Celebrating the Spirit of Zepo's Women Entrepreneurs
Time and again, we come across stories infiltrating our news feeds reciting incidents about business magnates and how they went from being ‘zeroes to heroes’. Every successful entrepreneur has his own inspiring story to share, but women entrepreneurs usually have a more colorful tale to tell.
Decades ago, it was impossible for a woman to think about starting her own business. Today, the equation has changed. Millions of women from various spheres of society are launching businesses and running them successfully.
According to a global entrepreneurship report conducted by BNP Paribas, 49% percent of entrepreneurs in India are women. This statistic is the highest in the world, ahead of already emerged markets like Hong Kong (45%) and France (42%).
On 8th March, we celebrate International Women’s Day and we wanted to acknowledge those who have broken many unseen barriers and tasted success on their entrepreneurial journey.
Hats off to these women entrepreneurs of Zepo! Check their wonderful stories out below:
“Women should take the center stage is what we always wanted for SuTa”, say co-founders Sujata and Taniya. Having done their MBA’s from IIFT Delhi and IIM Lucknow, and having spent many years in the corporate world, their passion towards art and fashion never abated. Thus in 2015, fighting many odds, SuTa was born. You can find a delectable selection of exquisite Indian ethnic clothing on their online store.
“SuTa means thread”. Su – Sujata and Ta – Taniya were euphoric when they discovered the magic of the syllables in their names. “It feels like the universe conspired for us to be here together”.
A venture started with the aspiration to keep the spirit of artistry alive didn’t have the smoothest start. Sujata states, ”In the beginning with a humble team of 4 women and minimal financial backing, reaching out to all the corners of India seemed daunting. With persistence and patience, we have created 14 small women work groups in different parts of India so far”. SuTa products are just a token of representation of the in-numerous souls who have touched the fabric. They aspire to keep the undying spirit of artistry alive.
For all the budding women entrepreneurs, they suggest having perseverance, and to always have the end goal in sight.
“It’s all within us that needs to be put into a business like a soul and half your battle is won. You are the queen and you call the shots.”
WhysoBlue is a fashion website offering exquisite clothes for women. It is a Mother-daughter project that took flight about a year ago, out of their pure love for fabrics.
Sharing an impeccable love for Tea and being high on life, Shweta loves to try new things. Impulsively, without a thought, she quit her job one morning and decided to start something on her own.
“I could honestly see it no other way. With no prior experience in the fashion industry or any real savings to show for, my mother and I just plunged headlong into it and WhySoBlue was born”.
Customer satisfaction and delivering unique results has always been their mojo.”With WhySoBlue, we wanted each piece that reaches our customer to be distinctive and true to their individual personalities.”
When asked about why women should start their business to do something bigger in their life, she has a jolting response.
“There is nothing like the feeling of owning something – of being responsible for something and loving every second of it. Yes, you may not really have a Sunday or a complete switch-off vacation, but you will choose to work the way you want, in the pace you want and make your own rules as you go. If you think there is even a little creativity in your idea that has potential, take it up and TRY and make it a reality. You never know when you might hit the jack pot :)”
Kol Kol, which was incidentally the first words my son spoke, is a brand that was born from my heart and my experience as a parent, says Bayiravi Mani, Founder, Kol Kol, a Baby carrier maker company.
After growing up in Chennai and running a bakery business for a few years, she settled in Gurgaon post her marriage. “When my child was born, being in a nuclear family setup and trying to run a baking business with an infant led to babywearing.”
As per Bayiravi, being a mother has not been easy. Balancing the demands of a young business and a young child while doing justice to both is a struggle. “It is something that every working mother faces. As an entrepreneur, I had to work very hard at making the relatively new concept of a baby carrier’s acceptable to new parents and families.”
As the brand continues to grow, She takes every effort to ensure that all her carriers are tested according to international babywearing quality and safety standards.
She believes that women should not be confined by people’s definitions and the roles they assign to them.
“Every woman should have the space to make her own definitions and choose her own roles.”
Two friends who met in junior college laid the foundation of this food product startup – Gourmet Box. Having done their masters from England, Janice and Himanshi decided to follow their passion, their love for food. “Even when we came back to India our weekends would primarily involve trying a new restaurant that would have opened up and discussing recipes to try during the weekend.”
J&H Gourmet Foods LLP was established and self-funded in the March of 2013 with the objective to sell exceptional, handpicked gourmet food products in Mumbai. Gourmet Box sells a wide and exquisite range of imported and local products enabling the customers to taste and prepare global cuisines.
“Our biggest challenge was that we didn’t have any references when we started an online Gourmet food store. We were one of the first companies to start selling Gourmet food online. Since we didn’t have any background in food, we had to learn on the job. We had to figure out what works for the customers and what doesn’t. There were no guidelines or rules and regulations to follow, we had to make our own”, she adds.
“Times are changing and women are moving in a positive direction all over the world. We feel extremely proud of being a woman of this generation wherein, so many are breaking moulds and creating a positive path for the future generations”.
Coming from a family of Business owners, the art of running a business was in her genes. “I’m a fashion entrepreneur, basically a person who handles the business side of fashion”, says Shilpa Bhatia, founder of The Clothing Rental. Her brand provides clothes from high fashion brands on rent. “My brand is extremely fashionable, yet highly relatable. It’s well researched and planned to meet the needs of our consumers”.
Talking about her struggle to get the business running, she says, “Making others see what I saw, way before they could even imagine it was the biggest challenge. Firstly, it’s about selling the idea to your close friends and family. Once you succeed in that, you get into selling the product or service.”
We enquired about the fact that the majority of her workforce comprises of women. She replied:
“Women are hard workers and extremely sincere. If they are happy in what they do, they flourish like a beautiful flower.
They need a little help and encouragement to believe in themselves. Often the society has made women feel like their whole purpose is to be a homemaker and many women do make that a priority while neglecting their personal creative side”
“We celebrate women everyday in our workplace by making it a supportive, happy and secure environment to work in. We encourage having fun while maintaining high work standards. I’ve seen women save up, make smart financial decisions and secure a roof over the families head by even purchasing property. To me that’s a proud women to see her go out and buy what she needs for her family with her own money while using her own brain”.
“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” — Ayn Rand. That profound quote is probably the best way to sum up my feelings after hearing these highly inspiring success stories. The glass ceiling has been well and truly shattered by women entrepreneurs. Here’s wishing everyone reading this a very Happy Women’s day!
We are committed to helping women everywhere realize their dreams of being independent and successful business owners. We have a special Women’s Day offer for budding female entrepreneurs who would like to take their business online. Check this link out for more information!
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