We’ve been all about the women entrepreneurial and leadership spirit since inception. Our Self-Starters are ladies who have kickstarted a business, undertaken a passion project, or channelled their skill and talent, and taken it to the next level. TC46 Self-Starters have always shared more than just their journeys; they’ve shared practical advice on growth, monetisation, strategy and expansion so that the next line of women bosses have a point of reference as they work on their own professional growth. 

On International Women’s Day 2021, TC46 caught up with 5 Self-Starters to talk about what gives them strength and the words they live by!

1. Priyanka Chugh, Founder, Ek Taara

Being poetic, traditionally modern, and timeless are Ek Taara’s key elements that help make it to TC46’s list of women-led brands. The toy store line-up is a boon considering many of us are away from our loved ones, and these would be sweet tokens to remind them that you miss them. Here’s our quick chat with Priyanka Chugh. 

A Milestone That Made You Proud:

During the lockdown, I conceived an idea and was able to deliver it. A handmade gift shop for people who can’t meet their loved ones yet. I was proud of the brand development and loved the response of people as well.

The Ultimate Source Of Support For You:

The mirror and my dog.

A Quote You Live By:

Be kind to yourself.

A Major Roadblock You Overcame:

Being a woman solopreneur has not been the easiest of journeys. But the only way is to power through.

The Goal You Envision For 2021:

Successful upscaling of our brand’s apparel segment and toy segment. 

2. Smriti Notani, Content Creator, Real Girl 

Known for her candid and tell-it-like-it-is style, Smriti Notani built her brand ‘Real Girl’ from scratch. She is a writer, blogger, podcaster with a podcast ‘Real Talk With Smriti Notani (70k organic listens)’ and ‘Night Shift With Smriti’ (a talk show style recurring Instagram Live feature). Here’s our quick chat with Smriti Notani. 

A Milestone That Made You Proud:

I was recently published in a book, which felt pretty darn cool. A poem of mine (on Sindh) got published in a book, ‘Sindhi Tapestry: an anthology of reflections on the Sindhi identity‘. 

The Ultimate Source Of Support For You:

My husband is the ultimate source of support for me. He believes I am capable of great things and reminds me of it regularly. As a result, I’ve started holding myself to a higher standard.

Quote You Live By:

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. – Maya Angelou

A Major Roadblock You Overcame:

Like any young creative, I was almost always ridden with self-doubt when I was in my twenties. I have, however, learnt to trust my creative instincts since then and enjoy the process of putting my unique spin on things instead of worrying that I’m different.

The Goal You Envision For 2021:

 Taking ‘Real Girl’ to new heights! 

3. Avantika Bahuguna Kukreti, Zumba Trainer, Instagram Influencer & Brand Alliances Head Momspresso & Fit Moms Tribe 

A talented Kathak dancer, Avantika Kukreti is a super mom who works full-time as the head, brand alliances at Momspresso and as a certified Zumba trainer. She even has her own community called ‘Fit Moms Tribe’ and is embarking on a new venture with Moms League Global. Here’s our quick chat with Avantika Kukreti. 

A Milestone That Made You Proud:

There are quite a few milestones in my life that I am proud of. Being a working mom and a Zumba instructor, switching careers from being a hardcore content person to a Sales and Business Development professional to being a parenting influencer to finding my own fit moms community. 

I am extremely proud of the way I resurrected my career after motherhood and established my own niche and name as a parenting KOL and influencer in 2016-2017(after taking a two-year sabbatical from mainstream media to be a full-time mom).

The Ultimate Source Of Support For You:

Undoubtedly, my 9-year-old daughter, who is my tiny cheerleader. She has taught me how to love unconditionally, without any expectations and also that a problem is not as big as it may appear to be in your head. She has also made me calmer over the years and taught me this invaluable quality of appreciating the small joys of life.

Quote You Live By:

This is my own quote and a philosophy that I stick by professionally and personally – Kindness is the one thing that’s free in the world but one that gives you lifelong returns. Try it!

A Major Roadblock You Overcame:

In the last two years, I have worked extensively towards having a positive attitude and growth mindset. It was not easy to get rid of procrastination, negative thinking and the inability to change as per the changing circumstances, but hell yeah I tried, and here I am today.

The Goal You Envision For 2021:

To keep learning every day and keep challenging myself to achieve greater things professionally and personally in order to be physically, emotionally and mentally stronger than what I am today. Also, to help as many women who come my way. 

4. Gitanjali Banerjee, Blogger & Founder, Fertility Dost 

Fertility Dost is an initiative started by Gitanjali Banerjee to create awareness and communicate on infertility. On Fertility Dost, she helps women suffering through the same turmoil she was once going through and also talks about her journey from content writing to managing a startup. Here’s our quick chat with Gitanjali Banerjee. 

A Milestone That Made You Proud:

Doing consistent revenue after the initial standstill at the onset of Covid, the way we picked up, increased our revenue and did consistent revenue is what I am extremely proud of. Kudos to my team who stood with me and gave more than their 100%

The Ultimate Source Of Support For You:

My son. His tight hugs, broad smiles and proudly telling others that ‘my mom is an entrepreneur’, not letting anyone disturb when I am doing live sessions in my study, giving me a thumbs-up whenever I am going for a presentation and saying, ‘mom you can do it, you are the best’ He is my ultimate source of support. 

Quote You Live By:

Jodi Tor Dak Shune Keu Na Ase Tobe Ekla Cholo Re by Rabindranath Tagore, which translates to ‘If no one responds to your call, then go your way alone’. Not exactly a quote but this is one line I live by. 

A Major Roadblock You Overcame:

We had planned a big event in March last year when Covid-19 hit. We had to cancel the event, return tickets, bear losses. However, we pivoted and moved to a digital medium for fertility awareness sessions and it saw more than 200% growth in terms of traffic and revenue and we found an improved revenue channel. 

The Goal You Envision For 2021:

IVF clinics onboarding Fertility Dost as their partners for patient wellness programs. This will make the journey for couples undergoing IVF treatment better in terms of experience and outcomes. 

5. Akshita Gupta, Founder, The Channel 46 & Red Dot Shop

Representing many faces of Indian women is The Channel 46 and the mother company, Anvil Media. Akshita Gupta started the initiative to step away from the usual popcorn, masala content and bring in more knowledge and skill-sharing content.

A Milestone That Made You Proud:

Being able to build a platform that serves as an educational, engaging and elevating space for women. Anvil Media has grown a lot in the past year, and we have received a lot of positive responses from the audience. 

The Ultimate Source Of Support For You:

My father is the ultimate source of support. Although he is a little hard on me, he is always pushing me to do better and dream bigger. He is the one that has always been an emotional supporter for me through my journey of entrepreneurship.

Quote You Live By:

‘Karmanye vadhika raste, Ma phaleshu kadachana’ from the Bhagavad Gita, which translates to ‘You are not entitled to the fruit, you are only entitled to your work. Keeping working and the fruits will follow’. 

This is a mantra that I have lived by, and it has always served me well

A Major Roadblock You Overcame:

COVID 19 hitting the nation right as we launched our website. We launched our website on 8th March, and by the end of the month, we had to go into lockdown. It was a huge roadblock because, in a scenario where established companies were figuring out the WFH method, we were a new company with 4-5 employees. And the road to building a company, platform, team and management structure, virtually has been a struggle. However, I would say that we all have come out of it stronger. 

The Goal You Envision For 2021:

The goal I envision for 2021 is expanding and accelerating towards the growth of the company. It is building the company as one that creates digital-first products for Indian women. Right now, we have two entities, The Channel 46 and Red Dot Shop. I want to expand depending on where we see the need and business opportunity. 

6. Jui Bhansali, Founder, Smudg

All skincare dreams come true with Smudg, a beauty brand that customise skin care product recommendations that suit you. Whether you are a skincare enthusiast, a makeup junkie or just a beauty newbie, with Smudg, you will always get great personalised advice!

A Milestone That Made You Proud:

2020 was hard on many levels. We still went ahead and launched our start-up Smudg. I think that is something that I would want to always remember and celebrate.

The Ultimate Source Of Support For You:

Really difficult to quote just one- my partner, my colleagues, my family, my mentors – all have been phenomenal in supporting me at every stage, anytime I want help.

Quote You Live By:

‘Start where you are. Do what you can. Use what you have’.

A Major Roadblock You Overcame:

Letting one of my first hires go. But as a founder, it’s important to learn when to let go, and collaborate with better, more talented people.

The Goal You Envision For 2021:

We are working hard on building our beauty-tech platform and hope to launch it this year. So that’s one goal we are very excited about!

7. Pallavi Nopany, Founder, Pallavi Nopany Studio

Infusing art with design is what Pallavi Nopany Studio is all about. Pallavi Nopany’s unique sense and appreciation for art and design, changes the way we see the world of branding.

A Milestone That Made You Proud:

Many milestones – Earning enough to sign up for GST, Signing up with Tarun to do his identity, and the next milestone that I look forward to is being able to afford the office of my dreams.

The Ultimate Source Of Support For You:

Personally, my mom and dad. My mom is the most accepting, evolved and carefree person I know and my father supports me financially and morally, whether or not my decisions are wise. Professionally – my uncle Saurabh.

Quote You Live By:

Art is in the way you breathe, you dress, you live, you think, you love. (It goes something like that)

A Major Roadblock You Overcame: 

Illness – I was constantly ill in my early 30s, with sinus issues, aches and pains, thyroid issues. I exercised my way through all of it and built up both physical and mental strength.

A Goal You Envision For 2021:

To expand my mind, heart and bank account. Larger projects, more fab designers to work with me, more skills to learn, more meditation, and hopefully starting a family.

8. Rohini Rajagopalan, Founder, Organise With Ease

Everyone has their own tips and tricks to organise spaces. And this is no different with Rohini Rajagopalan, founder of Organise With Ease, where she channels her inner Monica Geller. Organise With Ease is a professional space management company that declutters spaces it with ease!

A Milestone That Made You Proud:

One milestone that really made us or me proud is getting into a product category. 

The Ultimate Source Of Support For You:

The ultimate support system I have, obviously, my family currently, our team is very small and growing, but your family would be the one to live by. 

Quote You Live By: 

Consistency and small steps every day. 

A Major Roadblock You Overcame: 

I think in 2020, we stopped doing physical work for a very long time. So moving to what we call a virtual console’s online products and our own physical products, I think that was like a big roadblock of adapting and being able to overcome the lack of physical work that we did.

A Goal You Envision For 2021: 

I think it’s just to have adequate tips towards products to make organising fun and easy for an Indian home.

9. Sabrina Suhail, Founder, Tinge

Providing cruelty-free, vegan and natural makeup products is Sabrina Suhail with her brand Tinge. In the field of makeup, Tinge provides safe products for sensitive skin and want to shift towards natural skin care products.

A Milestone That Made You Proud:

That I started a company that I was dreaming of since I was 16. Everything I have done since then has helped shape the person I am today.

The Ultimate Source Of Support For You:

The one person in support of me is my husband. He’s always been there for me and all entrepreneurs have their ups and downs and he’s always motivated me to stay strong. And he’s been my pillar of support.

Quote You Live By:

I would say live and let live and take one day at a time. There’s no point in planning for the future in advance because you never know what’s going to happen.

A Major Roadblock You Overcame:

One major roadblock I overcame is getting my licenses in place, then Covid-19 changing everything and redoing the whole thing again. But it’s much easier this time, considering I’ve done it once before. So live and learn, I guess.

A Goal You Envision For 2021:

My vision for 2021, is to be all over India and is to have every woman own a Tinge lipstick. Also have people be aware of themselves, consciously towards the environment, conscious living, conscious to animals, conscious to the plants and trees and their friends and family around.

10. Jheal Shah, Founder, The Stylease

Buying and owning the trendiest clothes of the season is no longer the only way to be fashionable. Jheal Shah shows us that renting outfits for our celebrations can be just as fashionable while being practical and sustainable.

A Milestone That Made You Proud:

Starting my first company when I was 18. It was in event management, and now when I look back I realise how that experience has shaped so much of my thought process in my 20’s.

The Ultimate Source Of Support For You:

My sister. No matter what I want to do, she always supports me while giving me frank unbiased advice at the same time which I really appreciate.

Quote You Live By:

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

A Major Roadblock You Overcame:

Funding issues for my current startup – The Stylease. Raising outside funding is not easy and bootstrapping is equally hard. We’ve been bootstrapped for almost 4 years now. 

A Goal You Envision For 2021:

To take The Stylease to bigger and better heights. To dress some of the top stars in the country in our clothes and be known for trendy outfits.

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