Life as a mother is like being on a constant roller-coaster ride, and more so if you are a working mother. But the exhaustion of having to take care of a new-born or a toddler while working a full-time job is surprisingly similar to that of entrepreneurship, many say. Yet, more and more women – including new mothers - are starting up, in a bid for independence and financial security.
As the Kangana Ranaut-starrer Bollywood film Panga, which focuses on encouraging mothers to pursue their passion, is making waves, MAKERSIndia takes a look at a few women who embraced entrepreneurship while handling motherhood.
Mumbai-based Harvi Shah, a computer engineer-turned-entrepreneur, launched her startup - Bling Bag - during her final month of pregnancy, in 2015. The ecommerce platform follows a subscription model for jewellery.
“I believe I have twins - Bling Bag and my son - who require my equal attention for their right growth. With determination and the help of my supportive husband and a domestic help, I do justice to both with no compromises,” she has said.
Harvi has 11 years of work experience, including five as a business consultant at CTS. But building a team without external funding was extremely difficult. “In the early days, I used to take breaks from feeding my newborn baby and utilise the time to pack the boxes for the customers,” Harvi has stated.
Having spent more than a decade at companies like Skype and Gumtree, Suchi Mukherjee launched Limeroad, an e-commerce platform for fashion and lifestyle accessories, in 2012. Suchi conceived this idea when she was on maternity leave and took on the challenge of entrepreneurship while taking care of two young children.
An alumnus of St.Stephen’s College, Delhi; and the University of Cambridge and London School of Economics, UK; Suchi was voted in 2010 as one among the 15 women from across the world in ‘Rising Talent – Global Leaders Under 40’ at the World Women’s Forum.
Suchi’s Gurgaon-based startup has raised institutional funding from prominent venture capital firms like Matrix Partners, Lightspeed ventures, and Tiger Global.
Anuradha Rao started up in 2016, when she was 33 and a mother of a new born. Having spent more than a decade in engineering and management, this Yale University graduate started up to fill a market need which she realised as a mother.
Shocked by the amount of landfill garbage being generated by one tiny human being in the form of disposable diapers, Anuradha looked for eco-friendly alternatives. But once she found that the local market provided only cloth nappies (which are too messy to use) or imported cloth diapers which are too expensive, she decided to find a solution both in terms of performance and affordability.
Named Bumpadum, the startup provides reusable cloth diapers. Like disposable diapers, they are leak-proof and keep the baby dry, and can be used over 100 times, over two-three years.
In 2014, as a new mother to her then-six-month-old baby, Gurgaon-based Nidhi Yadav founded AKS, a contemporary ethnic wear brand. Since then, Nidhi has grown the brand to one of India’s most popular women’s fashion brand across retail and ecommerce platforms such as Flipkart, Myntra, and Jabong.
The Computer Science graduate had earlier worked at Deloitte before pursuing a one-year course in Fashion Buying and Merchandising at the Polimoda Fashion School in Florence, Italy. This landed her a job at Italian fashion brand Emilio Pucci; but soon, Nidhi returned to India, got married, and had a baby.
Now a mother of two, she is supported by her husband Satpal Yadav who joined as a co-founder recently.
In 2015, Namita Saxena started Baby Essentials, a range of clothing made from lab-tested, disposable, and biodegradable fabric for new-born children.
An IT professional herself, she jumped on the entrepreneurial bandwagon after she became a mother herself and realised first-hand how there is an utter lack of such products in the market. Namita has said, “Being a mother is not an easy job for any woman in this world, be it the pre-delivery days or the postnatal period. The most difficult task of them all is protecting the new-born from infections and disease-causing microbes for the first crucial month.”
Baby Essentials products are made from an engineered fabric called Néonatale Tissu, which acts as a barrier to bacterial infection and microbes.