In India the concept of Mother Entrepreneurs (Indian mompreneurs ) is gaining ground, along with the phenomenon of entrepreneurship itself.
Mothers in India have emerged as a force to reckon with in every possible field and are forging ahead with confidence.
Most of these women entrepreneurs have gained the requisite experience in a corporate environment and feel the need to establish their own small or medium enterprise.
Some of these women are mothers who wish to be their own boss, and manage their lives on their own terms. Indeed, it is time to make way for Mompreneurs!
Sharing 7 Indian Mompreneurs experiences and story here in this post.
Suchi Mukherjee – LimeRoad
Before Suchi Mukherjee moved to India and set up ecommerce fashion website LimeRoad, she was involved in scaling up technology businesses in the UK, having held top jobs at eBay, Skype and Gumtree.
LimeRoad was the inception of an idea that came to the former investment banker after the birth of her son Aadit, when she was on maternity leave. “Flipping through the pages, I found a piece of jewellery I really wanted to touch and buy.
I realised then there was no place where one could access the vast array of amazing products that were being made and shipped out of India,” recollects Mukherjee. With the idea in place for a women’s online lifestyle platform, the challenge of turning entrepreneur with two young children to take care of had just started.
From leaving behind her son (now 5) who was a few months old and daughter Myra (now 10) in London with her husband, and travelling every month to India for 15 days, it was a tough year for the family. “On moving to Delhi, I chose to live as close as possible to my nearest family. And I traded off putting my kids to bed with spending time with them in the morning,” she says, adding that she is blessed with a highly supportive husband, parents and in-laws.
And while she knows that there are many ‘mom things’ she obviously misses in trying to be a successful entrepreneur, being a parent, on the other hand, gives her an enormous corpus of learning on dealing with people.
Meena Bindra – Biba Apparels
Meena Bindra was not the typical navy officer’s wife even when she started a small tailoring outfit for women’s garments from her Mumbai home when her husband had a posting there, way back in 1988.
“I was married at 19 and a homemaker till my older son Sanjay went away to a boarding school and the younger one Siddharth turned seven.
But I had seen the opportunity for women’s north Indian ethnic wear in the market and liked to dabble in good design. With both my sons away in school during the day, I took the plunge and started Biba,” reminisces Bindra, who is now 71.
Even today, as chairperson of Biba Apparels, a company with an annual sales turnover of Rs 650 crore, Bindra gets involved in designing various lines that the company launches every season. Back in the late ’80s, Bindra had started with a Rs 8,000 bank loan. “I started with designing and getting 40 salwar suits tailored, and sold them from my home. What helped me was that I had no sales targets to meet.”
That she was available for her sons when they needed her and that her customers were women who came to her home helped. Today, Biba has emerged as a market leader in the women’s ethnic wear market, with her son Siddharth, 40, at the helm as managing director. In 2013, Warburg Pincus and Faering Capital picked up a 25.8% stake in the company.
The company and brand have obviously grown way beyond Bindra could have dreamt of way back in the 1990s. But even today the mompreneur in her has a simple mantra. “Across India, north, south, east and west, women have come to accept Indian ethnic suits as their preferred mode of dressing, whether at work or leisure and celebrations. With our mix and match range, we are adding western elements to our design and reaching out to younger clients,” she says.
Garima Satija – PoshVine
When Garima Satija gave up a cushy HR job at 26 to set up a concierge service for experiences ranging from fine dining to adventure sports in 2011, she was trying to fill in a gap for such information that many of her friends had spoken to her about.
“PoshVine started from our own need to discover unique foodie experiences in our leisure time. We started by aggregating premium restaurants and chefs willing to create unique activities, and later extended to other categories as well,” she says.
Now the site, which has been extended to six more countries besides India, helps people and companies to create experiential packages directly on the site.
Balancing work and family was tough to start with since her husband Richik was building up his own startup Cloudaria, an intelligent content curation and publishing platform. However, when her daughter Aria was born 14 months back, Garima faced the real mompreneurial challenge.
“Now I have to enforce a few rules to ensure that I spend quality time with my child. It is a demanding schedule, especially when our company is on an upswing, and the team is growing,” she says. The rules that she sets for herself include meticulous daily planning so that she can be back home by 7.30 in the evening and switch off from work till her baby sleeps.
“Easier said than done, given that my husband is also an entrepreneur; it makes things doubly difficult,” she says. There’s a great deal of support coming in both from her team members at work and family.
“Our parents take turns to spend time with us taking care of my daughter. There is always a grandparent at home looking after my daughter,” she says.
Rebekkah Kumar – FourSeven
Rebekkah Kumar decided to take time off from high-profile corporate career — having worked at Microsoft for nine years — when she moved to India with her husband and children in 2006. “I wanted to spend time with my young children Armaan  and Simran ,” she says.
Unsurprisingly, the engineer and MBA was soon restless and mompreneurship offered the solution. “I have been passionate about jewellery since childhood and I have a collection from around the world.
Having lived in India for eight years, I saw a definite market opportunity for a line of contemporary, modern lightweight jewellery for global Indians,” says Kumar, who launched fourseven.in, an online jewellery store, in early 2014. It was a platform for her to blend some of her designs with her love for Indian culture and also to explore the ecommerce market which she feels is “exploding in India”.
Even though many people initially thought that as a woman and a mother she would be running a ‘hobby business’, nurturing her startup is an uphill task, and she likes to think of it as her baby. “My husband, children and family have all been very supportive. They understand when I have to work long hours or when I need to travel,” she says. She makes sure to spend quality time with her children everyday — from reading to them to letting them teach her the latest game on the phone or helping with their homework. She feels that having been a ‘hands-on mom’ for years as a business professional, she understands the balancing act.
Being a mother helps her to engage better with customers, reckons Kumar, since the target group for her products ranges from young girls to grandmothers. “I also think that being a woman and a mother prepares us for relationship management, which is the make or break of any small business,” she adds.
Mani Pavitra Pampered Moms
Mani Pavitra is a serial entrepreneur who began as an orthodontist at Hyderabad’s KIMS Hospital and was part of the team that set up dental clinics in 2010.
When the opportunity presented itself to become a partner in the prestigious Jubilee Hills Clinic she jumped at it, finally acquiring the entire stock in 2012 and going on to create her first brand Dentist N Dontist.
She didn’t stop there. “Soon after that, I was pregnant and realised that there was nothing available in Hyderabad in terms of pregnancy education. I got certified as a lamaze instructor and that’s how Pampered Moms was born,” she says.
Now the operations cover the entire gamut of pregnancy fitness, from dancing and fun sessions for pregnant couples to postnatal weight loss and lactation consultation, all under one roof.
Her newest venture is Pampered Kids, a children’s play zone and birthday party and activity centre.
“I have immense support from my husband Pradeep Yarlagadda, who runs a green business, and my mother,” says Pavitra. Pavitra reckons that if she hadn’t been a mother she may have well not been an entrepreneur.
“I was best positioned to understand the gaps in the market and feel that my mompreneurial ventures helped to fill out those gaps.” She adds that as a mother and business woman, she has the best of both worlds.
Family time for her has rubbed off on her leadership and communication skills. “I never forget that unless I can look after the needs of my own family, I will never succeed as an entrepreneur who has to meet and interact with so many different people and adapt to their needs.”
Shalini Vij – Hang Out
Shalini Vij has no problems in admitting that her sons Sahil, 18 and Shiven, 11, inspired her to make a foray into the family entertainment business.
We moved back to India after living in the US for 14 years and I found no places to spend quality and family time with my kids. We missed the play areas, well maintained playgrounds, entertainment centres and gaming zones of America,” says Vij.
That’s how the idea of Hang Out, a family entertainment centre, was born. Vij’s company runs two such play areas for babies, toddlers, tweens, teens and parents — one at the Select Citywalk mall in Delhi and the other in DT Mega Mall in Gurgaon.
“I depend on my multitasking skills to run the business which has now scaled up. But I will never compromise on my quality time with my children; they’re definitely my priority, even if it means juggling between work and household responsibilities,” says Vij.
That she handled a job in the US for 23 years, before moving to India, obviously helps her now in managing the growing business.
But she is dependent on her husband Sundeep for support. “He is from a very different industry sector (manufacturing), but has always motivated me about my passion project and even educates himself about the entertainment industry.”
Even as Vij educates herself about international standards in child and family entertainment trends, she has to often cut back on family vacations and limit social outings. “But the good thing is that my kids are involved in my work and go through catalogues, videos of games and sometimes even travel with me,” she says.
The family spends Friday nights together and Sunday brunches are with extended family and grandparents for Vij’s sons. And she firmly believes that mompreneurs like her often go that extra mile to ensure that they don’t neglect their children because they are working.
Suman Dash Vastradi
When Suman Dash, an electronics engineer, had to quit her corporate job in 2010 as a new mother, she didn’t give up her career hopes. “My husband Vinay Jaiswal, also an engineer, inspired me to start something of my own and follow my dream of helping people in need,” she says.
That was the beginning of her company Vastradi, through which she started selling ethnic Sambalpuri sarees directly from the craftsmen or karigars through various exhibitions and social networking sites, having invested only a few hundred rupees to begin with.
“People loved the collection and then we also introduced Indian handcrafted jewellery which was also an instant hit.
In our first week of operations, we started exporting to various countries around the globe. People loved the ease with which they could buy jewellery at great prices,” says Dash.
For Dash, whose husband too joined her a year and a half back, Vastradi is an opportunity to bring together her love for ethnic art and craft and her IT skills to support low-income Indian craftspersons.
Dash recently also co-founded Pitaara, an exhibition and event group for mompreneurs who need support and a platform to showcase their works or newly formed businesses to a wider audience.
Along with the online store, Vastradi also has an offline studio in Gurgaon for fashion jewellery. The challenge so far has been in getting the business model right and connecting with reliable vendors even while gathering customerpreference data.
“There are many lessons which motherhood has taught me which I bring to my business as well. Time management and working smart are a few examples,” says Dash. “Vastradi was my brainchild but it wouldn’t have been possible without a strong support system. My husband believed in my dreams and has always been a mentor and my baby girl is super in understanding that her mother has to work,” she adds.
Many women in India are becoming entrepreneurs, but it is noteworthy that a large numbers of them are mothers. A SHEROES Report on Women at Work, India 2014 shows that mother consitute 11 percent of all women entrepreneurs in the country.
A homemaker turned entrepreneur Tanya Narayan training students in art and craft in Visakhapatnam.
Making the most of summer vacation, the city-based mompreneurs say that the platform not only helps them bring out their creative best but also allows them to work at their convenience.
Though the concept of work from home has gained prominence in the recent years, moms say that it helps them in redefining their career path by engaging themselves in a line they are passionate about.
Taking care of three children topped the priority list for Tasneem Khorakiwala all through her life. Yet she could steal some time to do something she is very fond of.
“My passion for silk painting drove me to experiment with innovative ideas. That’s how my brand Tasneem.K came into existence giving way to new formats of steamed silk fabric creations such as bags, table runners and lehenga and kurta borders,” she says.
Considering her erratic domestic demands, Tasneem says that stepping out of her home for a 9-5 job is a distant dream and that her year-long venture is not only financially rewarding but also gives her immense satisfaction.
Today, Tasneem’s Facebook page is flooded with orders from Coimbatore, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Mumbai.
Art and craft training
For a homemaker turned trainer Tanya Narayan, art and craft is something that helps her align her body and mind. She has embarked on a journey that inspires her to unleash her creativity.
“More importantly, my world changed after I got into this colour-dabbing training session. Besides convenience, I could grab some me-time regularly and not just confine to household chores. This apart, spending quality time with the little ones wielding the brush and palette rejuvenates me to a great extent,” says Tanya, a mother of two children.
Her cosy apartment in MVP Colony turns into a mini school in the evening as children of all age groups try to explore new painting techniques including pot painting, blow painting, thread painting, dot painting and bubble-wrap painting.
This story is first published at Economics Times and we had republished this to promote and motivate Women Entrepreneurs ( Specially Mompreneurs in India ).
We would like to hear your comments. Please do share so that it can motivate more Indian Mompreneurs to start.