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My learning curve as a mother and entrepreneur: Chief Mama Ghazal Alagh

By Rekha Balakrishnan
May 12, 2022, Updated on : Thu May 12 2022 04:24:37 GMT+0000
Being a mother made me realise the challenges of parenthood and gave me the impetus to create a brand that solves problems faced by millennial parents like me.
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Becoming an entrepreneur is something that happened as an extension of my personal experience and challenges as a mother. When Varun and I had our first child, as eager millennial parents with a baby with a skin condition, we researched everything we bought for our baby. During this process, we realised all baby care products contained some chemicals that did not suit the baby’s sensitive skin.


Since I had lived in New York through my art study, I knew there were brands that created products for babies that were safe and effective. I ended up importing the products for some time, but this option wasn’t feasible in the long run.

Ghazal Alagh

Ghazal Alagh

Through this journey, we identified a huge gap in the market for safe and toxin-free products for babies. We connected with so many parents to figure out the right sort of ingredients, what makes people trust brands, products etc. We spent a lot of typing understanding what were people were looking for in products for their babies. I used to make hundreds of call daily to consumers to understand their challenges and their requirements. This led to the creation of Mamaearth’ - India’s first made safe certified ‘toxin-free’ baby care brand.


When we started out, we were regular people who quit our jobs and decided to get on this journey. There were many challenges in balancing work and being a mother, but my husband and family helped me to manage both roles. Babies don’t come with a manual, hence I had to figure out everything on my own. I think first time moms are the best managers and leaders as they must learn everything on the job, ways to multitask and get stuff done. This is an important trait for leaders in business too.


The initial months were exhausting as we were barely living on three-four hours of sleep. During the day, the work in India and the baby would keep us awake and then we had to connect with the American made-safe team to get things for the certification, get formulations approved etc. There were times when I was coddling my son on one arm and holding the phone with the other to attend a work call. It was extremely exhausting as we were all by ourselves. That was a great learning curve for me as a mother and an entrepreneur.


Eventually we created our first line with products with six baby products. The next challenge was to define the sales channels. Selling on our own website wasn’t the most feasible idea hence we choose to go on amazon first. It was an easy move, and we took it up. Eventually we realised that to build equity amongst our consumers we had to be on our own channel. Then we went offline too soon. So, we made way too many mistakes, but all those mistakes have shaped the way we have built our company.

But soon we were making a headway into our entrepreneurial journey. We rented an office, and it was such a great feeling to move to our own premises. It was a tiny space, but it was so quiet and peaceful, and I could get so much work done, it was unbelievable. I loved going to office. Varun and I bring very distinct strengths to the business and we used that to divide work amongst us to build a more structured organisation.

We built a small team with 5-6 people and then as months passed, we grew from strength to strength. As we grew, we had to define roles for each member in the team. The moment we did that, I experienced the most evident gender bias moment of my life. Some team members quit because I didn’t have any experience in leading teams.

I take feedback very well and this one was taken too, and I worked upon myself to learn the finer nuances of the business. I had a similar experience with the manufacturing partners too. It is a male dominated industry and taking instructions from a woman isn’t an accepted norm so that also was a challenge but then as I continued working with them, it got better and now I share great relationships with them.


Being a mother made me realise the challenges of parenthood and gave me the impetus to create a brand that solves problems faced by millennial parents like me. I recently gave birth to my second child and returned to work within 10 days. Balancing my personal and professional commitment aids me in increasing my productivity and managing all aspects of my life. Being a mother is the best thing in the entire world and I think that we need to encourage other mothers by inspiring them to choose the right path and follow their aspirations.


Building a business is like raising children. One must nurture a business like your own baby. The value system we create, defines the output in both aspects. Be it giving right values to kids to ensuring they grow up to become good human beings, or ensuring that your business grows to a scalable, profitable and sustainable one.


There have been challenges but nothing deterred us from our path. I am extremely proud of building a company that is committed to creating brands with a strong sense of purpose while garnering consumer love along the way. This motivates me to continue my hustle and build more purpose-led brands and serve our consumers. I have treated each brand I have launched as my own baby and I give it my all. I am a proud ChiefMama.


Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan

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