Top 35 stories on HerStory that our readers loved in 2019
As a platform for women, HerStory has always been known as a platform for women from diverse fields.
Our endeavour every day is to bring you stories of women, their successes and failures, their vulnerabilities, their dreams, their hopes, and beliefs. Our aim is to be a voice they can relate to, depend upon, and tell their story like it is.
2019 was no different when it came to celebrating women. Each story was a celebration of a woman chasing her dream, overcoming a challenge and learning to be financially independent. And that’s why every story we do inspires us and our readers as well.
While every story is dear to us, we bring you a list of the widely-read stories on HerStory this year. Enjoy, take inspiration from them and tell us your story too. Because every story matters.
How Dolly Jain went from homemaker to celebrity saree draper
When Dolly Jain got married, she was only allowed to wear sarees at home. That's when her creative juices began flowing. Using her creative abilities, she draped her sarees in different ways every day, and eventually started off by dressing mannequins. Today, she is adept at 357 styles of draping, and has celebrity clients like Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, and Isha Ambani.
Read the story here.
These women are cooking up a storm on YouTube
Four women - Nisha Madhulika, Tarla Dalal, Kabita Singh and Bhavna - have leveraged YouTube to cook up a storm. Idle at home, or quitting their careers, these women set up YouTube channels, to pursue their passion for food and managed to earn not just views, but also money.
Find out what’s cooking in their kitchens here.
The woman entrepreneur behind the Virushka wedding and Nickyanka engagement
From film sets to wedding mandaps, Mumbai girl Tina Tharwani finally became her own boss when she started ‘Shaadi Squad’ with Saurabh Malhotra and Manoj Mittra. Tina found correlations in film production and wedding planning and took the plunge in 2015 to start a contemporary wedding planning startup.
She has a star studded clientele and organised the Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli’s wedding and the Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas engagement. However, every wedding is special for this Shaadi Squad, says Tina. Read her story here.
10 online businesses you can start from home
With new technological innovations every day, and more career options to explore, setting up an online business is easier than before. And for many women, running their own startups from the comfort of their homes can be empowering and liberating. Check out these 10 online businesses women can start from home.
15 seconds to fame - these four viral TikTok stars use the platform to create content and earn money
In today’s world, you don’t need to be a film star or a celebrity to achieve fame. All you need is 15 seconds of creative content on TikTok, the app by Chinese giant ByteDance. Indian women Garima Chaurasia, Moni Kundu, Nagma Mirajkar and Vani Choudhary went viral for their content and turned into TikTok stars.
With corporates employing them as influencers, here is how they are creating content and earning money. Read the story here.
This millionaire CEO who shows women belong everywhere
Talk about breaking glass ceilings and Gillian Trans, the CEO of Booking.com is a shining example. This millionaire who cycles to work has in the last 16 years held different positions at Booking.com and has been leading the company as CEO since 2016. A champion and a role model for women , Gillian’s secret to success has been her lack of fear when it comes to failure.
Find out how she leads her team at Booking.com. Read the story here.
How a single mum scaled her startup from 8 lakhs to 2 crore in 2 years
Upma Kapoor lost her parents when she was 12. She used up her savings to start her organic beauty brand Teal & Terra. In two years, this single mom and woman entrepreneur still continues to bootstrap but has built a brand that is worth Rs 2.4 crore
Upma’s story reminds us that nothing is impossible and cliched as it may sound, grit and determination will see you through the darkest nights. Read the story here.
How this housewife from Haryana turned her passion into a profitable business
Friends and neighbours kept telling Ritu Kaushik that as a woman she didn’t need to work but she wanted to turn her passion into business and today is one of the top sellers on Flipkart. She started her bag business in 2016 and hasn’t looked back, and is earning in lakhs every month.
Ritu clocks a monthly revenue of Rs 8 lakh and is looking forward to the future where she can earn Rs 20 lakh a month. Read her inspiring story here.
This housewife started up with a Rs 50,000 investment and built a Rs 10 Cr business selling vintage sarees
When her husband decided to leave his job as an investment banker and start up, Jyoti Wadhwa decided to start her online business too. With money borrowed from her husband she started selling vintage sares that soon became a huge hit. She broke even in the very first year of operations. . She wasn’t wrong and in the very first year of operations she broke even.
She hasn’t looked back since. Find out how she did it. Read the story here.
The crore club and Myntra
Rakhi Khera didn’t give up on her dream to start up in the fashion space after marriage and motherhood. She didn’t give up when her first venture didn’t work because she believed you need to keep trying. Now she has not one but three brands and has clocked more than 3 Cr revenue this year. Read here to find out more.
She went against her family’s wishes and built a successful business
Shineel Tilwani started up when she was in college and was running a successful business part time while doing well at her day job. In 2016, she quit her job despite her family’s advice and decided to take up entrepreneurship full time. Initially, she felt the business would not last and she should have listened to her family but one small trip changed everything. Her business took off and she hasn’t looked back. Today with a global clientele, the company clocks a revenue of Rs 2 crore.
Read the story here.
(L-R) Upma Kapoor, Ritu Kaushik, Jyoti Wadhwa, Rakhi Khera, Shineel Tilwani
Bullying forced her to quit her job, but Aditi Mishra turned to entrepreneurship and built Platano Foods
Aditi Mishra returned from her maternity leave to find that the company has replaced her with someone else. Not able to face the bullying, she quit after seven months with an aim to start her own company where women would makeup more than 50 percent of the staff. That’s how she started Platano Foods, a sustainable food startup that wants to minimise the wastage of agricultural produce by converting it into nutritious and delicious food.
Ever thought of green banana flour or ragi banana flour cookies? Take a look at how this Biotechnology and MBA graduate is building a new product market. Read the story here.
Sheela Kochouseph: two conditions and a dream
Sheela Kochouseph’s business started on two conditions: she had to raise funds with the help of a bank loan and her husband would give her an empty office of his, but on a monthly rent. There was no “family money” to bank on.
With her passion and a team of 10 people she not only took on the challenge but succeeded with her high quality inner wear brand, V Star Creations. Find out how she turned her passion into a successful business. Read the story here.
Meet four young women at the helm of manufacturing companies
Often thought of as a male-oriented field, manufacturing is not always a welcoming space, especially for women. However, Sheetal Talati, Vinati Mutreja, Neha Gandhi and Shipra Singh Rana are four young women who have made inroads into the manufacturing and are at the helm of leading profits and change at their companies.
These four women are a sign that entrepreneur has to move beyond gender differences and become a more diverse and inclusive space. Read the story here.
The 78 women MPs who won the Lok Sabha elections of 2019
Out of the 8,049 candidates in the 17th Lok Sabha elections, nearly 9 percent, or 724 were women. While this is a small number, it was the largest amount of women contesting in the history of the Indian Parliamentary elections. Among them, 78 women became members of Parliament.
Take a look at the full list here, including celebrities and veterans.
Sheetal Talati lost her father at 22 and charted a new course of growth for his business
Sheetal Talati lost her father when she was 22, and decided to take over the reins of the family business, Pushpa Industries. With no prior experience, Sheetal had to teach herself how to manage the company, overcoming various challenges, so that she could grow and build his dream. Today, she has grown the facility's manufacturing capacity by 5.5 percent, from 55,000 coils to 360,000 per annum.
Read the story here.
Meet 26-year-old Tejal Pimpley, who is the director of 10 firms and supervises 7,000 employees
After Tejal Pimpley turned 18, she began focussing on her family business, and worked on her aim to become the family's youngest entrepreneur. At 20, she started on her entrepreneurial journey. Today, she heads 10 companies, has set up businesses abroad, and has her own dance academy. Across all verticals, Tejal is in charge of 7,000 employees. Read more about her story here.
Meet Simar Malhotra, the 22-year-old who quit her job in the US and came back to rebrand India's culture
Simar Malhotra spent quite some time away from her home in Delhi when she went to the States to study English at Stanford University. Having always loved Indian culture, staying abroad led her to realise the value of her roots. Aiming to "reink, rebrand, and reassert" Indian arts and culture, Simar decided to start Inkpot, earlier this year. Read more about the startup and Simar's vision for it here.
With her travel company, Maria Victor is showing tourists the other side of Goa
Goa may be famous for its sun and sand, but it also has a rich history and culture. Wanting to showcase the lesser known side of hometown, she started her own travel company, Make It Happen. Through the company, she curates heritage trails and cultural experiences that are conducted by locals presenters who know the essence of Goa like the back of their hands.
Read the story here.
How a chance encounter convinced Shanu Mehta to start up in the fintech space
When Shanu Mehta and her husband were on holiday in New Zealand, they overheard a traveller - Rod Drury, the Founder of Xero - complaining about his accounting system. The duo, who come from accounting and tech backgrounds, immediately offered him a solution, making a great first impression. Finding merit in their own idea, Shanu and her husband launched MMC Convert, which helps SMEs move from a single accounting software into cloud-based solutions. Today, the company has assisted over 5,000 businesses and generated a revenue of $1.2 million in 2018-19.
Read the story here.
Learning by example: Giving up the corporate life and starting up
The 9-to-5 corporate job lifestyle is not for everyone and is definitely not the healthiest one, especially in India, where 5 is never 5. Divya Kalra had a corporate job for 11 years in the US, and after shifting to Bengaluru she continued her routine, which she realised was neither healthy, nor supportive enough to make time for her daughter.
So, she decided to quit and start ShopHealthy.in and iCarry.in. Thus, we decided to make her our guest on the Community Chat in the HerStory Women on A Mission Facebook group to talk about quitting the corporate life and starting alternative careers.
Read the story here.
(L-R) Tejal Pimpley, Simar Malhotra, Maria Victor, Shanu Mehta, Divya Kalra
This 11-year old is on a mission to teach kids coding with her AI game
The future of work is being defined by new skills and this 11-year-old girl is making sure children and young people can easily learn coding, computer programming and AI skills in a fun and easy manner with her game CoderBunnyz.
She believes age is just a number and no matter how old you are, everyone has the power to change the world. Read the story here.
This Columbia University graduate turned her mother’s part-time business into a multi-crore one
The economic downturn of 2009 made Columbia University graduate, Sulagna Ghosh return to her roots in Kolkata. On her return she turned her mother’s part-time pottery workshop in Santiniketan, into a full-fledged business. Sulagna and her mother Shanta have now turned the small workshop into a two cafe-cum-stores under the brand name Sienna.
This mother-daughter duo have turned a part-time business into a multi-crore one. Read the story here.
Ritu Karidhal and M Vanitha: the women scientists behind Chandrayaan 2
While the Chandrayaan 2 mission may not have found success, the women behind it must certainly be applauded. Ritu Karidhal - the Mission Director played a leading role as deputy operations director while M. Vaniltha, was the project director.
Read more about these women here.
Arulmozhi Saravanan pawned her jewellery for Rs 40,000 to start up; today she makes lakhs in revenue
Arulmozhi Saravanan got married at 19, and is a mother to a son and daughter. Looking for an opportunity to support her family with supplementary income, she came across the government e-marketplace (GeM). She then decided to pawn her jewellery for Rs 40,000 and start selling office supplies. While her first order was for just Rs 243, today she makes a revenue that runs into lakhs. In 2017, her success story was mentioned by PM Narendra Modi on his radio show Mann Ki Baat.
Read the story here.
Meet Madhuri Aggarwal, the former lawyer who found success in fashion, art, and crafts
Madhuri Aggarwal worked as an investment lawyer for five years, and went on to do an MBA in 2014. However, she realised that the combination of law and MBA was not welcome in most companies. She then decided to start Weaves of Tradition, an online portal that sells sarees, dress material, dupattas, stoles, and more. What's more, in just two years, Madhuri has earned a revenue of Rs 32 lakh.
Read the story here.
Why celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Lady Gaga are talking about mental health
For many, speaking about mental health is still a challenge, with so much stigma attached to the subject. Aiming to encourage others to start a conversation about the topic, celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, and Lady Gaga are sharing their own stories and making an impact. Deepika Padukone and Lady Gaga also run foundations that help raise awareness about mental health.
Read the story here.
Starting small and scaling big: Starting with a laptop and two lakh rupees, Sujata Arora now runs three companies
Sujata Arora had a corporate job, travelled abroad a lot and stumbled on a problem - lack of technically skilled staff. She quit her job and decided to tackle the problem and thus, she founded Hire Indians. With an initial investment of Rs. 2 lakhs, the company now has four times the turnover.
After one successful venture, Sujata, 37, began two other companies - BollywoodKart, and the Ek Koshish Foundation. Her story is a great example of grit and determination and starting small and scaling big. Read the story here.
Standing up against all odds: Meet Tanvi Loond, chartered accountant and entrepreneur
Tanvi Loond, 29, was told entrepreneurship, finance, accounting were all a man’s job. But, this chartered accountant and entrepreneur of Insta CA proved everybody wrong. She built Insta CA as a means to provide easy financing and tax expertise to MSMEs, along the journey she faced obstacles like sexism, workplace harassment, but this strong and mighty woman rose above all.
Tanvi’s story is one of self-belief, resilience and courage to challenge the unchallenged and more. Read the story here.
Creating easy and relatable content, these women YouTubers are making money
If you have access to the internet and basic editing skills, you can get on YouTube and start a channel. From Prajakta Koli to Rickshawali and other Indian women have increasingly used the platform to produce plethora of content - beauty hacks, DIYs, dancing and singing, comedy sketches, tackling social issues like body shaming and more.
YouTuber or Influencer have become successful career paths for many. Read how these influencers are doing on the platform, here.
A one-teacher army who is changing the lives of children in a Kerala village
KR Ushakumari walks, rows, and treks her way daily to teach tribal children in a Kerala school. She is the only teacher at the school.This teacher warrior runs the school singlehandedly and is teacher, peon and principal as well.
It takes Ushakumari two-and-half hours to and from school – a journey that is sometimes cut short by landslides, unpaved paths, or blinding rain. She has fallen down many times, she is also asthmatic but all these obstacles do not deter her in any way.
She does it all to ensure that the children have a chance at an education and she can shape their lives. Read her story here.
How Su and Ta made SUTA a brand to reckon with while supporting weavers
Sisters Sujata and Taniya turned their love for textiles into a saree brand, Suta that is not just organic and natural but supports weavers.
The brandwith 50 weavers and a huge customer base clocked in 5.5 cr revenue with 10 percent MoM growth. Given their popularity, it's hard to say that saree is not in? Find out more about their journey. Read their story here.
With sarees and salads, these women entrepreneurs are earning lakhs through WhatsApp
WhatsApp lets us connect with people around the world, but these women are making a living through the platform. Shanmuga Priya, Megha Bafna, and Preeti Sinha are using WhatsApp to earn lakhs of rupees by selling sarees and salads. Here's how.
Meet these women who are making waves in the interior decor space
Anuradha Aggarwal, Saniya Kantawala, Rohina Anand-Khira, Pooja Bihani and Akhila Srinivas are transforming spaces and giving them meaning with their own unique ideas. With changing lifestyles and environmental concerns on the rise, these interior designers offer innovative and creative solutions.
Read the story here.
Why we love these female characters from the Harry Potter series
From Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the Deathly Hallows, the Harry Potter series from JK Rowling has enthralled every generation with its mix of magic, intrigue, friendship, and the triumph of good over evil.
From Hermione Granger to Molly Weasley, here are the female characters from the Harry Potter series that we absolutely love.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)