Power quotient: Tips from successful entrepreneurs on International Women's Day

As International Women's Day draws nearer, 8 women entrepreneurs share their tips for success.

4th Mar 2020
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International Women’s Day is just around the corner and there is a lot to celebrate when it comes to honouring the individual achievements of many women entrepreneurs across the country.


YS Weekender brings you 8 women entrepreneurs who share their tips for success in a self-run business. 


Pallavi Foley

Pallavi Foley is the founder of Pallavi Foley Boutique Jewels, Bengaluru. She won the NID business world design award for designing a hugely successful, contemporary jewellery collection, which was designed using traditional Indian motifs. She regularly contributes to both local and international shows.



Pallavi Foley

Pallavi Foley

YSW: What are your tips for success?

PF: Don't ever set a limit to your dreams.


  • Dream unapologetically about your vision''. The only way to judge your business idea is to see if it is going to benefit people at large.


  • 'The goodness test' of a product is the best way to know whether it will be a success or not.


YSW:  What motivates you to do what you do every day? 

I am in love with my work. My love for jewellery design is deep in intensity, and it is my joie de vivre.


The stories I hear from people who have worn my collections, are my biggest inspiration. The happiness in keeping our crafts alive and working with the super talented craftsmen in our country is a privilege that I am insanely always grateful for. 

YSW: Can you tell us about some of the challenges along the way?

My biggest challenge in my head, was that I thought that since I had studied design and not marketing, I was not adequately equipped to set up a business.


However, very soon, I learnt that each one of us has the ability to tell our story, and the truer the story, the greater the conviction.

Sanna Vohra

Sanna Vohra is the Founder and CEO of The Wedding Brigade, an online portal where users can discover the best wedding content and trendy styles besides being able to book verified vendors and services.


Before founding the Wedding Brigade, Sanna worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley in New York, and at the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi X.



Sanna Vohra

Sanna Vohra

YSW: What are your success tips?

SV: Create your own road map. Have a 3-year plan at least. It’s important to make sure that you are

working consistently towards a larger goal. It will help you spend your time more productively.

  • Spend time every day on the larger picture and not on putting out daily fires.


  • Take your time when hiring a team and get inputs from a lot of people.

YSW: What motivates you to do what you do every day? 

SV: Consumer satisfaction is my driving force. At The Wedding Brigade, we get a chance to be a part of a couple’s most special day!

When I meet my customers and see their purchases via The Wedding Brigade, the fact that we were able to make their wedding planning process easier, fills me with so much joy.

YSW: Can you tell us about some of the challenges along the way?

SV: Nurturing a business from the ground up is not easy. Leaving behind an established career and a stable job comes with a lot of challenges, although I personally feel that my entrepreneurial journey was extremely rewarding in the end. 

The space was very new to me when I started so it required a lot of initial research, building relationships from scratch and working with a very small and inexperienced, yet super hard-working team.

Though sometimes that can be frustrating, as you aren't necessarily seeing the impact of your work on the numbers immediately, hold tight - it will come!



Simeran Bhasin

Simeran Bhasin is Co-Founder, BRAG, an inner wear brand for women, which she established with her classmate from college, Ivy Chin. Simeran worked in Wild Craft previously as the CMO and she has also been the head of marketing and retail at Fastrack, a watch brand.


BRAG was founded in 2016, when Simeran and Ivy both felt that the young Indian women of today needed a comfortable yet stylish innerwear line that they could rely on.



Simeran Bhasin

Simeran Bhasin

YSW: What are your tips for success?

SB: Before starting your business, sit your immediate family down and have a frank chat with them. Give them the worst-case scenario of the business going belly up and bring them on board. The last thing you need is family putting pressure on you. You'll need every ounce of moral support you can get, as you deal with the vagaries of your business.

YSW: What motivates you to do what you do every day? 

SB: BRAG is very close to our hearts. The immediate impact it has had is the thought that keeps us going.

YSW: Can tell us about some of your challenges along the way?

SB: Starting and running a business is a multivariate equation. The business idea, the product, how to execute it, finding customers and finding resources - financial or manpower, all these need to come together simultaneously, every single day.


It's not for the faint hearted for sure, but if you're up to the challenge, then it’s the next most satisfying job after parenting! In our case, the manufacturing was our biggest challenge.

Priyanka Shetty

Priyanka Shetty is the founder and CEO of Mimmo Organics, a successful organic baby food company. She has a Master's degree in biotechnology and business management from Macquarie University, Sydney.



Priyanka Shetty

Priyanka Shetty

YSW: What are your tips for success? 

PS: I would strongly advise all aspiring women entrepreneurs to believe in themselves and be persistent in

the pursuit of their goals.


  • Obstacles will be there but if you believe in your own abilities, you will overcome them.


  • It is very important to set short term, achievable goals and do everything in your power to achieve them. Each time you do so, you will gain more confidence in yourself.


YSW: What motivates you to do what you do every day? 

PS: I have always been very passionate about providing only the very best to Indian children. I want our children to have the same advantages and access to the best possible nutrition as all the other children in the world. It is certainly a challenge to run a business but I am very passionate about Mimmo, so I don't feel like it is work at all! I am just as excited about the future of the company as I was on day one!

YSW: Can you tell us about some of your challenges along the way?

PS: I had just given birth to our son when I decided to start my company, Mimmo Organics. I had to deal with a young child while also dealing with several challenges of starting up a business - like developing the right product, finding space, purchasing equipment, hiring the right team and managing production. All the while, I had to deal with people who didn't really believe that a woman, could run a successful business but I am happy to have come through all those initial challenges successfully.



Aarti Gill

Aarti Gill is the founder and CEO of OZiva, an active nutrition brand that offers a range of products comprising botanical extracts, plant and whole food-based nutrition.


With an engineering degree from IIT-Roorkee and an MBA from INSEAD, France and Singapore campuses, she decided to give up working in the corporate sector and follow her passion for preventative healthcare. She founded OZiva in 2016.



Aarthi Gill.

Aarti Gill

YSW: What are some of your success tips? 

AG: For me, it has always been about perseverance. Business models can be figured out if you persevere and if you have the right people by your side.

YSW: What motivates you to do what you do everyday? 

AG: The hope that one day we can enable 100 million lives to be healthier and better and the hope that one day we will enable thousands of women to be OZiva entrepreneurs and many more hopes like these.

YSW: Can you tell us about some of the challenges along the way?

AG: The first one was identifying a scalable business model. The second one was building a team that is as much invested in the idea as you are, and today, I am really proud of the team that we have built at OZiva.

Chandra Rajendran

Chandra Rajendran is the head of design at Sakhi Fashions, and runs her enterprise along with her daughter, Neeta. They have stores in Bengaluru and Hyderabad as well as an online store.

Chandra has been a successful Bengaluru based designer and has a strong eye for colours and patterns. Neeta has an engineering degree as well as a diploma from NIFT.



Chandra Rajendran

Neeta and Chandra

YSW: What are some of your success tips? 

CR: You need to have a solution or unique value proposition (USP) and then you must learn to communicate it well. In addition to hard work, you need to be in the know of your product and stay close to the consumer.

YSW: What is your personal secret of success?

CR: I have learnt that I need to stay in the moment and not get lost. It is also important to try and be as nice as you possibly can. Sometimes, a consumer may not know they need something, so it is up to us to innovate and think out of the box


Nidhi Singh

Nidhi Singh is the co-founder of popular brand, Samosa Singh in Bengaluru, which she runs with her husband Shikhar Singh. Nidhi and Shikhar met while studying biotechnology at Kurukshetra University. Nidhi, who realised she loved marketing and sales better than biotech, took up a business development job in the Delhi office of a US-based pharma company after graduating in 2007. When Shikar realised that all fast-food restaurants offered pizzas and burgers as snacks to Indian customers, he decided to start a samosa kiosk and the rest is history.


Nidhi Singh

Nidhi Singh

YSW: What are some of your success tips? 

NS: Make your passion the driving force behind your entrepreneurial journey. When we feel completely and

utterly passionate, there is no room for judgment and commitment is never a concern.


  • Believe in your passion and believe in yourself and start your journey today rather than tomorrow.


  • Be willing to step out of your comfort zone, to work harder than you ever have and to show persistence when the going gets tough.


  • Surround yourself with the ones who genuinely care about what you’re doing.


  • And above all, stay agile, keep learning and evolving to keep up with the pace of your operating landscape.

YSW: What motivates you to do what you do every day? 

NS: I love what I do! And it is this passion that inspires me to give my best to my business each day. It's overwhelming to see your endeavors grow. My entrepreneurial journey is exciting with an ever-learning curve and never a dull moment.

YSW: Can you tell us about some of the challenges along the way?

NS: For a startup, every opportunity comes with a huge challenge. We have had our fair share of challenges throughout the journey, which has helped us evolve and get better every day.

Misha Pamnany

Misha Pamnany is an F&B consultant and the proprietor of 'Salt & Pepper', which helps individuals start successful bars and restaurants across Bengaluru. From helping with layouts, cost management, equipment and advice on staff selection process and training of restaurant staff, Salt& Pepper does it all. The popular bars and restaurants in the city that they have worked with include Toit, Aurum Brew works, and Hard Rock Café, among a slew of other much-loved eateries. 


Misha Pamnany

Misha Pamnany

YSW: What are some of your success tips?

MP: Knowledge - your most powerful weapon is knowing your subject but success is about being open to learning every step of the way.

YSW: What are some of the challenges you faced?

MP: Negotiations - selling a service is not easy. Payments - entrepreneurs survive on payments being made on time, which in some instances may not happen. Working capital is essential.

YSW: What are your personal secrets of success?

MP:  Honesty – and complete transparency. I never claim to deliver something I cannot. Every aspect of the service is open to the client. I also believe in personal attention and that each client gets his or her due.

 


(Edited by Asha Chowdary)

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