From Marketing and Communications Fraternity to the Director of The Marcom Avenue. The journey of Divanshi Gupta

1. Hi Divanshi, welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

Divanshi Gupta is a young, far-sighted and zealous entrepreneur, who has taken up the leadership position of the Director at The Marcom Avenue. She has been working for the Marketing and Communications Fraternity for 8+ years and her experience in curating marketing strategies has helped brands bring meaningful experiences to life. Her motto to work with the brand as a growth partner and not just an agency has helped numerous brands in creating real value – whether it be leads, revenue, loyalty, or capitalization.

Q2. How did you get the idea of starting The Marcom Avenue?

Well, starting something of my own has always driven me. I have always believed in “If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather the courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.” I did the same when I started The Marcom Avenue.

The idea of starting this organization was not new to me as I was a part of the media & marketing world for some time, but experiencing the changing trends of the industry and the thought of introducing new ones in the market inspired me to have my own integrated marketing agency.

Q3. Please tell us more about your journey of The Marcom Avenue from the beginning till now?

We started with providing digital marketing services but our experience in the industry helped us realize that today is the time of integrated marketing solution as brands want one agency to handle end to end online and offline marketing to ensure same brand theme, communication and brand tonality. Also the brands save cost, resources and manpower by doing the same. Hence we expanded to have a specialized and experienced team for integrated marketing and its various aspects. Last year The need from various cities mainly Bombay and Bangalore got us to expand to those regions last year in India.

Q4. What challenges did you face as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

As a woman entrepreneur, I have not been very fortunate to have perfect or well-trained staff. I have faced my set of left-right and centers. I have faced troubles of being a female boss. Honestly, I have not been taken seriously and not respected because of my gender but it never made me give up my goals. Their behavior encouraged me to be better and be an achiever.

About solving the challenges I was very true to myself and our brand. I dedicatedly worked day and night creating and building the brand and serving our clients. Some of the remarks that were straight out-right. I handled with great calmness. My work and dedication to the company objective did the rest. I believe Gender doesn’t make a difference to achieving the goal the mindset does.

Q5. What is the USP for The Marcom Avenue?

The major USP of The Marcom Avenue is that it is an integrated marketing agency that offers end-to-end marketing services (both offline and online) to its esteemed clients. To establish and elevate the positioning of the brands that we work for, we analyse every aspect of the brand, work closely with the brand’s team to understand their goal and align the creative processes accordingly.

Q6. Name some of your success stories.

We have a trained team of professionals who thrive every day to solve problems and help businesses grow. We function not just as an agency but like a partner to our clients. Over the past years, we have gained deep expertise in 27 industries ranging from real estate, travel, hospitality, e-commerce, fashion, technology, education, food & beverages and many other industries. We have worked with some of the best brands and helped them build their brand identity. Our clientele includes Mahindra World City, Ambience Group, Sobha, Nestle, OYO, Sarovar Portico, Vertel Digital, DLF and many more. Some of the foreign clientele includes Queens of India(Bali), EADA University( Spain), ImpulseRadar (Sweden), Technostruct(California), TastyOOS( UAE) and many more.

Q7. What are your plans for The Marcom Avenue for the next 5 years?

Today, consumers understand on-the-face ads and so brands try to avoid them. With the increasing demand for creativity in every communication that goes out from a brand, media agencies are found to be in a fix and fight and are struggling through a competitive environment. The emergence and growth of big data, greater need for customization, latest technology, machine learning has lead to changing and growing customer/brand demands. Thus, these factors have forced the advertising sector to re-look at the existing model and develop innovative ideas for clients and consumers.

Nowadays, customers want specialists that drive strong, personalised and data-driven communication. My plan for The Marcom Avenue is to establish ourselves amongst the leading integrated marketing service providers in the country by curating more audience-specific strategies, developing content that is trendy, relatable and engaging for the customers.

Q8. Do you encourage other women entrepreneurs who make similar ventures? What tips do you have for them?

Women have been long undermined when it comes to entrepreneurship. But no more, I stand by every woman who is standing up to achieve her dreams. In my opinion, women’s contribution in the Indian start-up community is still to rise as they are yet to realise their full potential. Irrespective of gender bias, there are various challenges that a woman needs to overcome such as mustering up her confidence, fighting family paradoxes and whatnot.

I would like to advise every woman to believe in their dreams if they want to make it a reality. Be it your parents or your spouse you should have the willpower and the ability to convince them so that they should be part of your happiness, struggles and offer you seamless support and encouragement at every phase of your life.

I would also like to suggest some tips like:

  • Get feedback to elevate your performance.
  • Do not stop learning ever.
  • Build strong corporate connections
  • Be confident while making decisions
  • Failure is a part of success.

From Corporate to Entrepreneur The exclusive tale of GoStops by Pallavi Agarwal

1. Hi Pallavi, welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

I am the Co-Founder and CEO of goStops; one of India’s largest premium chain of youth hostels. With an intense passion for making social spaces for the youth, I opened the first goStops hostel in Varanasi. Since then, goStops has enlarged its presence to thirteen hostels all across India.  In 2003, I graduated in economics from Kamla Nehru college Delhi University and In 2004 I began my career as a consultant with ‘The Smart Cube’, learning Industrial and monetary services.

I did my Master’s program from an International Management Institute in 2007. I had worked with many reputed companies like Tata Capital as a sales manager in Rural Financial Marketing, Millward Brown as an account manager and Quantum Consumer Solutions as a senior manager.

After having years of wealthy expertise in MNCs, I founded goStops in 2014 with the vision of making social areas for the youth. Since then I am managing goStops like my child. Besides being the boss-lady, I am a mommy to 3 dogs and 4 cats. I am also fond of music and have a special place in my heart for old-Hindi songs.

2. What motivated you to start your company?

The idea of goStops took form when I along with my husband was backpacking across Europe, back in 2012. I was fascinated by the hostel culture there and wondered why a similar model didn’t exist in India for travelers who were looking for premium quality social accommodations at an affordable price.

In the Indian short-stay accommodation market, there was a void in quality-assured stays in the budget range of INR 400-800 per night. Such accommodations were mostly poorly maintained and were unpredictable in terms of quality and experience. In addition to this, there was no accommodation brand that was youth-friendly and which exclusively catered to their needs and aspirations in terms of quality, design, experience and budget. This youth population is 370 million strong. It is growing fast and is very aspirational in terms of lifestyle. We saw a clear white-space in the market. We spotted this problem and have been trying to solve this ever since the inception of the first goStops hostel in Varanasi.

3. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?

We don’t see anyone as our direct competitor as our business model is quite unique. goStops is a full-stack youth hostel company. We lease, manage, franchise real estate assets, which we design, transform, market, sell, and operate as youth hostels in locations where the youth travels for business or leisure. 

4. What is your USP?

Our hostels are designed exclusively for the young population, who are looking for quality stays at affordable prices, especially youngsters in the 18-30 years age group.  We want to cater to the aspirational lifestyle needs of the youth and keeping this in mind. We have designed the entire hostel experience around it. Hostels are hubs for socializing with travelers from all parts of the country and the world. One gets exposed to new nationalities, cultures, languages, and lifestyles. New bonds and friendships are born and one can meet people from all walks of life. Hence, one is bound to connect with like-minded individuals at a hostel. This is an experience that most young Indians aspire for and this is where goStops comes into picture, as a youth desired hotel brand that focuses on their aspirations, where travelers could be co-living and co-working.

We have CCTV cameras installed in all the alleys, common spaces and outdoor area of the hostels. There is a 24×7 security guard on-duty at all our hostels that ensure the safety of all our guests. Every guest has a spacious locker available (included in basic facilities) to keep his or her valuables safely.

5. As a woman entrepreneur, you must have had to overcome challenges. Please tell us about them?

The most difficult challenge was to maintain the quality, design and experience of the properties while scaling up to new locations. We overcame this challenge by using technological and creative solutions, with the help of a team that understood our vision and was involved with us since the inception. 

We also didn’t pay much attention to branding/marketing due to which we might have lost some growth opportunities, which could have been utilized to the advantage of the brand to make it popular among our target audience. In order to overcome this, we have created a strong team of   talented individuals who can push the brand forward.

6. Narrate some of your success stories.

Our ability to run goStops profitably as a bootstrapped organization for 5 years is the most interesting success story for us. These 5 years taught us how to run a business effectively without needing any external sources of funding and turned us into thoughtful and mindful investors of our limited funds. 

7. What plans do you have to scale your business operations?

We are planning to expand our presence across the country by doubling our bed capacity within the next 12 months. We are also planning to utilize recently raised funds to enhance our product offerings through investments in technology & training, add new revenue streams, strengthen our marketing and build a team to handle the next phase of growth. goStops is planning to cover all the metro cities in the next 12 months along with expanding our presence in North and West India including Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa, and Jammu & Kashmir.

8. Your advice to those who wish to be an entrepreneur?

Strive on diligently. Consistent focus and dedication can overpower everything else even talent.

Website: https://gostops.com/

Twirl

From an Engineer to a Entrepreneur The unique tale of Twirl Store by Sujata Chatterjee

  1. Hi Sujata, Welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

I am Sujata Chatterjee, the founder of www.twirl.store. I am based in Kolkata and am an engineer with degrees in management and marketing too. I am also the mother of 2 lovely kids, Ranabir and Anaya.

2. How did you get the idea of starting Twirl?

We live in an age of a Retail boom where everything is so easily available to us that we shop throughout the year, leading to overflowing wardrobes for most of us. At the same time, in the slums and villages of India, many people struggle to find basic clothing and many talented women need a decent source of livelihood.

The idea of Twirl came to bridge the gap between these 2 ends of society and solve the problems on both sides. At Twirl.store, we encourage you to send your unwanted clothes to us. Customers get rewarded with points which they can redeem to buy new things from us. And with all the old clothes that Twirl receives, Twirl either donates it or up-scales it as a fabric to make new wonders. This work of up-cycling or reusing fabrics is done by women primarily rural women thus giving them a source of livelihood.

3. Please also describe your journey of Twirl from the beginning till now?

Twirl.store is an eCommerce site that works on a totally different business model which had not been done in India before. So starting something unique was obviously an uphill task but we are honored by all the love we have received from customers and corporates across the country. We are thrilled to have been covered by a range of media and received felicitation from prestigious platforms. But our greatest achievement is the smiles on the faces of those less-fortunate whose lives we have been able to touch.

4. What challenges did you face as a woman entrepreneur and How did you overcome them?

Being a lady entrepreneur from Kolkata and attempting to start a new business model, people were initially very skeptical about my ideas. But I think as an entrepreneur you need to have the mental strength to take criticism and pick yourself up from every setback.

5. What is your USP?

Twirl.store is the only platform providing an easy solution to your wardrobe worries while also benefiting society and environment. We offer free home pickup of your unwanted clothing and free delivery of our unique up-cycled products across the country. So its never been easier to keep rotating your wardrobe while also doing a good deed.

6. Narrate some of your success stories.

Twirl serves customers across the country and also works in partnership with organisations. We are part of Start Up India and selected in NASSCOM 10000StartUps program. We were awarded  Women on a Mission by Your Story, felicitated at the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2019 and recognized by DST, Govt of India and IIM Calcutta as one of the best ideas to transform India. Eastern Chamber of Commerce has also recognized our efforts and named us Swayam Siddha.

7. What are your future plans for Twirl?

We hope to get more and more people across the country involved in the Twirl circle and hope everyone joins our initiative to make fashion and retail a sustainable circle.

8. Your advice to those who wish to be an entrepreneur.

Believe in your dreams !

From being a corporate HR to Baking The unique story of Samantha Lazaro The founder of Sweet Affair

  1. Hi Samantha, Welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

My name is Samantha Lazaro. I come with around 20yrs of corporate experience with HR expertise. I found my hidden passion when I was trying to bake a mug cake and it has been a pleasant journey to where I have reached today.

2. How did you get started with baking? At what age did you bake your first cake?

For someone who had not entered the kitchen in 35 years A Baker is surely not what I ever envisioned myself as. At one point of time when I was trying to find a way to keep my mind occupied after I lost my mother I came across a mug cake recipe. Considering I had a basic microwave at home I decided to give it a shot, the satisfaction of it rising into a perfect little sweet treat was unbelievable. There has been no looking back after that.

3. How did you learn baking?

Most of my learning was online and through Facebook. While I started taking small orders, my appetite for this baking bug was not satisfied! With the support of my husband I decided to take the plunge quit my corporate job, completed a Diploma in Bakery & Patisserie at Bangalore affiliated to City & Guilds, London in flying colors. While the course did add value to understand the science behind baking, my learning has been and continues to be through social media mediums such as Facebook and training videos.

4. When did you decide to become a professional baker and start your baking business? What was the inspiration behind the decision?

Baking is an addiction it’s like breathing life into food. I haven’t been able to think of anything else other than baking from when I started. My husband was the driving force behind this huge plunge to follow my dream and my mother was the inspiration. She had a massive sweet tooth but was restricted because of health reasons. I am inspired every day to create a dessert that can caters irrespective of food restrictions/preferences.

5. Please tell us about your baking company Sweet Affair.

Food is an integral part of the Indian culture ~ food is celebration, food creates communities,  food is comfort in time of an unpleasant event and most importantly food is personal. And thus the name came to be because Sweet Affair is an affair between you and your taste buds!!
Another aspect of Sweet Affair is it’s aim provide desserts, irrespective of a person’s restrictions/preferences (eg: vegan, gluten free, keto etc.)

6. What are some of the challenging cake ideas that you performed till date?

Each cake comes with it’s own highs and challenge. However, a 5 tier wedding cake that I made last year would be one of my challenging yet exciting cakes to put together.

7. What are some of the signature products of your company? Which one is your personal favorite?

Banana Walnut Tea Cake, Brownies and Chocolate Truffle Cake would be my signature desserts and most selling too! I am a coffee lover and any coffee flavored cake/dessert would be among my favorites.

8. Being a baker, you must have had to overcome challenges. Please tell us about them.

Transportation of cakes continues to be a challenge. I am still working my way around them.

9. Narrate some of your success stories.

For someone who never entered the kitchen for 35 years, every cake that leaves my kitchen is nothing short of a success story.

10. What plans do you have to scale your business operations ?

My primary focus would be to increase customer base and focus further on customization.

11. Your advice to those who wish to take up baking as a profession?

Firstly and more importantly, if you moved from a corporate job, get used to not receiving a monthly salary. Secondly and most importantly, keep practicing its the only thing going to take you places.

12. If you have had one wish ?

I am already living my dream so all wishes have been fulfilled.

Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/thesweetaffairshop/

Instagram Link: http://www.instagram.com/thesweetaffairshop

From being a Software Engineer to Baking the unique tale of Cook with Archi by Archita!

Hi Archita, welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

I am Archita born & brought up in a small town of UttarPradesh. I am an electronics engineer by education, worked as a software engineer for quite some time before turning into a full-time baker.

How did you get started with baking? At what age did you bake your first cake?

I was always fascinated with the baking stuff. One of the main reasons is no one in our family or even relatives know anything about baking.

It was during my second year holidays of engineering studies, I had tried my first cake when I was 19. There is this friend of mine in college who used to bring few tea-time cakes after every vacation. So I got the recipe from her mom since I love her bakes it was a very basic vanilla cake recipe.

How was your first baking experience?

I tried the vanilla cake recipe shared by my friend’s mom. The cake rose nicely but sinked as soon as it was out of oven. When I tried to bake it again for some more time so that the center gets cooked, the cake got burnt on the sides.

How did you learn baking?

I tried few recipes from internet afterwards only to realize that my baking basics are all wrong. So after my elder son was born & during my maternity break from office, I attended my first ever baking class. I was in Pune during that time & it was a one day class with few basic recipes. I just fell in love with baking that very day. After that it was mostly practice at home for a long time & a few more advanced level classes later in Hyderabad.

When did you decide to become a professional baker and start your baking business? What was the inspiration behind the decision?

‘CookWithArchi’ (CWA) was founded with an intention to share the recipes related to both cooking & baking in a very detailed fashion. However, the blogging went on hold after my younger son was born. It was during this time that baking took a lead around 2016 & since then there was no looking back. The only inspiration behind this decision was my passion & love for this art. I am blessed to convert my passion into my profession.

Please tell us about your baking company Cook with Archi?

After baking for years, I had realized that in India very limited flavors of cakes are readily available. The knowledge of baked products is very little and there is this whole range of cakes both frosting ,non-frosting and healthy bakes which is completely unexplored. We at CWA focus a lot on this part of baking.

What are some of the challenging cake ideas that you have performed till date?

A Unicorn cake wherein each sponge layer has 3 different colors, frosted with three different color butter cream, has golden drip & last but not the least topped with assorted color macarons.

A whopping 2 tier – 5kg – all whipped cream – naked blackforest cake; all made from scratch without any prior knowledge of tier cakes.

What are some of the signature products of your company? Which one is your personal favourite?

I will tell you one in each category because we really have a big menu. Caramel cake under icing cakes, Fudgy brownies under brownies, Orange pound cake under non-icing cakes & Polenta budino with Plum Marmellata under dessert section. Each of these is different from another & my favourite but yes fudgy brownies anytime please .

Being a baker, you must have had to overcome challenges. Please tell us about them.

Having worked as a software professional for a long time to running my own business now, challenges are in every field. And I very strongly believe each challenge make you come out stronger & bolder.

The main challenge that I have faced initially as a home baker for most of my orders is the costing of the cakes & similar baked stuff. To overcome this I have started educating my clients on the reasons. I made sure to cover this topic at the end of my each workshop. Not just that, I have started writing detailed posts on my social media platforms so that the followers can relate & understand. It took me quite sometime though, but now I have a list of clients who order from CWA every time to celebrate any of their special days/ occasions.

Narrate some of your success stories.

I have always believed that ‘Success is a Journey & not a Destination’. With each achieved goal we set another goal, with each failure we acquire some skill & learn some lessons which we use further for our next goal.

What plans do you have to scale your business operations?

Currently my both hands are full with work. Raising two young kids & a full-time baking business is a lot of work and I really don’t want to compromise on any part of each one’s growth.

Having said that my final aim is to open a chain of nice picturesque baking studios across country where everything related to baking would be available. Starting with a workshop area, a baking products retail store, a production house etc. We are always going to work on pre-order basis & our product focus is and will always be to create healthy, innovative & high end baking products.

Your advice to those who wish to take up baking as a profession.

Cakes play an important role for making occasions even more special. So it’s important for people like us to not just make them look beautiful but at the same time they should taste great too. Irony is the focus of this industry is slowly shifting from healthy baking to only decoration.

How can all the customers stay connected with you as well as your baking classes?

I have an Instagram & Facebook page with name ‘CookWithArchi’ where I post most of my cake pictures, class details & even my daily life snippets. Follow & stay tuned!!

Facebooklink: https://www.facebook.com/cookwitharchi/

Instagram: CookwithArchi

From an EdTech enterprise start up at the age of 21 to Walnut Folks The unique tale of Sahiba Dhandhania!

1.Hi Sahiba, welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

I am a digital marketer by profession & the co-founder of Walnut Folks. At a young age of 21, I had set up my first startup, which was an EdTech enterprise. The same got awarded as the best startup on the campus by Economic Times in 2015 for the unique business model & unparalleled growth. I have also worked in the capacity of Business & Marketing Head and Marketing Consultant for media giants in India & abroad. Presently, you can say I am the marketing wizard at Walnut Folks who seamlessly integrates thought-provoking designs with pertinent marketing strategies to create highly impactful campaigns for the brands we work with.

2.  How did you get the idea of starting Walnut Folks?

When anyone thinks of a big marketing agency, they assume for it to be based out of cities like Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore. You’d barely ever think of anything beyond these, let alone Nagpur. I’ve been running a result oriented marketing agency that services leading brands of our country, through a city that can be traversed in an hour. The measurable impact on the brands and the young talent that I’m fortunate to work with makes me empowered. Every day at work I know that through my humble attempt I will be able to inspire a young girl to dream and achieve and that makes me feel empowered.

3. Please tell us more about your journey of Walnut Folks from the beginning till now?

My idea behind starting Walnut Folks was that no one ever tries to consider tier 2 cities like Nagpur & I wanted to change that. I wanted to make people believe that just to pursue their dreams & careers, they don’t need to move their lives outside their hometown, they don’t have to go to Mumbai or Pune; they can do it by staying in Nagpur. For the last year, running Walnut Folks from Nagpur, I have been nurturing young talent there, while at the same time providing our clients exceptional quality & working like any leading national agency would.

With a 30+ membered strong team we have worked on brand strategies and nationwide marketing campaigns for big and powerful multinational B2B brands like BVC Ventures – World’s leading precious logistics group, Sopariwala Exports – a leading export house with 100s of product lines, 4Fruitz – a multinational confectionery brand, Cranfield University UK – incorporated by Royal Charter of UK, KCC Construction Group, DP Jain, University of California Riverside and many more.

I aim to create a full ecosystem of highly skilled marketing professionals in the city and not just at Walnut Folks. Undaunted by the scale of the task ahead of us we are determined to put Nagpur on the Advertising map of India, and eventually the world.

4.   What challenges did you face as a woman entrepreneur and How did you overcome them?

I believe whether it is a man or a woman, whenever someone starts a startup they have to face some obstacles & so have I over the years. Apart from the regular challenges of funds, support, validating the business model I personally had to face some music because I was back then a young 21-year-old girl. It was difficult for my vision or intentions to be taken seriously.

My first startup shutdown due to circumstantial unforeseen reasons and that was one of the most difficult phases of my life. I had stopped being my normal self and lost all faith in my capabilities, up to the point, I had become clinically depressed. In addition to what I put my own self through, there were tons of people who found it an opportune time to tell me that this was destined to happen.

Pushing myself out of this, and propelling towards a new venture took over a year but has truly been the greatest experience. But now I see that quite a few people who were working with me in my previous venture have now become successful entrepreneurs, each working on a cause that truly motivates them. Having had the privilege to groom them and contribute to their journey in whatever way makes me feel really overwhelmed.

5 What is the USP for Walnut Folks?

We are a result oriented Marketing Agency that delivers outstanding growth to businesses through the use of data and creativity, powered by technology. We understand each of our brand’s business objectives and get done whatever is it that they need. From Website Development, Search Engine Optimization to Social Media Marketing and Brand Identity Design, we got it all covered.

We follow a unique approach towards creating marketing solutions for our brands. It is a process through which we uncover the finest elements of brands and create the most efficient communication and marketing stories from them.

Enamored by Growth Driven Marketing, we believe that marketing strategies should not be hit or miss. We research to understand the target audience, craft marketing strategies to suit them best and then iterate them on the basis the data that comes back from our campaigns. It helps our clients grow quickly without wasteful spends. For every brand that we work with, we follow a 5 step mechanism, to provide them the perfect service on our end. These 5 steps are highly essential & are as mentioned below.

Friendly Chat
We start with a quick conversation to get a sense of what the brand’s challenges are, what they’ve tried and if we’re the right digital marketing agency for them. Because we don’t believe in hard selling.

Marketing Opportunities & Capability Analysis
If we think we can help a brand, we put together Marketing Insights specifically for the company. Analyzing their business’ digital presence and effectiveness of specific channel strategies, we create an execution plan which maximizes all the opportunities we see for growth.

Strategy Simulation
We start with getting our brands as many quick and early wins as possible, while setting up specific, long-term and scalable digital marketing strategies.

Full rollout
We roll out our full execution plan, focusing on timely, tactical implementation, and setting up scalable growth opportunities. This frees up the brands to work on other high impact areas of business.

Learn and adjust
Our marketing team continually monitors results at every step of the process and then leverages that to get our brands more wins.

6. Narrate some of your success stories.

With a 30+ member-ed strong team she has worked on brand strategies and nationwide marketing campaigns for big and powerful multinational B2B brands like BVC Ventures – World’s leading precious logistics group, Sopariwala Exports – a leading export house with 100s of product lines, 4Fruitz – a multinational confectionery brand, Cranfield University UK – incorporated by Royal Charter of UK, KCC Construction Group, DP Jain, University of California Riverside and many more.


7. Do you encourage other women entrepreneurs who make similar ventures? What tips do you have for them?

Every time a woman decides to become an entrepreneur, you create a ripple of changes in your house, society and this country. Tread on this road wisely, because many young girls are watching you. First and foremost, believing in my own force without feeling undermined by anyone and at the same time not behaving like I have a chip on my shoulder because I’m a woman makes me feel empowered. Feeling equal, makes me feel empowered.


Website:

https://walnutfolks.com



From India’s youngest happiness coach to the founder and creator of HappyFit You

  1. Hi Anshula, Welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

My name is Anshula Verma and I am India’s youngest happiness coach, founder and creator of HappyFit You . I am an ICC Certified Coach and a Fitness Instructor. 
To add to it, I have done Facilitation from TISS, Transactional Analysis, and Train The Trainers certification courses as well. 

2. How did you get the idea of starting HappyFit You?

While doing these courses, I realized that there was a need for fun-based learning and a need for people to be happy and stress-free in today’s environment. What I mean is there was a need for  Emotional, Mental, Physical & Spiritual Well-being. Therefore, I decided to create HappyFit You with the help of lessons I derived from my life experiences and the experiences I got from my education.

3. Please also describe your journey of HappyFit You from beginning till now?

HappyFit You was initially more about fitness, but because I felt the need of creating a holistic program that included Emotional, Mental, Physical, and Spiritual wellbeing, I started creating course content that covered all these in a workshop. Initially, I started with college students The students weren’t attending the lectures and the average scores were going down so, I started my workshop there. After the workshop, the students started attending the classes and learned to deal with their internal issues.


The same month I started doing my workshop at corporates, and it was a success. What really motivated me to conduct more workshops is the feeling of contentment that people got after my workshop.  I was invited to IIT Kharagpur by Dr. Saamdu Chetri who is Bhutan’s GNH Director. And one thing led to the other. Now, I work with companies like – Reliance, LTI, GEP, SiroPharma, DBS Bank, Tribhuvandas, Quattro etc.
I have collaborated with a few brand names like DBS Bank, Tribhuvandas, Cox & Kings (Getaway Goddess program) for HappyFit You. It has been an amazing experience because I am doing what I am most passionate about i.e. sharing kindness and happiness.

4. What challenges did you face as a woman entrepreneur and How did you overcome them?

Challenges come and hit you really hard. If we keep focusing on the challenges and not actually get up and knock those challenges with solutions, we will be stuck where we are.Lastly, I think being a woman entrepreneur is very empowering. In fact, there are so many different ways a women entrepreneur can grow her business. For e.g. I have collaborated and am an ambassador for the Turkey & Himachal Pradesh with Cox & Kings’ Getaway Goddess programme. It is an all women’s trip with HappyFit You workshop in those destinations. Imagine curating something like this only for women. 

5. How do you motivate your team?

We follow a policy of spreading kindness and happiness. Similarly, after every workshop of mine- I give away the HappyFit You Calendar with little act of kindness and Tulsi Plant.I feel in the end, what individuals mostly need is respect and the voice that is heard.

6. What is your USP?

My USP is being able to connect to people in the workshop emotionally and mentally. However, HappyFit You’s USP is that it is a fun way of discovering yourself Emotionally, Mentally, Spiritually,  and Physically. It has dance fitness & yoga in it too. 

7. Narrate some of your success stories.

The major success I feel was when I did my workshop at a college and a girl came up to me and told me, ” You made me smile today, I was depressed, I had failed my exam, my parents were pressuring me, my friends aren’t true, and this workshop made me really happy, thank you!” This for me was the biggest success. 2nd was definitely being called to IIT Kharagpur to conduct my workshop for 3 days.3rd is always the happy faces that I see after I complete my workshop. I end up wondering how many people’s life did I touch at that moment. That’s how I always rate my success.

8. Your advice to those who wish to be an entrepreneur.

 My advice is I know it’s hard to be an entrepreneur but if you are passionate about it, you should definitely go ahead and do it. Make a plan, make a schedule, get disciplined and get on with it. There will be times of failures, but always see what learning you can derive from it.

Website: https://happyfityou.co/index.php

A story of Rashu Rathi where she enjoys her work through Wedding planning!

  1. Hi Rashu, welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.

My name is Rashu. I am a spirit Junkie and I specialize in conceptualizing and planning weddings + designing and luxury brand events at Indian wedding squad. I truly love what I do because it allows me to express what I like and what I believe in. I love to travel and discover other cities, cultures, and corners of the world while at the same time, curating mood boards for luxurious, fun, significant weddings with a distinctive character. My company is young as I launched it back in April 2016. I incorporate Multi-Industry Experience including Hospitality, Aviation, Corporate Public Relations, Modelling, Fashion, Lifestyle and Independent Social Work Responsibilities.

2. Please tell us about your company i.e. Indian Wedding Squad?

Indian Wedding Squad is Delhi first Minimalistic bespoke event design and planning company. We specialize in typical and stylish weddings, social occasions, and special events.  We believe in every couple’s dream wedding is unique, Thus we always make sure that every wedding conception is completely different reflecting couple’s personalities, rituals of families and their own mood boards. We tend to mix high international service standards with contemporary India to bring an unforgettable, timeless and stylish event to all our clients. We have hand-picked the best wedding vendors around India and abroad to provide nothing but the best products & services. We get to the heart of our clients and their requirements and will work with you hand in hand to translate your dream wedding come true. We conceptualize distinctive ideas and bring out vital details that will set your wedding exception from any other.

3. How did you get into wedding planning?

I was helping my husband with his multilevel event management company which I loved but I craved a bit more of the creative side of wedding planning. I am insanely detail oriented and organized but also really love aesthetics and styling. Weddings fit that bill for me and I love getting to do both!

4. What was the First Event you helped to organize?

Wedding planning of Singer turned Minister of state for heavy industries Mr. Babul Supriyo where Mr Narendra Modi attended the wedding with other politicians and Bollywood Celebrities.

5. Tell us some challenges that you have faced during your time working as an Wedding Planner and How did you overcome it?

Firstly, the most important challenge is to know your clientele what is that they want to portray through their wedding function. Wedding is an expression and it showcases your family, views, authenticity and traditions. So, every decision family makes is very emotional and our challenge is to in keep that in mind if that is realistic enough or not.

Second Challenge at times is the budget. Wedding being the most important day of your life, people tend to go overboard with their ideas but they also have their budget amount fixed.

Focus on the good, not the negative. I think the glass half full versus half empty analogy is key in these situations because it’s wedding after all and we really can’t expect control it all the time.

6. Please tell us about the toughest event you have organized?

My Toughest event was Indian Wedding Show, which is India’s Biggest wedding event with more than 75+ categories of wedding industry, creating a space for the everything of weddings. Focusing on current Indian wedding market in the country while still keeping in mind the traditions, ethics and sentiments of our Indian customers, a platform for every brand to be associated with the wedding industry every way. Indian wedding show is created with an idea to promote, amplify up bring new trends, brands and at the same time enlighten the people about the variant brands and vendors in the Indian wedding market. Its prime objective is to bring the whole of wedding industry together and procreate the business of weddings in India and globally by bringing in effulgent elegance in the form of luxurious wedding expo which we pulled in 40 days to be precise from communication design to marketing, media tie ups to production.


7. Who are your major competitors in India? How do you differentiate yourself from other players?
There are tons of planners in the wedding industry but I don’t want to view it as a competition. Instead, I love that we as clients have so many choices. I want to use it as inspiration. I am always studying how other wedding designers and planners market themselves – from Designing, to Marketing campaigns, to the hot new color for trends. There is always something new to learn to do or not to do from each other. Every person has different designing aesthetic, and preferences. Of course, I love my designs and think they are the best! But having options is not a negative to me. It’s a chance to learn how I can be a better brand myself.

 
8. How Indian wedding Squad is different?

Our young team of designers and stylists work with the craftsmen, artisans, and weavers with the aim of bringing and celebrating weddings with those whose unscripted episodes of work make knotty affairs come true and calling it going back to India’s roots through medium of designing wedding space, furnishing, collecting spanning textile, decor, lighting, florals, centerpieces, meaningful motifs, crafted fabrics and details with contemporary modern ensemble with our Indian heritage.

9.  What are your future plans?

Personally, as I see my future for the moment is with client calls, proposal writing, timelines, social media, business planning, working with the team, industry events, designing, researching, communicating with vendors, working up floor plans, searching for inspiration, executing wedding days while drinking a whole lot of coffee!

Indian wedding squad is more than a business.  We are a professional, meticulous and imaginative wedding management company, aimed at offering impeccable customer service and a magical overall experience. We look forward to collaborate with more and more partners, clients, their families and our vendors in future. We look forward to position ourselves as a resource to support growth through the flawless execution of weddings, events, and meetings. We continue to help create unique and memorable moments through creative planning and execution. We are governed by a set of Core Standards, one of which is Quality over Quantity. As of now and for future We concentrate our time and talent on fewer weddings booked by only accepting 12 weddings per year.

10. What is your message for budding entrepreneurs/young generation?

Many budding entrepreneurs see entrepreneurship as a high gloss lifestyle when the reality is it’s a total lifestyle that you craft and will be a roller coaster of highs, lows, celebrations, and stress but in the end, there is nothing else in the world you would rather do.”

Do not give up. You are going to feel like you can’t go on. You’re going to ask yourself, what’s the point when you are not making money or the bills are piling up. Believe me, I have been there but persist and find a way to make it through. For everyone that quits, it makes your chances of succeeding, even better. Keep the good vibes going!

Website: http://www.iws.events

From Corporate to Baking The amazing tale of Priyanka and Sonal Jayaswal The founders of Intriicake!

Priyanka and Sonal are cake artists from Bangalore. They worked in different corporate companies before they ventured into baking.

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  1.  Hi Priyanka and Sonal, Welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog.  To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.                            Ever since I was a little girl I have had a strong affinity towards craft work. During our summer holidays  My sister and I would sit together at the dining table with our respective craft supplies and demonstrate how to create various items such as pen stands, photo frames etc. to my parents. We would pretend like we were the hosts of a TV show that teaches how to make various DIY craft items my parents being the audience. I am also extremely fascinated with miniature craft and I used to make several miniature cards, books, photo albums etc. and present them to friends and family.  Before I started my cake business I have worked in the corporate environment for a while in companies such as Data Quest Entertainment, Hewlett Packard, Cisco etc. I have also studied animation and worked as a 3D and 2D animator for few years. During my job tenure I have pursued salsa dancing semi professionally, and in 2009 I was placed 2nd runners up at the Asian Salsa Championship, held at Hong Kong.
  2.  How did you get started with baking? At what age did you bake your first cake?

My mom used to always make our birthday cakes, so I guess the whole process of watching her bake and decorate is what sparked the interest in me subconsciously, although I never really thought or imagined that I would take up baking as a full time profession someday. I was generally more interested in eating my mom’s tasty cake than baking it. I baked my first cake when I was 20 with my mothers help.

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3. How was your first baking experience?

The first cake that I ever baked completely by myself was a rainbow cake because I was very excited to make a colorful cake. Although it was a fun experience, by the time I actually finished baking the cake, preparing the icing, layering the cake, crumb coating and frosting etc. I had 2 thoughts running in my head:

  • Baking a cake from scratch is no cake walk! It is a tiring and time consuming process although when you see your finished creation, it does make you feel it was worth the effort.
  • If baking a cake itself is so taxing, how am I ever going to create 3D decorated cakes, and convert this into a business!!

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4. How did you learn baking?

Even though I liked baking it was the decoration aspect of this profession that I was more attracted to initially. However I knew that no matter how good my cake looks  it is more important for it to taste amazing so I decided to first learn how to bake! I have learnt mostly from my mom, endless hours of research on the internet and with my own trials and errors.

5. When did you decide to become a professional baker and start your baking business? What was the inspiration behind the decision?

In 2012 I accidentally came across this show on TV called Fabulous Cakes while flipping channels! That was the first time I had seen something like it and realized that there are people creating these super awesome designs with cake!! And I was in awe of it! I realized that it was similar to the kind of craft work I used to do except that this was edible (and a lot more challenging I feel!). That’s when the idea first popped into my head. In mid 2013  I finally decided to quit my job at Cisco and start my own cake business.

6. Please tell us about your baking company – INTRIICAKE.                                                        INTRIICAKE is a home based bakery that specializes in creating unique theme based designer cakes and cupcakes. We customize our cake creations as per our client’s requirements and often create our own designs as well  on the basis of the theme provided by the client. We bake all our cakes from scratch using the best possible ingredients with taste being our 1st priority. Every single model/figurine and every single decoration is painstakingly hand crafted by us with a lot of love and patience. It is our constant endeavor to make our clients fall in love with not just the taste of the cake but also the taste of the decorations!! One of our USP is that we make almost all our models/decorations with chocolate so our decorations not only look good but taste good too! Apart from our designer cakes we also take orders for regular cakes, cupcakes, cookies and cake pops.

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7. What are some of the challenging cake ideas that you performed till date?

Translating a specific idea of a client and depicting the client’s imagination in the form of a cake is always challenging. One of my clients who was throwing a baby shower for his wife told us he wanted the cake to portray a strong and beautiful woman, who handles herself, her husband, their home, and her job wonderfully, and would also make a wonderful mother in the future! Depicting this in the form of a 3D cake was challenging and exciting at the same time. We have also had a couple of requests to make figurines resembling the actual birthday boy/girl so sculpting portraits is always challenging.

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8. What are some of the signature products of your company? Which one is your personal favorite?

Our Nirvana cake, Devil’s Food Chocolate cake and Red Velvet are few of our signature products. My personal favorite is Red Velvet.

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9. Being a baker, you must have had to overcome challenges. Please tell us about them.

As a home baker there are several challenges that we have faced:

  • Power cuts are a huge challenge! Most of the times it is unpredictable. Installing a generator that supports the oven requires a big investment. We observe the time during which the power cuts in our area are the least and plan our baking accordingly.
  • Transporting custom decorated cakes, especially during summer is very intimidating. The thought of several days of hard work being ruined due to heat, long distance travel and bumpy roads is nerve racking! Initially my dad used to drive me and my sister all the way to the venue to personally deliver the cake ourselves. After experiencing this for a few months, and understanding the dos and dont’s, we started using cab service and have not had any damaged cakes till date.
  • It was also difficult to find big boxes and cake boards for tall and odd shaped cakes initially, so my dad would come up with innovative ideas for packaging based upon the size and shape of every cake! We have custom made not just the cakes, but also the cake boards and boxes for several cakes.

Custom made cakes are expensive due to the sheer amount of work, time, ingredients and labor that goes into creating them. Educating clients as to why these cakes are expensive, is not only challenging but also important. Many customers are totally unaware of custom cakes so it is not wrong for them to wonder why they are expensive hence we do our best to explain details to every client and give them a better understanding of the prices.

10. Narrate some of your success stories.

We had made a Dora theme cake for one of our clients. After the party the client told us how her daughter started clapping her hands with joy as soon as she saw and recognized her favorite cartoon character on the cake! She was very impressed with how we had managed to make an exact replica of her daughter’s favorite cartoon character!

Another client who had ordered a swimming pool theme cake for their son’s 1st birthday party  personally called us and explained the reactions of their friends and family on seeing the cake, and how the children enjoyed eating the cute little characters!

There was this client who had ordered a cake for her sister’s baby shower. She told us how the cake was the show stopper and talk of the party and that her guests couldn’t stop ranting about the looks and taste of the cake.

Hearing such comments from clients and seeing the happiness and excitement in their faces is what makes us feel it was worth the effort and the sleepless nights.

Dora

11. What plans do you have to scale your business operations?

We are considering the possibility of opening up a shop  hopefully in the near future.

12. Your advice to those who wish to take up baking as a profession.

Baking and cake decorating as a hobby is very different from baking as a profession. It requires an immense amount of time, hard work, patience, and passion. It can also be very taxing physically, and I feel that the only thing that can help you through it all is the passion for it, so make sure you are extremely passionate about it before getting into it.

13. If you have had one wish.

To have my own big bakery someday, with state of the art equipment, and a super awesome team to work with.

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Priyanka and Sonal Jayaswal: The founders of Intriicake.

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/Intriicake-683563975006919/

 

 

 

A story of Swati Pasari where she celebrates life through her Artwork!

Born to a family of entrepreneurs, Swati found her calling in art at a quite young age. After completing her graduation from Australia, she joined the family business for a short while but soon realized that art was her true calling. Thus she refused the chosen path of taking over the family business and followed the call of the artist inside her and pursued her dream. A mere pastime became the passion of her life. Though the formal artistic journey started only in 2007 it has not taken her long to acquire a prominent position in the world of painting where her work is being exhibited and appreciated all over the world.

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For Swati Pasari painting is not just an expression of her thoughts but also a journey to seek out and reach her inner soul. Her constant quest for spirituality finds expression in her art which she uses as a tool to reach to the divine.

Swati has exhibited in galleries across India which includes prominent names like IndiaHabitat Centre -New Delhi, State Art Gallery – Hyderabad, Academy of Fine Arts Kolkata Emami Chisel Art Gallery –Kolkata,Dhoomimal Art Gallery -New Delhi, Samara Art Gallery -Ahmedabad,Sublime Galleria -Bangalore and in international destinations like London, Dubai ,Tokyo, Houston among others. She has been prominently covered in several national and international media. Several eminent art critics have reviewed her work and shared positive testimonials. Her works are a depiction of her inner self manifested through textures, colors and hues, which not only bring peace to her but also spread an aura of positivity to those who comes in contact with her works. Swati Pasari celebrates divinity and immortalization through her art.

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Swati does not pre-plan a painting, and neither does she know where a painting will take her. When she enters into the process of painting she often enters a new dimension,where she just takes off on a journey to reach her inner soul and find peace and spirituality. When asked about how she could decide whether her work was complete Swati replied that it was a tough call and was often difficult to ascertain. But when you look into a piece of art, you feel a sense of completeness and that feeling spreads to your inner being. That is when she understands her journey has been completed and that is when she finishes her painting. Each painting reflects her soul and she gets to introspect the various dimensions of her inner being .

She looks at each painting as a mirror that portrays herself and all that she stands for. Being a Pranic Healer, she has a strong spiritual side to herself and most of her paintings are made with the intention of spreading positivity.

“They say that you have to be lost in order to be found. Every artist strives for inner peace, and art is only a method of finding inner wholesomeness”, adds Swati.

Details of her Art Work

Krishna: Lord Krishna has revealed purest forms of love to us.  He is in love with poetry, life, music and dance. Love can heal your wounds and cleanse your mind. This beautiful sculpture by Swati Pasari showcases the power of love which can raise us to a higher level.

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Buddha: Compassion is the essence of spiritual life; it is the root of Buddhism and one of the main pillars of Buddha’s teachings. This amazing sculpture by Swati Pasari is a fond reminder that in order to realize enlightenment a person must develop two important qualities: compassion and wisdom.

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Quote by Swati

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

PS: Thank you Alliance PR for giving me this opportunity to publish this on my blog.