5 startup ideas for women, of women, by womenReeta Gupta
Women in changing rooms and waiting areas at airports heave many sighs. Phone conversations with the maid, giving dinner orders to the cook, and sipping into coffee – women have use for every minute.
Here’s a sample mind racing:
I wish I had gone to the parlour last week. I hope my maid is going to turn up today. I hope the kids’ tiffin will not leak into their school bag and books. I hope the driver remembers to pick up the husband’s white shirt for tomorrow from the laundry. And look at me, I’m such a mess. My hair is frizzy and that serum was out of stock- look at that gifted young teenager, waist size 26, with great metabolism digging into that yummy vada pav- and I’m going to turn up at this very important meeting looking like a gorilla that’s still evolving into womanhood. And about that vitamin E and Omega 3-6-9 pill, that got over last month. Let me place that order right now
This mental chatter is never ending. At the airport, everyone is trying to sell me coffee and books. And while that’s not so bad, it’s seriously not an answer to my needs.
Hence, this Women’s Day I’d like to share five business ideas that women would love to see, as customers, starting with the airport.
Needless to say, both men and women can execute these ideas.
- Threading and wax depots at airports: Big thumbs up for this one girls, because we all have thought of this. The most neglected parts of the woman’s body (as visible to the outside world) are eyebrows and upper lips. If you’re not one of those who has woken up to laser hair removal, you know exactly what I mean. The tweeze and wax depots can devote just 10 minutes to a customer and charge them a premium easily. Between turning up for a meeting looking egregiously unkempt, to spending Rs 200 on a trained lady, who can give you a quick makeover, women will fall hook line and sinker for the latter. A quick underarm wax will also take 10 minutes. This business will have to avoid the temptation to offer spa-level hair treatment services, as on an average, the amount of free time available at the airport post-security-check is about 20 minutes only.
- Sensible play areas in malls: Most malls’ idea of play areas is- slides, colourful foam, a TV with cartoon channels and some balls in odd sizes. What about simple games? Blocks? Carom? Chess? Ludo? Matching puzzles? Rubik’s Cube? Spinning top? Drawing sheets and crayons? Wooden stencils? You want the mother to shop peacefully – look at stimulating the child’s mind. I have seen parents queueing up for wildly ridiculous activities like decorate a donut or a muffin that have one chocolate dip and two toppings. Or parents dragging hapless disinterested six-year-olds to a screening of Bajirao Mastani, because hey, they want to watch it! Raising children is about offering them a stimulating environment and that will require the inputs of educationists.
- Online maid bureaus: Yes, I know there are many maid bureaus. They charge you a sign-up amount and then send someone you will never hire. We need a free online listing service for maids, who can come in for specific purposes, whose records are police verified. Listed by locality, hyperlocal, and segregated into categories like stay at home 24 hours, cooking, clothes washing, minding kids, minding toddlers, massage services, nurses for elderly, governesses, and sweep and swab. It also needs to send replacements when your regular does not turn up. Remember, diamonds stopped being a girl’s best friend a very long time ago. So, it’s maids, maids, and maids all the way.
- Science experiments classes: I have hunted and hunted and hunted. But if my child wants to put sunlight through a prism and watch the electro-magnetic spectrum unfold, there’s no activity centre that can help. Thanks to YouTube, children know about tectonic shifts and the Milky Way, but cannot do simple science experiments on mirrors, magnets, electricity, or make kaleidoscopes; Yes, the school has a lab for secondary classes, but what about curious kids aged 8-12? There are so many simple experiments they can do.
- Authorised seconds store for luxury goods: I’m not saying women cannot afford a bag that costs Rs 2 lakh. But I’m surprised that ‘authorised’ seconds on luxury goods are not available in India. With authenticity certificates signed by the parent company and the production unit number clearly mentioned. Let me explain – the obscenely wealthy cannot wear the same pashmina too many times, the rich cannot be seen with the same bag/shoe too many times, just like the upper middle class cannot be seen in the same outfit too many times. So why not a thriving seconds marketplace? It’s better than copyright infringements that are so rampant that if you raid China, you’ll come out looking more fashionable than when you went in! Let everyone own a piece of what’s designed to make women feel divine! This is the only possible solution to fakes.
These are just five ideas. There are many more. But I’m sure you get the drift. Some ideas have scale, while others will be valued only by a community or locality. But they will solve real needs.