Juggling motherhood and a career is exhausting in itself. But for women running businesses, the path can be tougher because entrepreneurship rarely comes with the benefit of a 9-to-5 routine.
Vinita Dubey, founder of Bleucoin, a decal store on Etsy has been setting examples for new mothers by taking her 18-month-old daughter with her for all business meetings. An alumnus of the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi and the London College of Fashion, Vinita (33) never let motherhood be an obstacle.
Founded in 2013, Bleucoin is the first online tile decal shop and has built a loyal clientele across more than 72 countries.
‘It’s all about planning’
When new mothers turn the ignition on their careers, an influx of judgmental comments is inevitable. Vinita too was not spared of this and was subjected to unsolicited questions and unwanted opinions.
She says, “It is easy to make one feel guilty. I knew my priorities – both my baby and my business needed me and I wasn’t going to compromise on either. That is why I decided to take my daughter along with me for work. The good thing is that people have started accepting that if a mother is working, her child should be accommodated.”
Explaining how she struck the perfect balance between entrepreneurial and motherly responsibilities, she says, “I am a firm believer in the magic of structured planning. I plan my days in advance. I have a journal where I note down everything about my daughter and I know what she will need if I am taking her with me. Support systems make a lot of difference – for instance I take my babysitter with me to meetings and I also factor in her comfort and her requirements. My husband has also joined my business and we take turns to look after my daughter.”
Besides time management, breastfeeding is a common concern for women with infants. The time taken for a woman to restart her career after a maternity break is closely linked to her baby’s dependence on breast milk. Most public spaces remain devoid of facilities where women can comfortably breastfeed making it impossible for new mothers to join work until their babies have been weaned off.
For Vinita, breaking free from the conditioning that stigmatizes breastfeeding helped her immensely: “I have never felt conscious of breastfeeding my child even if there were 10-20 people in the room. It’s the most natural thing to do. In fact, I remember having taking my daughter to a conference of Etsy sellers. I took a break during the meeting, stepped away from the table and breastfed my daughter.”
The Accidental Inception of Bleucoin
Interestingly, Vinita used to work as a designer at export houses earlier, and entrepreneurship was never on the cards. She elaborates, “I lost my father when I was 14 years old. We had our fair share of financial difficulties but my mother did not let that hamper mine and my siblings’ education. Owing to all this, I was never enamoured by the prospect of running a business. I used to have this notion that you need a strong financial backing to run a business and I did not think I could do it.”
However, fate had other plans for her. In 2012, Vinita moved in with her then boyfriend (now husband) Sumit Dubey in a rented apartment in Bengaluru. She narrates, “Sumit had wanted to start a business; but I was not too keen. One day, in a bid to beautify the kitchen of our apartment I decided to put decals on it. (I have had the habit of beautifying my surroundings as a child and I could not stand the sight of the kitchen tiles as they looked hideous.) And since it was a rented apartment, I could only cover it with decals.”
Decals are patterned premium quality vinyl stickers which can be peeled and pasted on kitchen, bathroom, floor tiles, glass, metal, granite surfaces and look like real tiles. People who saw Vinita’s decal started asking where she got them from, and she found her business idea then.
Currently, Vinita designs the pattern at her studio and the printing is done by a third party. She says, “We are planning to get our own printing facility. All the raw material is imported from South Korea.”
That Bleucoin has employed four unprivileged women is another example of her desire to be a changemaker. “They have learnt basic computer skills and have become quite skilled at handling orders. I want to continue hiring underprivileged women in the future,” she signs off.
(Edited by Athira Nair)