Meet these inspiring women who started their entrepreneurship journeys from their homes with very little investment and are now successful businesswomen.
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Amruta Kamath, Founder and Chef, House of Flavours
It is her passion for cooking that drove Amruta Kamath to start her career as a home chef. She operated from her kitchen at home for two years, serving home-cooked meals to her close circuit of acquaintances and friends. When she realized that people appreciated what she cooked and that her clientele was steadily increasing, she decided to take the next step in her culinary journey. When the lockdown hit, she decided to get better at what she did. She kept inventing and re-inventing dishes to finally find her niche, which is Asian and continental cuisine. She also took a cloud kitchen class to understand how food businesses can create and deliver food products with minimal overheads. After learning the nitty-gritty of the trade, Amruta rented a small kitchen space, hired three sous chefs, and House of Flavours was born! House of Flavours now delivers between Borivali to Andheri, and pan Mumbai, in case of bulk orders.
Sarika Dabe, Founder, Queen’s Products
It all started in 2011 when Sarika, a homemaker from Nagpur, took to grinding spices (garam masala) at home to serve her circle of friends. She then took a step further and began selling the ground spices through WhatsApp groups. Realizing the demand for organic products, she decided to scale up. Sarika approached MIDC for a plot of land, which the govt allots to women entrepreneurs at a subsidized rate. The land was allotted, but she didn’t have the collateral to apply for a bank loan. Sarika then turned to National Industrial Corporation to apply for a 35% subsidy on the overall loan for women entrepreneurs. After four years of running around, there was still no luck. It was at that time that she introduced turmeric to her product line. The introduction of turmeric was a game-changer for her business. The turmeric that she was selling had a curcumin level of 10% - much higher than most organic turmeric found in the market. Sarika got her turmeric certified by the Spice Board of India. It soon turned out that there was a higher demand for turmeric than garam masala. The next product to join the portfolio were chillies. The spices now began to be sold under the brand name Queen’s Products. Queen’s Products now sells its spices in the wholesale market to hotels like The Taj Group, Radisson Blu, among others. Thus, from an initial investment of Rs 1500, the company has now scaled up with a turnover running into crores. As for Sarika, she now conducts training programmes at MIDC for young entrepreneurs to help them start their business from the ground level.
Ishika Sahaani, Founder, Fayola
As they say, "Follow your passion, and you will not have to work a single day in your life." For Ishika, a media professional, her favourite pastime was creating hair bands and little accessories from leftover dress material. This was her way of connecting with her creative self. Ishika used to gift these hairbands to young girls from her society and friends on special occasions. Such unique pieces made heads turn. Soon, she started receiving a lot of inquiries for the creation of hairbands, especially as giveaways or birthday return gifts. Seeing the demand for these products, Ishika decided to turn her pastime into a full-fledged business. That's how Fayola was born! She then employed two ladies, who worked as domestic help, to assist her in creating hairbands. Business within India was growing well – initially, she found her clientele through Facebook and WhatsApp groups. Being from the television industry, her products attracted the attention of many TV celebrities as well. With a few of her clients also being social media influencers, Fayola became the brand to reckon with for hair accessories. After tasting the success of her brand within India, she decided to explore opportunities globally as she realised that there was a big market for her products all over the world. She listed her products on Etsy.com – a global online marketplace for handmade products. Since then, there has been no looking back. With hair accessories becoming so popular, Ishika is now looking to diversify into newer products like handbags, belts and sandals.
Nazneen Patel, Founder, Vermillion India
Actor-turned-entrepreneur Nazneen Patel always had a fetish for large-sized genuine leather bags. Given that India is one of the biggest exporters of leather globally, Nazneen decided to visit the leather market in Dharavi, Mumbai, to explore the prospects of designing such leather bags. During one such trip, she managed to find a good craftsman who agreed to make a couple of leather bags based on her idea for personal use. These were exclusively designed pieces for men and women. When she and her husband began using these bags during their social visits and at work, they fetched a lot of compliments. This was when they realised a huge market out there waiting to consume such leather bags. Apart from the large size, the other USP of these bags was the leather's colour and texture. These bags were made in a particular metallic finish, which was not easily available in the market. Realising the potential and the demand for such unique bags, a business idea to create exclusive leather handbags for men and women was born. The brand was named 'Vermillion'. Nazneen was then joined by her sister Nilufer to bring this business to fruition. Initially, they did a photo shoot using one of their friends as a model to pose with their bags. These pictures were uploaded on their Instagram page, which found significant followers and customer inquiries.
Given that they were on a shoestring budget, Nazneen and Nilufer felt they needed to find the right source for the material at a better price. After a lot of research, they zeroed in on Chennai and Bengaluru to source the material. So, they made frequent trips to the two cities to get the material. Nazneen would then create unique designs, which their craftsman finally gave shape in Dharavi. Soon they realised that they should not limit their products to India alone. The products were listed on Etsy.com – an online marketplace for handcrafted products. The handbags were well received in the international markets, the US and Canada, in particular. In the near future, Vermillion is looking at venturing into modern lifestyle clothing as well. This clothing range will be unique masterpieces – one of a kind, which will never be remade.
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First Published: Oct 26, 2021 12:07 PM IST
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