Celebrating Women: Today. Tomorrow. Everyday!

At Xoxoday, we get to work closely with so many inspiring female entrepreneurs who are our hosts. As a mark to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017, we got in touch with some of these strong and bold leaders to know their success stories and why they feel that women should consider entrepreneurship as a career option.

Shruti, Teal Door Cafe

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Based out of Indiranagar, Teal Door Cafe is one cafe that works for a noble cause by employing women who have been victims of alcohol and domestic abuse. The cafe that describes itself as a ‘Cafe With a Soul’ trains its employees to become independent and lead a normal healthy life. The other highlight of the cafe is its gorgeous decor that only uses recycled items from furnishing to the flowers on the table.

Check out their story here:

Aditi Balbir, V Resorts

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  • How is entrepreneurship different when it comes to women entrepreneurs? Are there opportunities or challenges that you face because you’re a woman?
    • Answer: I have often been asked this question, and it always catches me by surprise. A woman entrepreneur faces the same challenges a man does. I have never faced the cliches’ attached with male dominance in my industry. I believe and am surrounded by men (in my personal and professional life) who voice the same sentiment – that women need not be conformed to terms such as, feminism etc influenced by certain social movements and ideologies today anymore. I firmly believe that women should have access to money, power, and fame based on their ability alone. They should also be judged on the fair parameters of hard work, intelligence quotient (IQ) and leadership traits. Therefore, I have been evaluated on the same principles as any other person, irrespective of the gender.
  • Do you have a female inspiration and why do they inspire you?
    • Answer: Jane Wurwand of Dermalogica. Her’s is a fairy-tale success story, not because it didn’t have any heartbreaks or roadblocks, but because of the happy ending. She came to America with nothing, and today is a multimillionaire with Dermalogica being the leading professional skincare brand, which is bought by Unilever. What attracts me about her is her belief in her unique idea. She never advertised and is known to never take a loan. She pursued what she believed in despite all odds and personal tragedy. And today, she is working to empower women across the world to be financially independent. Something I identify and feel strongly about too.
  • What are your words to live by?
    • Answer: Lead by example, work hard and your team understands your passions and follows thereon. Also, always have a positive and persevering attitude. Demotivation happens every day, it shouldn’t break you down as whenever you try something new and it doesn’t work, you get demotivated. But then the only thing you do in such moments is getting back on the horse.
  • If there is one thing that makes you passionate towards your work, what would that be?
    • Answer: V Resorts and its growth. I started with a dream, there have been many challenges, roadblocks, and finally we have become the biggest chain of boutique resorts offering experiential stays to leisure travelers across India. This growth story keeps me motivated. I want to make each part of India as beautiful, exciting and pristine as any hamlet and village in Europe. This vision keeps me going. Also, I don’t want to rely on the foreign market but want to create travel best suited for Indians. We aim for not just Make In India but Make For India.
  • Any advice you would want to give to all the budding female entrepreneurs?
    • Answer: Firstly, stop limiting yourself by segregating yourself in genders, you are not a man or a woman. You are a person. Thereon, I would give advice I would give anyone, irrespective of the gender. Do work you are passionate about, that is the only way you will be able to give your all, secondly, work hard, that’s the only way to succeed and inspire people working with you, and be resilient, the road can be hard, decisions can end up not working out, but that’s the time, you need to get back on the horse that you fell from.

To book an experience at V Resort, click here.

Anchal Bhalla, Tastesutra

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  • How is entrepreneurship different when it comes to women entrepreneurs? Are there opportunities or challenges that you face because you’re a woman?
    • Answer: Few challenges, Society not accepting you to be bold enough to do this on your own, so on and so forth.
  • Do you have a female inspiration and why do they inspire you?
    • Answer: Well, I wouldn’t sayI have a female inspiration. My inspiration and the source of my strength is my husband.
  • An instance when you were bold for change in a male dominated world.
    • Answer: Our start-up is one of a kind which has less competition and so it was easy for us to get started and move forward.
  • What are your words to live by?
    Answer: Work hard. There are no shortcuts.
  • If there is one thing that makes you passionate towards your work, what would that be?
    • Answer: Food
  • Any advice you would want to give to all the budding female entrepreneurs?
    • Answer: Be patient with your idea and you will see that success will follow
  • Sucess Milestone
    Answer: I think what makes me feel successful is the fact that people from 82 different countries from across the world have attended our cooking classes in the last one and half years.
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To book an experience with Tastesutra, click here.

Deeksha Bhatia, Swechha India

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  •  Do you have a female inspiration and why do they inspire you?
    • Answer: I am highly inspired by a lot of women in my life. As clichéd as it might sound but the list begins from my mother herself. I hail from a very small town in Haryana. When I stepped out of my home to pursue higher education in Delhi, I started traveling on my own on Haryana infamous Roadways. Every time I would be leaving home to get back to Delhi, contrary to conventional goodbyes, my maa would always see me off with ‘Be Bold’. I choose to believe that’s where my journey of being who I am today started.
  • An instance when you were bold for change in a male dominated world.
    • Answer: As a woman, I feel there are so many instances on a daily basis where we learn to be bold or we have to be bold. It happens all the time, whether you are walking on a lonely street or making your way through a crowded metro. With the kind of set up we live in, it subconsciously becomes a part of us. And it’s applicable to women across cities and backgrounds.
  • What are your words to live by?
    • Answer: There is so much that one lives by. But there is this one little thing I wrote many many years ago and somehow it has stayed with me as a verse as well as a value to live by. Here it goes – ‘Like a bird, let us fly high. And stick to the ground, as we touch the sky’.
  • If there is one thing that makes you passionate towards your work, what would that be?
    • Answer: People. Working with people, especially children is what makes me passionate about what I do. They keep the drama and empathy in you alive and it goes a long way in making you a sensitive individual.
  • 6. Any advice you would want to give to all the budding female entrepreneurs?
    • Answer: As a development professional or a facilitator and sometimes an experiential educator, just a few words of advice without being preachy
      – Put your passion into whatever you do and trust your intuition. Being half-hearted is half spoilt.
      – No matter what you do, remind yourself to stay humble. Humility will never go out of style.

To book an experience with Sweccha Indiaclick here.

Nezlin Noushad, Fabellus 

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  • How is entrepreneurship different when it comes to women entrepreneurs? Are there opportunities or challenges that you face because you’re a woman?
    • Answer: Women find entrepreneurship attractive as much as men do but unfortunately they lack the confidence in their own capacities and skills to consider or get started with it. Even when they do, there is a lot of disparities between a man – owned business and a woman – owned business. Comparatively, Women-owned business tends to have a higher rate of failure. Society norms, family obligations, lack of support and encouragement, difficulty in accessing capital and gaining trust of investors are few of the reasons. A lot of this can be solved through good mentorship. And that according to me was my greatest opportunity. Women struggle to find successful women role models who can help them grow and male entrepreneurs very rarely dedicate their time and effort in mentoring women entrepreneurs. The philosophy of “ït’s not what you know, but who you know” holds very true. When you have a mentor who can back you up and support you and encourage you to take bold business decisions, that’s what solves almost all of the challenges faced. When a woman believes that they have it in them to make it big, that’s when opportunities exist.
  • Do you have a female inspiration and why do they inspire you?
    • Answer: I find inspiration in every woman I come across, who struggle through challenges to stick to their goals and achieve what they want to by creating opportunities for themselves. From young college going girls turning their passion into profits, mothers running small businesses from home to business leaders ruling the industries, when a woman builds castles from bricks thrown at her, there is nothing more inspiring than that.
  • An instance when you were bold for change in a male dominated world.
    • Answer: I come from a conservative middle-class Muslim family in which many of the male members think that women need to be married off soon after their education and that’s what they ultimately have to do. If I had not been bold enough to break the norms and society’s expectations of what I need to do or what path I should choose, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today. Unfortunately, many women think that this can be done only through rebellion which is why they sacrifice their dreams and aspirations. Bringing a change in the society starts from YOU. Change can happen in a positive way through awareness. And that requires constant effort from a very early stage in your life. For me, it started off right when I was in high school. When I wanted to get into Commerce right after my boards because I had set up my mind that I wanted to be an Entrepreneur, and not an engineer or a doctor, it was just too difficult for my parents to accept it as they had other plans for me. Even after my graduation, when I got into this venture, they constantly kept searching jobs at MNCs for me. After constant awareness and educating them about what I am into and what I plan for myself, they are now proud of the person I am today.
  • What are your words to live by?
    • Answer: If you have the will, anything can be achieved with hard work and perseverance.
  • If there is one thing that makes you passionate towards your work, what would that be?
    • Answer: It is undoubtedly the learning and experience I get from the work I do which no book or university can provide. I wake up every day looking forward to learning and doing something new. And that’s what makes me love the work I do. Getting to play multiple roles, doing a lot of different things, the life lessons you get from dealing with people from various backgrounds, are the major factors that make running a business a true thrill.
  • Any advice you would want to give to all the budding female entrepreneurs?
    • Answer: My advice to all the women out there is to be clear and confident about what you want to do in life. And once you are, don’t let any element in your life stop you from doing that. Nobody is great when they start. So don’t let the things that you don’t know, ever scare you. You can always seek help and learn things yourself through the journey. You got to start, to be great. Being a strong, powerful and empowered lady happens from the thought that you are one.
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To book an experience with Fabellusclick here.

Monika Kapoor, Sajivam Wellness

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  • How is entrepreneurship different when it comes to women entrepreneurs? Are there opportunities or challenges that you face because you’re a woman?
    • Answer:  In Indian society, the upbringing of women lead to mindset that we will always prefer to rely on some support system around. We never tried to the best of our potential because our mindset being developed is so prominent that it instills fear in us. My entrepreneurship journey broke my instilled mindset and of many others who are around me. In my stint of entrepreneurship, I have been able to develop trust in my true potential, true sense of self-independence and dare to risk. Margret Thatcher said, ” Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.” Gone are the days when women were considered no match for all powerful men in this world. Today, times have changed and our ecosystem actually helps us to strive harder and achieve bigger. You might find challenges around but they are just in your mind. Beat them out and you will shine.
  • Do you have a female inspiration and why do they inspire you?
    • Answer: My mother, Mrs. Kanta Kapoor is my never-fading inspiration. She was not so fortunate to get formal higher education in her childhood. Ever since, she has motivated me and shown me that it’s just your sincerity and hard work that can make you achieve among better-abled people but with lesser confidence. I have seen her banging the door of senior officials and getting work done where most educated people might not have approached. She has guided me always to perform to the best of my potential with whatever capabilities I have got rather than thinking myself inferior to others around. And nevertheless, she is behind my every success to instill thought in my mind to be a Go-Getter.
  • An instance when you were bold for change in a male dominated world. 
    • Answer: Sajivam’s key area is Sports Enablement in the area of injury prevention and performance enhancement. We like it or not but sports in Sports ecosystem in India is primarily male dominated. So, there was one meeting with giant sports national body where senior officials were not paying any heed that our group was representing and they were just least bothered for the time and effort by our team. In fact, that was not the first meeting I ever had where there was not even a single woman among all men. I took a stand to represent my team’s potential capabilities and handled the entire situation in a much bolder manner that proved to be quite effective to win their trust and business of course. Though, there is always a thin line difference especially for a woman to appear bold and not leaving the elegance at the same time. So, one needs to strike a balance as well.
  • What are your words to live by?
    • Answer: My mentor and strategic partner in business, SK always inspired me and says, “Whatever you do, be different” and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out for sure. He says it doesn’t matter what gender you belong to. At the end, what matters is the idea and how you execute it.
  • If there is one thing that makes you passionate towards your work, what would that be?
    • Answer: Best opportunity to learn about life is through your work. Almost more than 50% of your waking hours get spent at work. Where else one will go to experience true sense of life!
  • Any advice you would want to give to all the budding female entrepreneurs?
    • Answer: Just believe in yourself, and never ever feel that you won’t be able to achieve anything in life just because that you are a Woman. In fact, entrepreneur journey demands you to take risks, being multi-tasker, and definitely, women have got more evolved capabilities to take on that role.

To book an experience with Sajivam Wellnessclick here.

Tusi Chauhan, Blue Whale Water Sports

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  • How is entrepreneurship different when it comes to women entrepreneurs? Are there opportunities or challenges that you face because you’re a woman?
    • Answer: People underestimate women
  • Do you have a female inspiration and why do they inspire you?
    • Answer: Yes my mother, she never gives up, and is always ready take up new challenges.
  • An instance when you were bold for change in a male dominated world.
    • Answer: Long distance sailing where people thinks women will not be comfortable on a yacht
  • What are your words to live by?
    • Answer: Work like a captain play like a pirate.
  • If there is one thing that makes you passionate towards your work, what would that be?
    • Answer: I love the sea and sailing
  • Any advice you would want to give to all the budding female entrepreneurs?
    • Answer: Never give up. 
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To book an experience with Blue Whale Water Sportsclick here.

 

 

 

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