby completely changes your life. Before Shanyraa entered our lives, I was responsible only for myself. Today, everything I do, I have to think twice before I do it. Now, every decision I make will indubitably shape the future of my child. Now, I realise how one’s childhood and upbringing adversely affects your future; it shapes your entire life. Somehow, you’ll only notice these things when you have a child of your own. Parenthood means a certain amount of sacrifi ce in the beginning, more so from a mother. I won’t lie, I do miss life before Shanyraa, particularly the amount I used to travel, but I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything in the world. She’s given me a new purpose, so everything I do, is with her in mind.

The next step…
I’m definitely looking forward to growing and expanding The A-Cube Project, and the plan has been set in motion. Once you find your calling, newer opportunities keep showing up. I’m excited to look into each one of them. I’m also looking to start my own ‘Prop and Quirk’ furniture line soon and hope to go international in the next two years. Having been among one of the top companies to be featured on NDTV’s Wedding Trends, as décor experts earlier this year, we are now looking forward to being one of the few Indian representatives at the Destination Wedding Planners Congress (DWP), in Mexico in April 2018.

Entrepreneurial advice…
The birth of your baby is not the end of possibilities; it’s, in fact, the start of newer ones. A happy child, requires a happy mother. Invest in yourself, believe and do something to enhance your self worth. It will in turn only teach your child to strive for something better, stand up for themselves and do it with pride and a whole lot of joy. Someone once told me, “Some birds aren’t meant to be caged; their feathers are just too bright.” That’s the advice I would like to leave you with.

ROHINA ANAND-KHIRA, 31, Owner and Design Director, AA Living, Mumbai

Ajay Anand Living, is a place to explore an exceptionally well-merchandised world of high quality bed and bath textiles, rugs and accessories. These are products of lasting value, classic design and instilled with a brand that caters to the superb taste of a modern individualist. The brand’s philosophy is simple, they won’t sell you something they don’t love themselves. Their designs inspire creativity, ethical trade, as well as aesthetic beauty. It’s much more than just sourcing and selling products; it’s a way of life that comes highly recommended.

Meet the founder…
Travel is my biggest muse. I love going to trade fairs, seeing historic art and just picking up design sensibilities from so many different cultures. Europe has to be one of my favourites. I find that my personal design aesthetic is quite prominent in the store’s design selection and overall look. There is a sort of sync in my designing, my own personal style and home décor. I tend to stay away from large overwhelming prints, synthetic looking fabric, anything that is heavy on stones and sequins and loud contrasting combinations. I’m a firm believer in the practicality of interior textiles, understanding the customer and then delivering creative beauty.

The drive behind your venture…
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always known that I was made to contribute to the creative arts. As time passed by and I tried my hand at design, I realised that the fashion industry was too saturated. That’s when I began drifting towards interior textiles—an underrated industry. The more I tried my hand at it, and the more my passion grew for it, the more I understood the volcano of design potential that lay untapped. My vision is to merge creativity and quality and make it easily available to all those who want an imaginative home. But more than anything, my work is a reflection of my personality.

Striking that balance…
Scheduling and time management is key when it comes to being an available parent and effective entrepreneur. A typical day for me starts at 8 a.m, and is followed by a healthy breakfast and getting Anneeka ready for school. As soon as she’s out the door, I get cracking with work. I also try to factor in some yoga or a workout, and then spend my afternoon on social media and populating my blog. Late evenings usually see me back to work, and I tend to have nights more or less to myself because that’s when my husband and daughter spend their quality  time together.

The next step…

We are starting a full-fledged e-commerce portal by the end of the year, so I’m really looking forward to making our products available to the whole of India. But, more than anything, I’m really excited to announce that I have another baby now and a mommy for the second time. I’m just going to take things one day at a time. It’s hard to predict what’s really in store for me, my family and my business, but I plan on powering through it, one day at a time.

Entrepreneurial advice…
If you had decided not to quit working post your baby, don’t! If work gives you a sense of accomplishment and independence, then keep at it. Everyone goes through tough days, regardless of their marital status, so don’t sweat the little things. Life has a funny way of working things out in it’s own time, so keep telling yourself that everything will be okay.

ATIYA DARBAR (L),AFRA KOCHRA (R), 33 & 31, Co-founders, Kiddiegram, Mumbai

Founded in 2014 by two sisters, Kiddiegram is your one-stop guide to all things children-related, designed for parents on the go. Kiddiegram’s  aim is to provide mothers with a platform for quick and easy solutions with regards to home décor, clothing, crafts, events, DIYs, etc. catering to children of different ages. Kiddiegram provides solutions, concisely and in an organised manner, keeping in mind the importance of a parent’s precious time.

Meet the founders…

After marrying at a young age, we decided to venture into the world of business after the births of our second children. We’re both blessed with a son and daughter each (Atiya has a 10-year-old son and a four-yearold daughter while Afra has a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son). We live on the opposite sides of the city, so between the two of us, we cover both sides of the city well. Both alumnus of JB Petit High School, Afra graduated with a Bachelors of Mass Media degree from Jai Hind College while Atiya went on to pursue Business Management at Wigan & Leigh College. It was our dedication to our children and fascination with social media that brought Kiddiegram to life.

The drive behind your venture…
With the craze of social media taking over our lives, at the time we began our venture, there was never anyone telling us parents what events to attend with our kids, activities we can do with them to keep them busy or  even what products are actually worth buying. As moms we didn’t have so much time for research, so we decided that starting a guide for parents, and one on social media, was really necessary. That was the birth of Kiddiegram. We thought parents needed quick information and fun ideas, and that’s something we take pride in sharing.

Striking that balance…
On a regular school day, we both send off our kids and try and catch up on a morning workout. Post that we attend to emails, finish meetings and plan out our content for Kiddiegram. Once the kids get home we get involved in their homework and after school routines. However some days it’s back and forth between commitments to Kiddiegram and managing the kids. Fortunately for us, our work revolves around our family. The matter of not really spending time with our kids doesn’t even arise, as most events and campaigns require us to involve our children. Kiddiegram turned out to be a perfect job for moms and it rarely takes us away from our kids. As far as our husbands are concerned, they’ve been extremely supportive and encouraging towards this, which is another added bonus.

The next step…
Since both our younger kids are now done with preschool and have just started regular school with longer hours, most of our mornings are free for us to pay more attention to Kiddiegram. We hope to leave our mark by now developing and manufacturing products for children that are still not easily available in the Indian market. Despite all technological advancements, there are still a lot of gaps in the kids retail sector which we hope to fill someday. We definitely have a few ideas in the pipeline, but it’s still too early to tell.

Entrepreneurial advice…
We love the term mompreneur and wear it proudly! In India, despite the changing times, and the fact that husbands do help with childcare, the reality is that the bulk of the responsibility falls to the mothers. However, we believe that if you have a dream and want to pursue it don’t let that fact that you’re a mother, get in the way of that. In fact, we believe it should be the force that makes you want to go out and get it! Just remember, you’re setting an example for your child who’s always watching you. So be proud of what you do. |MB

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