Women Entrepreneurs - Start-Up India


4 women visionaries revolutionizing Women Entrepreneurship in India

Women Entrepreneurs in India and their impact on society


Four women, four unconventional business categories, four visionaries. What they have in common is the power to change and the passion to make the world a better place for a million others.


Women entrepreneurs and their increasing footprint in India have significantly influenced the social and economic demographics of the country. Women with their dominant leadership skills are pioneering new-age industries like Wellness, Beauty, Footwear, and Entertainment where almost 80% are women employees because of their high precision work and better productivity levels. Their attitude towards work commitments and exceptional business skills have emphasized the importance of women in the modern workforce. In India, 40% of the start-ups are run by women, of which over 50,000 are now recognized by the govt. Last year the govt. Increased the budget for Women and Child development by 14% in 2021, setting aside over US$ 3.97 billion) in FY21. This allocation also includes various women development schemes like Bharatiya Mahila Bank Business Loan, Dena Shakti Scheme, Women Entrepreneurship Platform (started by Niti Ayog), Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.

Source: indiaeducationdiary.in, https://www.ibef.org/


In the coming decades, over 30 million women-owned businesses are expected to provide 150-170 million jobs by 2030 revolutionizing the Indian women workforce potential and making the economic outlook reflect much brighter.


As a prelude to this International Women’s Day on March 8th 2022, TLI is profiling these extraordinary women who have chosen work that contributes to the growing field of lifestyle & luxury and inspire millions of other women who aspire to be.

1. Sana Dhanani - Founder of The White Door India

For Sana Dhanani, a young passionate spa connoisseur, with her roots in Dubai, her project “The White Door” stands for purity, hygiene, transparency and perfection redefining the way the city views premium care. She brings the finest of bespoke curated beauty and wellness experiences from across the globe to Mumbai. Being equally conscious of environmental wellbeing and sustainability with the use of the best naturally sourced ingredients and impeccable attention to customer delight.


We at TLI got talking to the young entrepreneur on her thoughts this women’s day. Excerpts from the interview are below :


- How is it being a women entrepreneur?


I feel extremely privileged to be in a position to own and run my own business from the get-go. However, It's not been without its challenges but with years of experience and my travels around the world, meeting new people, forming new perspectives, I am able to bring that confidence and tact to whatever I do. Women often tend to question themselves and are self-critical, which I believe is our downfall. I think women of today should speak their minds and work towards their dreams, without hesitation.


- What was your vision when you decided to start The White Door?


With the White Door, we wanted to introduce a brand that imbibed the global standard of beauty, hygiene, technical knowledge, and high-quality services and products. Our aim was to redefine what a luxury spa establishment looked like, which wasn't a part of a five-star hotel. We found that there was a huge gap in the market between your neighborhood spa and a dermatologist. We believe with this establishment we have been successful in bridging that gap by collaborating with some of the most renowned international technicians and offering services that are backed by skin science and technology.


- What have been the Challenges?


The lockdown was surely one of the biggest hurdles we faced, no one could have anticipated that businesses would come to a complete stand-still like they did and we could only hope that things would get better. When spas and salons were allowed to resume operations at a half capacity, we shifted our focus on home services and that helped us overcome this slack period. Supply chain management has also been a big concern for us.


- What is your advice to other women entrepreneurs?


Stay the course, don't give up when it gets hard. I have learned from experience to do whatever I do to the best of my capacity and then some, and those efforts have always been appreciated. Go by your instinct. Evolution is important. Be bold and be real. Stand by your ideas. Lastly, make sure you’re financially independent.


- What is your view on the growing popularity of celebrating International Women's Day And Do you celebrate it too?


I think women should be definitely celebrated for all the diverse roles they play, as entrepreneurs, sisters, daughters, wives, and mothers. Their ability to balance their personal and professional lives, multi-task, and have the emotional capability to be empathetic and tactful is something that cannot be taught. Yes, I will definitely be celebrating this day with my family, friends, and our beauty community at The White Door. I personally feel that women should be celebrated every day.


2. Astha Suri - Founder & Creative Director, Naso Profumi

Naso, an artisanal perfumery is a pioneer of sustainable green perfumes. With ingredients grown in-house in their distilleries in North India, and herbs and spices being used to make signature fragrances, the brand commits to being socially responsible towards the environment. Their inimitable scents from spicy and earthy to subtle and strong, stay true to the ancient soul of Indian perfumery encouraging a sense of faith and power to those carrying it. Exuding their own energy and vibe.


Astha Suri, the founder and CD at the helm of this venture is a visual artist, born and raised in Lucknow. Identifying this world as her own, an interior architect and fashion stylist by profession, she believesin the freedom of expression and delivering the essence of the rich cultural heritage of India. She began her journey with Naso, the green perfumery in 2020 when she relocated back to India.

Inspired by the knowledge about places, people and their predilections, understanding the need of healing in today’s world, and inspired by the power of fragrance, Astha decided to channel her creativity and leverage her family’s 60-year presence in the perfumery business to create a brand that heightens the sense of self.

This young entrepreneur’s vision is to illuminate as many houses as she can across the globe.

“Everyone should be able to access this luxury and, hence, affordability is what we bring to the table. With Naso, I want to create and reciprocate fond memories by reinventing traditional techniques and serving a global audience with modern sensibilities”.

3. Saanya Sharma, Aashna Lalwani & Sanjana Shah -
Co-Founders, Three Entertainment

The Mumbai-based, women-led start-up, Three Entertainment celebrates five years in the business this coming month. What started out as a passion project for them, has today blossomed into one of the most profitable ventures in their niche space. With a dream and no funding to back them, Saanya Sharma, Sanjana Shah, and Aashna Lalwani started Three Entertainment in 2017 from their homes. They started off small curating events for friends and family and soon expanded their expertise into doing so for luxury brands like The Reliance Group, Four Seasons, Notandas Jewellers, Bastian, Soho House, and Ministry Of Crab, amongst others. Three Entertainment has been the go-to event curator for the who's who of Bollywood, notably the likes of Ibrahim & Sarah Ali Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Anshula & Arjun Kapoor, Pooja Makhija, and Yasmin Karachiwala.


We got talking to Saanya, Business Head and Co-founder of Three Entertainment, on her views for IWD and here are the excerpts from the interview :


- How difficult is it for women entrepreneurs to foray into the events & entertainment industry?


The events and entertainment industry can be extremely intimidating from the outside but once you find your footing and the right collaborators who are able to understand and carry out your ideas, you can really push the envelope. For us, it was all about innovation and how we could make each project unique and memorable.


- The weddings industry is extremely dynamic, what is the most exciting thing about it?


The best part about planning someone's special day, especially their wedding day is to see everything come together on the final day. Things are almost always going to go wrong, get delayed, or even not work out. Till the very last minute, our entire team ensures that we have every last detail in place to ensure a smooth flow of events.


- What have been the Challenges?


Being a part of a young all-woman team is extremely empowering but it is not without its challenges. Unfortunately, at first, we were not taken seriously. We were eager to make our mark but we learned to stand our ground, and slowly but surely, we started developing a reputation in the industry which has allowed us to tick off many clients from our wish list.


- What is your advice to other women entrepreneurs?


Don't let anybody tell you that you can't do something. If you are extremely passionate and driven about something, go after it with blinders on and work at it every single day, success doesn't come overnight.


- What is your view on the growing popularity of celebrating International Women's Day And Do you celebrate it too?


Women should be celebrated for all that they bring to the world, for the longest time men have reaped the benefits and taken up opportunities that women had little to no access but times have changed. This day is a reminder of how far we've come and the distance we have yet to cover.


4. Neha Kumthekar : Co-Founder & Brand Custodian, OCEEDEE

OCEEDEE is a modern Indian shoe brand delivering exquisite and contemporary silhouettes with a strong design DNA, craftsmanship, and a unique ability to 'customize for comfort'. Rooted in the realms of handicraft, they bring designs befitting the feet of the modern Indian woman with a dynamic sense of innovation, impeccable level of quality, and passion for handcrafting each shoe.


Neha as the brand custodian strives towards the ultimate customer satisfaction by sharing ‘The OCEEDEE Experience' with all women. From design to communication she translates her passion and her love for shoes to create an all-round experience for the customer. She moved from Oregon, US back to India to be a part of the start-up movement and bring about a revolutionary change in the Indian footwear industry.


She is also pioneering the space of sustainable footwear space creating products out of materials that are natural or recycled and help in reducing carbon footprint. Creative interventions like making a handcrafted shoe and not stocking up to save any wastage in inventory are some of the initiatives we follow. We control footwear waste by creative techniques like nesting and optimizing the production cycles. It optimizes the process of laying out parts on a flat sheet of material to reduce scrap and minimize wastage in production, using a very limited color palette of leathers that are versatile and used for different collections”, Neha asserts. Their packaging is also 80% plastic-free. They don’t use bubble wrap instead butter paper, dust-bags and seed paper for communication in packaging. They also stress on encouraging responsible disposal of products so that they can repurpose components and donate for a better cause.


Images Credit: Respective Brands

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