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Women Entrepreneurs

See how motherhood led to the birth of an Entrepreneur. An interview with Dhara Mehta.

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An interview with Dhara Mehta. Founder of The Kids Company.

Tell us something about yourself.

It was 2008, I was a postgraduate, and worked as a media manager in a multinational media house I had a promising career ahead. That’s when I bagged one more qualification, one that needs no college or formal degree, ‘Motherhood!’  From a corporate working woman, I became a stay-at-home, hands-on-mommy, very content with my new responsibility. Little did I know then that the sabbatical taken to enjoy motherhood would eventually turn out to be my final goodbye to the corporate world!

Motherhood for me has been, and still is, an overwhelming experience: I was completely in awe of the wonderful surprises my little K would have for me every day. ‘Get a helper for your son’ was the most clichéd piece of advice given by most of my ‘well-wishers’. However, I decided to go against it. With each passing day, I was convinced of not getting back to the ever-demanding corporate world.  However, the question ‘Where am I heading professionally?’ kept haunting me.

‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work’ – fortunately for me it looked wonderful!

How did you come up with the idea ofThe Kids Company‘?

As my son grew from an infant to a toddler, he and I would often spend our noon’s playing board games or creating ‘robots’ with blocks, or solving jigsaw puzzles! That’s when I picked up a very important insight: ‘play is the work of childhood, and the highest form of education’. This thought that ignited a spark in me: to reach out to pre-primary kids with a service, which would bridge the gap between play and learning. It sounded vague to many but I believed in my dream.

dhara-mehtaI decided to learn everything about child development and care and took up a formal one year course. So strong was my passion for the subject that I topped my batch with a distinction and became a qualified Early Childhood Care and Education Provider. Theory and practical knowledge both complement each other when it comes to learning something new. To gain practical knowledge, when my son turned three, I took up a job in a day-care-activity-center for kids with only one condition from my side, that my son shall accompany me there after his school. These were systematic and planned steps to help me reach my goal.

The formal course and practical experience both reinforced my belief that early childhood education should be filled with lots of enjoyment and play, allowing children to live their childhood to the fullest and not miss out on the most important ingredients of growing up. Working upon this insight, ‘The Kids Company’ was born in 2013.

So what is the USP of The Kids Company?

‘The Kids Company’ is an intelligence building activity centre offering its fun filled and intellectually stimulating program to children between 3 – 7 years of age. We specialize in academic enrichment, brain games, building logical intelligence, instilling creative thinking and teaching through play.

Our program is designed to enable learning through a surprise mix of curated educational games, I.Q. sessions, puzzles, mazes, crosswords and many more brain tickling activities. The activities are aimed at improving the child’s skills related to logical thinking, problem solving, self – management, communication and inter personal skills.

What were the challenges that you faced in your Entrepreneurial journey?

Shifting gears, and industries from being a media professional to an entrepreneur in the education industry, starting my own venture, and raising a child in a nuclear set up needed a lot of self conviction. My journey so far has been fulfilling and an enriching,  along  with some challenges.

I started The Kids Company from my house by dedicating a room for the same. It wasn’t as easy and convenient as it sounds. To have a workspace at home, and with a growing toddler around all the time was taxing and challenging. Setting professional standards and overcoming clients’ (parents’) perception, who would misinterpret it as ‘just another tuition class’ was a herculean task. I’ve made a clear demarcation between my personal and professional space though they co exist in the same premises.

Another challenge was switching between professional and personal roles.A strict routine is needed to strike a balance between professional and personal commitments. Work starts when I kiss bye to my son and my husband at 8:30 am. I have an action packed day, juggling emails, planning sessions, filling up on groceries and all the chores, till 3:00 pm when I make it a point to pick my son from school. It’s child and mom connect time and once he’s settled I shift focus to my second baby! Typically, I wind up my work by around 7 pm and am in mommy mode till I tuck my son in bed!

Also, there are a lot of uncertainties associated when you start your own venture. Initially I got anxious and nervous, but I guess motherhood’s made me stronger, and more open to accept surprises that come along! There have been days when my house help took an unplanned leave, or K’s school declared a half-day, and once my husband ended up with a fracture playing soccer! Nonetheless, my work continued seamlessly.

How would you sum up your journey so far?

It has been an enriching and a satisfying journey so far. The Kids Company has also bagged some awards along the way which has always kept my motivation high and mood upbeat. At the RIVOKIDS Parents and Kids Choice Awards 2015, The Kids Company bagged the best activity centre (pan India) second runner up award. In 2016, we were honored to receive BABYCHAKRA Mom’s Choice Service Certificate in the category activity classes.

Sigining off with the thought, that inspired me in my journey: ‘Organize your life around your dreams – and watch them come true.’

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Business Ideas

11 Small Business Ideas for Women Entrepreneurs

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Small Business Ideas for Women Entrepreneurs

If you are a woman looking to start her own company, you’ll be glad to hear that there are plenty of options out there. However, as starting a business is never an easy endeavour, you need to carefully consider what you would like to do and what you are qualified for. If you are open to going back to school and expanding your skillset, the choices are countless. So, here are some business ideas for women entrepreneurs to get you thinking.

Financial services

If you are good with numbers and happen to have an accounting or bookkeeping degree, the choice seems pretty obvious. You can start a company from home that offers financial services such as producing financial reports, handling payroll, and tracking income. Keep in mind that you will have to familiarize yourself with the best accounting/bookkeeping software if you want to compete with the leaders in the field.

App development

While the tech industry is famous for being dominated by men, if you have a knack for app development, you can still find companies that will love your services. What is more, you can surely find other companies that are run by women that are in search of a woman-led business they can work with. Maybe you have some cool ideas for apps that no one else seems to be producing and the technical knowledge on how to make them, so why not give this a go?

Fashion company

If fashion is your passion, you can think about opening a tailoring boutique. You can do this from the comfort of your home or rent a space where you can fit a sewing machine at the least. Set up a page for your business online and show off your skills and designs. Other than creating pieces from scratch, you can also offer other tailoring services to people.

Online retail

You can also sell your garments purely online. What is more, it doesn’t have to be only clothing. If you are crafty and creative, you can make everything from furniture to various kinds of supplies. Platforms like Shopify are great for newbies as they are easy to use and allow entrepreneurs to reach a bigger audience. This approach is very popular as you get to make what you love and earn money by doing it. Plus, you can do it from home and sell to people from all over the globe.

Public relations

Do you have a way with people? Why not consider opening a company that deals with marketing and public relations? Many businesses out there are in search of a good storyteller that will come up with a truly visionary marketing campaign which will help them reach a brand new audience. On the other hand, with the rise of influencers, more and more people require a publicist. Perhaps you can be the one that helps them out.

Beauty services

If you’re looking for a way to enter the beauty industry, there are many paths you can opt for. Opening your salon where you will offer everything from haircuts to manicures and pedicures to skin treatments is one way to approach this. However, keep in mind that having some sort of degree or certificate to display will help you with attracting customers. If you can’t afford to go back to school, you can look into VET Student Loans or a similar program that can assist you with paying tuition fees.

Law firm

In case you always wanted to help people but you feel like you are not making a difference at your current law firm, you might want to consider starting your practice. When opening a law firm, you should concentrate on the field of law you have the most experience in. However, you can also choose to expand your interests and add another area such as immigration, family, or entertainment law to your offer.

Human resources

Something else you can do if you’re good with people and make connections easily is to go into the HR sector. While some companies decide on having an in-house human resources department, others would rather cut their overhead costs and outsource this part of running a business. This is where you can step in. From hiring and training new staff members to lend a helping hand in resolving various workplace issues, there are plenty of jobs an HR manager handles, so ensure your interpersonal skills are on point.

Content creation

Content creation involves all sorts of jobs you can do online. From writing, editing, and proofreading blog posts to taking photos and creating videos, you can decide what you want to do as companies are always in search of content that will attract an audience. If these things are something you like doing as a hobby, it even means that you will not have to invest a lot in equipment and further education.

Event planning

Women are often lauded for multitasking and managing to accomplish so much in a single day. If this is something you can relate to, perhaps event planning is the career choice for you. For example, you can manage personal events like birthdays and weddings, opt for business events like conferences, or do it all. Proper time management, being able to deal with various vendors, and knowing how to accommodate the many wishes of your clients are the skills that will be necessary for succeeding in this line of work.

Pet grooming

Finally, if you are much better at dealing with animals than with people, you can opt for opening a pet-related business. Pet owners are increasingly in search of groomers for their little furry friends, so consider offering this kind of service. On the other hand, you can go back to school and get your veterinary degree if you want to help pets in need of medical care. Finally, you can even make various kinds of treats or clothing items for pets. Hopefully, these eleven suggestions gave you the boost you needed to start thinking about ideas for starting your own business. Find something you are good at or invest in yourself to become even better and give opening your own company a ch

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Interview

An Interview with Mariana Toncu, Founder of Bestyn, a Social Media App for Neighbors

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Bestyn is a multifunctional app that makes it easy for neighbors to connect, share information, and collaborate. Apart from helping neighbors connect, Bestyn also acts as a marketplace for neighbors located in the same communities and enclaves. Bestyn also ensures that users never miss local events like garage sales, birthday parties, charity events, and more serious community events, like death or accident.

In short Bestyn is meant to change the way communities interact. We recently interviewed its founder Mariana Toncu to know more about the app.

Mariana, Thank you for talking with us. Bestyn has just entered the market. What is your number one goal with this app?

Thanks for having me. Our number one goal is to enable easy connections between neighbors. A lot of apps that are available right now don’t have the ability to use maps tactfully to understand who is around. You may have neighbors with special skills that you are looking for. For instance, they can advise you for free just because they are in your area and they can help you with your needs as a good neighbor. But how do you get to them? This is where our app comes into the picture. Apart from this, we also want to reduce costs for the people in the neighborhood for different tasks. Using our app, people will have to pay less for marketing and advertising which can be really helpful for small businesses.

What were the initial challenges that you faced in your endeavor?

Right now there’s a lot of information everywhere and it’s kind of hard to select the right information and also it’s kind of hard to find the team and explain to build the right app that people can join and stay connected with their community. It’s not that there is a dearth of good people but it’s very hard to put to them to work together for one idea. Moreover, when you are launching a new app, it’s another challenge to find what exactly people are experiencing using your app and what exactly is their feedback about the app.

How and when did you come up with the idea of Bestyn app?

I am an immigrant from Eastern Europe and I came here a couple of years ago. I was stuck when it came to communicating with neighbors and connecting with the community where I’m living. In the market, there are a couple of apps but because they do not have a friendly interface, people don’t want to use them. People want something like easy access and at the same time stay updated with news and post news.

One of the biggest issues in modern day society is the fact that a neighbor does not know his or her own neighbor. How does Bestyn solve this problem and help people connect with their neighbors?

Bestyn has come up with some features that no app has. For example, a user can post events. This, I think is one of the amazing things that the user can share with his community. Another amazing feature is that you can access the map and you can instantly see who is around you and also you can message him and ask for a piece of advice or ask for help.

A lot of features are still under development but we are more than happy to receive the feedback and get more information about what has to be done and what people want from their community and neighborhood.

Bestyn is more than connecting people with their neighbors. Tell us more about those features.

The closest person to your house is basically your neighbor. In case of emergency, your neighbor can be of great help. Your neighbor is around you. By accessing the map you’ll be able to see all your neighbors around you and for safety. For obvious safety reasons, you will not be able to see the exact address of your neighbors. However, your neighbors will be able to know about it. You don’t have to go to their doors and knock them. That’s why you can ask through Bestyn app for advice and help instantly.

App security is a major concern nowadays. What preventive measures have been taken by Bestyn?

It’s true that app security has become a cause for concern. When it comes to Bestyn, you are going to share your address with the app which will help us serve you better, but when somebody will take a look at your profile, they are not going to see the exact address where you are. So the app is going to indicate just the street in the city where you are. Thus your exact location is not going to get divulged.

Also, you will be able to see people in a radius of 10 miles. Thus the concept of neighborhood remains intact.

Which locations do you serve?

We designed this app to cover all areas and countries so pretty much everyone who has a phone and wants to join this community. By joining this app now, you may help other people that will join this app later. We encourage everyone to join this platform and also the people who use this app to invite their neighbors and stay connected during this tough time.

What plans do you have regarding the expansion of Bestyn. Especially during the ongoing pandemic.

Bestyn App is going to come up with more features for the users. It’s going to be hard initially so we are going to first translate our app in the most spoken 15 languages, and bring more features that will reduce the cost of everything from services to ride-sharing, sending money, and just selling products and scaling businesses.

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Interview

Want to know How a 27 Year Old Bought a Beach Lot? Find out in this Interview with Trishie Dela Cruz, Founder of Bride and Rose

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The ongoing pandemic has made things hard for most of the entrepreneurs worldwide. Businesses, big or small, have suffered a lot during this pandemic. However, the situation has opened doors of opportunity for some individuals too. So why wouldn’t we Interview someone who managed to buy a beach lot when many are being forced to liquidate their assets.

Trishie Dela Cruz is one such Entrepreneur who managed to buy a beach lot when many are struggling to pay their bills because of the pandemic. An entrepreneur at heart since her childhood, Trishie is the founder of Bride and Rose. We recently interviewed her to know more about her success and her overall entrepreneurial journey.

Trishie, Thank you for talking with us. Kindly describe your journey as an Entrepreneur so far.

I started being an Entrepreneur way back 2012 and I had 2 careers in 2 different industries before I finally ended up here on the final path that I am already in.

First, I was a full time blogger, I attended events and promoted products, then I had a privilege to do solo traveling, and I loved it so much that I opened up a backpacking Travel agency and became a Travel Expert. I lead team buildings and developed a backpacking prototype.

I lost my time in blogging and focused in traveling the world and running my agency. Unfortunately, competition became very high and travel deals became lower and lower that it was hard for me to compete anymore. The stress that the business gave me was not worth it. When my husband and I moved to a house from a condominium, we bought tools such as circular saw and built our own furniture using 2nd hand palettes.

I shared it on my social media and blogs. One of my readers wanted something similar for her wedding. She asked us to do a bohemian table made of palettes. And then that’s how when it opened doors to wedding industry. We built those bohemian tables, I outsourced suppliers and I created wedding packages, which was by that time, not a trend.

I found what I really love. Ever since I was a kid, I loved beautiful things, flowers, laces and fabrics, jewelries. I backed up my career by enrolling to courses such as Professional Events Management in Enderun, attended the Teddy Manuel Master Class, and took Interior Styling at SOFA(School of Fashion and The Arts). I am now a wedding designer and own a concept store of all things beautiful. My happy place, my childhood dream ❤️

Of all those years, despite the different industries I’ve been in to, there are two things that I never stopped doing. Building/creating and selling. When I was a blogger, I built my own walk in closet, I built an office for my travel agency, and now, I have built 2 boutiques for my wedding designing career. But there’s no smooth sailing in business especially when you’re starting. There are many ups and downs. I even built a nail spa and salon and closed it down in less than a year. That’s why the 2nd thing is selling. On  the side of my careers, I always make sure to have many streams of income. I am resourceful, I always have something to sell anything under the sun, but discretely; That I am not broadcasting or showing to public.

Before my entrepreneurial days started, I was a rebel. I parted here and there. I went to every night clubs in the metro. I’ve seen how drugs and alcohol change people and ruin lives. I was young that time and I already saw the importance of time and the value of what we do in life. One day, it put me an end and realized that all those selfless nights wont give me a direction in life. I graduated early on that kind of phase in life. I learned the hardships in life early. After that phase in life, I lost my privilege of studying in a way. However, I wanted to study. I wanted to achieve things and get what I want. That’s why I started to dream and focus on my goals. That’s when I started blogging, it was my first source of income, and I was 19yrs old. It was also the age that I was able to buy my own car. I started to decide what are my dreams and goals in life, early; and I think that was my edge.

You are just 27 and have achieved success which many envy. When the world is reeling down under corona pressure, you managed to buy a beach front lot. Mind sharing some of the secrets with our readers?

It was really one of my dreams to have a beach front house. It’s been quite awhile already that I was looking for a beach lot, even before the pandemic. But most properties for sale are sold by hectares. I stayed up to date with the trend, I saw a developer selling beach front lots but the beach is a black sand, so it’s a no for me. But I know that many developers will develop same idea- into a different beach. And I was right,  there were new developers across the country who started selling smaller cuts of beach front lots. And it is fast selling! So, with the savings I had, I took advantage of it. And it’s a bonus that lots are cheaper during these days of pandemic.

Wedding industry has been hit hard by this pandemic.  How did you manage to survive this pandemic?

Yes this is 100% applicable to me. My business was really affected. First, weddings were not allowed. 2nd, malls were shut down, and one of my boutique is located in a mall.

I am never a quitter. I took advantages of the opportunities. I took advantage of my digital skills and I have and focused on online marketing. I took advantage of being seen more by audience since almost every person is in the house, browsing the internet. I took advantage that we were one of the firsts in the industry that started intimate weddings even before the pandemic started. I took advantage of my extra time to research and redevelop our business plans and strategies, and as well as to improve things that need to be improved such as websites, our social media feed, portfolios, etc.

How and when did you come up with the idea of Bride and Rose?

The idea of Bride and Rose concept store started when I was in New York. It was inspired by Kleinfeild- Kleinfeild is the largest bridal shop in the city that carries different designer bridal gowns. If it worked in the western countries and is being patronized already for decades (since 1968), then it will definitely work here in Philippines too.

Few days before I traveled to New York, I attended a short curriculum at Harvard University in Boston that teaches us how to prototype and innovate.

I wanted to innovate Klienfield Bridal by adding a working space for different wedding suppliers, because I’ve seen that there are many suppliers such as coordinators, hosts, invitation suppliers etc. who do good in the industry but don’t have something they called their own office or space.

The moment I went back to the Philippines, I started the prototype and that was my first wedding concept store boutique- Shabby Chic Style Studio.  The prototype was a success, and after 2 years working almost 24hrs to run this business, I am already confident enough that Bride and Rose will work. Using my savings, and getting investors to add more to the capital, we then built Bride and Rose.

How do you think you can share your success to others and Please share some mantras with our readers so that they can also achieve their pie of success.

“Never Stop Dreaming Your Dreams” this is my 2nd tattoo(out of 8), in my wrist. It was a quotation from my mom and I lived to that. Never stop dreaming because your dreams are what will drive you to do and achieve your goals in life. Dream big and inspire people. And help people in any ways that you can help even in  the tiniest things because blessings will come back double. Value people who share the same dreams with you.

Also, I love studying and I invested a lot in my education because I believe that it is important to invest in yourself. Not only I pay for experiences, I buy books and PDFs of information, formulas, and resources. It cost me a lot and recently, I made an E- library of these resources and I’m selling it just for fraction of the price. I believe that this E-Library will be helpful to anyone who is struggling in business or who just started their business or those who want to start their business.

You can buy the E-library resource here: https://brideandrose.com/products/zero-to-six-figures-online-business-e-library?_pos=1&_sid=4d1866847&_ss=r

Trishie dela Cruz blogs here and is also available on Instagram

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