It goes without saying that moms have the best ideas. Always! Well, almost always. This Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating mompreneurs who’ve turned their ideas into thriving businesses. A boss at home and a boss at work, these female entrepreneurs cum mompreneurs have had to overcome a bucket list of obstacles to get where they are.
1. Harshita Shakalya, Founder of Prana Superfoods
The Business Idea: The idea behind Prana Superfoods came to Harshita about 5 years back, when she had moved to a forest to run an eco-resort while raising her little boy who was all of 8 months then. She had just left behind her comfortable city life and a career as the Director of a design firm and event planning company. Moving closer to nature helped her reconnect with her roots and see the reality of so-called progressive lifestyles that wreak such havoc on our health as well as on nature. It was at the eco-resort that she realised she was sitting on a gold mine of traditional Indian superfoods. She came across a whole range of ingredients that she had not seen in the city. Upon research, she discovered that these ingredients are nutrition powerhouses and just what city folks need to aid their healthy lifestyle.
What The Brand Offers: Prana Superfoods now offers naturally made condiments, forest honey, tisanes (herbal teas) and spice blends. The objective behind Harshita’s brand is to make it easy for the busy city consumer to choose convenience as well as health. Products like moon milk (an ayurvedic recipe for a good night’s sleep), and imbued forest honey are among the brand’s bestsellers. Their rustic pickles and tisanes, crafted using locally grown produce, come a close second. Currently, Prana Superfoods retails directly through its website but Harshita plans to collaborate with health and wellness stores in the near future.
Juggling Mom Life & Work Life: After living in the forest for over 7 years, Harshita believes that all life can be summed up in one word—balance. As a mompreneur, she believes that a mother’s challenge lies in doing justice to her kids as well as her work. The juggling can take its toll if she does not find that balance.
Her primary reason behind leaving the city was to find more time for her child (now children). While work gives her purpose, being her own boss gives her the freedom to design her day—making time for kids and working, in the right balance. For her, mompreneurs are in a very special position to teach their kids on the go, raising them to be confident and independent like themselves.
Advice For Mompreneurs: “Watching someone else’s career trajectory can make women feel a myriad of emotions. So, don’t compare yourself to others. Take that plunge, however big or small it may be. Focus on finding a reliable team to support work and home because letting dreams die a silent death is so not worth it!“
Checkout Prana Superfoods
2. Payalh Agarwwal, Founder of Chaiom (Zolina Express Private Limited)
The Business Idea: Born in a small tea-growing hill station called Mungpoo in Darjeeling, West Bengal, Payalh Agarwwal believes she has more tea in her blood veins than blood itself! According to her, her birthplace is a God-gifted cue for the idea behind her tea company, despite her family not being even remotely associated with this beverage. Her son, Romharsh, dropping out of college for a year because of pandemic-driven visa issues gave her the opportunity to include him in her business. It’s because of his efforts that the idea behind her soon-to-be-launched tea tech platform, LYFESPIRIT, came into being.
An undergraduate, who is an IIMB alumnus, Payalh envisions a life for women where making tea in the kitchen is no longer the sole purpose of their existence. Her trip to Europe gave her exposure to the western culture where tea is considered to be a medicinal herb as opposed to the Indian concept of it being a mere everyday drink due to its availability in abundance.
This is how the journey of Zelena Tranquilitea, now known as Zolina Express, began in April 2017. It is a startup that aims to promote Indian teas, catering to varied needs from A to Z and back to A. The idea behind the whole setup is to enlighten the consumer about the benefits of tea and honey, thereby, encouraging them to adopt a healthier lifestyle and well-being. With CHAIOM being the main brand, she now also spearheads LYFESPRIT, which she has co-founded with her son. Tea blended with the right herbs harmonises all elements, which is the essential force of life. She rightly points out that diseases are a sign of disharmony that thwarts the body’s natural healing abilities. But the right herbs, blended in your daily cuppa, can bring about natural healing.
What The Brand Offers: The brand carries more than 160 varieties of tea blends comprising unique ingredients which cater to different segments relating to health and wellness. They also offer custom tea blends that can be made to order. The price range is between Rs 240 and Rs 2,000, depending on the product. You can place your order on the brand’s official website, Amazon or Facebook.
Juggling Mom Life & Work Life: For Payalh, with a vast entrepreneurial experience of over 23 years, being a mompreneur is a bigger blessing than being a mom. She cannot emphasise enough how it has made her life better and more worthy. Being a 40-year-old single mom to her 19-year-old son, she struggled to bring food to the table in her early 20s, when her friends were enjoying life. Back then, she was oblivious to the fact that she was on her entrepreneurial path because it was still an alien concept in the small town where she lived. Her challenge was not motherhood or a business venture. It was society guilt-tripping her into believing that she wasn’t devoting enough time to her toddler. She believes the best entrepreneurs are mompreneurs because multi-tasking is intrinsic to a mom.
Advice For Mompreneurs: “You can have it all through smart planning, just not all at once. Hence, giving, striving, having patience and resistance hold the key to making it big. What’s more, having a child should not be a deterrent for starting a new venture because, for a mother, her child will always remain a child. Running a business does not take away from it.“
Know More About Payalh Agarwwal
3. Sneha Kariwala, Co-Founder of Gatim
The Business Idea: Sneha did her Fashion Designing at the National Institute of Fashion Technology. She started her brand with guidance from her brother who has a lot of experience in the retail segment. During the pandemic, Sneha piloted her apparel business selling quality day-to-day womenswear at affordable price points. It was then that she realised that there were many takers and that her business had a lot of potential.
What The Brand Offers: A range of modern ethnic wear for the new Indian woman. Gatim apparel is made from breathable fabrics with unique designs, vibrant colours and prints. The brand’s cotton kurtas are their bestsellers, priced as low as Rs 700 for a kurta. Their collection goes up to Rs 2,000, putting the brand in the affordable category. Gatim apparel is available on the brand’s own website, and Shop TC46.
Juggling Mom Life & Work Life: For Sneha, one common aspect of being a mom and an entrepreneur is that it requires patience and is complex. Her experience tells her that raising children is joyful, but it’s also heart-wrenching in ways she could never have imagined. Just like there is no playbook for being a mother, there is certainly no playbook for how to balance being an effective mother and entrepreneur. Her personal battle lies in the guilt that comes with prioritising time between her family, home and her organisation. The range and depth of emotions that mom entrepreneurs feel are like an insurmountable burden.
But, being an entrepreneur while being a mom has lots of upsides too for Sneha. Pursuing a set of goals aligned with a passion inspires her to be a better mom. What’s more, a purpose outside being a mother gives her energy and insight into her role as a mom. Being a mom also fuels her desire to pursue her entrepreneurial passion. The mental energy from performing the entrepreneurial role sustains her to fill the role of a mother. She has discovered that the two roles are complementary and have a magical chemistry of energy and excitement.
Sneha believes that a person’s work is their identity. A true feeling of accomplishment is not possible without work. It has always been important for her to see her daughter identify both parents as working professionals. That would instil the thought in the little child that no parent’s time could be taken for granted and that both are equals. It would also expose her to the thought that there is more to life outside of the house, and what it really means to pursue one’s individual interests and passions to realise life’s purpose.
Being both a mother and an entrepreneur has been a struggle for Sneha on most days but she understands that there is a lot of value in embracing it. The commitment to something that takes work and seeing it through to the very end brings immense personal growth. The work, the stress, and the struggle are difficult to cope up with when she experiences it. But it’s an exhilarating feeling for her when she comes out successful on the other end of it, after having created something spectacular and tangible.
Advice For Mompreneurs: “Have patience and believe in yourself. It took us quite some time to monetise, but what helped me is going slow! I didn’t rush into doing anything! Also, being both a mother and an entrepreneur can feel like a struggle on most days; but don’t fight it, embrace it. Committing to something that takes work and seeing it through to the very end brings immense personal growth. The work, the stress, and the struggle are difficult to cope with but it’s an exhilarating feeling when you come out successful on the other end.”
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