Mompreneurs, Successful Women Entrepreneurs, Women E-Commerce Entrepreneurs

Chaitali Chauhan, ChefD: The Brain Behind a Recipe Kit that Makes Cooking Easier and Creates Healthier Community

“There are two places always crowded, and one place, kind of compliment the other’s business. Any guesses Suba? Let me give you a clue, there is ‘pun’ intended,” smilingly asked Chaitali.

This conversation occurred when I met her a year back to discuss brand strategy and content architecture for the new product company she launched.

We laughed out loud when I kept guessing and giving some random answers. Very few business-meetings become very close to my heart, that day was one among those few.

“Hospitals and Eateries Suba. I often wonder the connection between the crowd in the Fast Food Joints, Restaurants and Road Side Vendors with the increasing crowd in the Hospitals.”

Indeed thought – provoking. I personally believe that I become what I eat. The food has an impact on the way the hormones act and so the reaction in the physical, emotional and mental health.

Chaitali

Chaitali Chauhan, ChefD

Chaitali continued, “I munched on the reasons why do we eat out. If you think hard, many times we get bored to cook variety as it involves buying the ingredients. Either we may not find the right ingredient to make the dish or buying in bulk where ¾ go waste after we cook the new dish once or twice.

Eating out is an easy solution, right? I continued to munch on and wanted to find ways where one cooks whatever he/she wants without worrying about spending too much. This solution should be definitely healthy, cost-effective and easy to cook too.”

My curiosity doubled at that moment.

Before we move on, few words about Ms. Chaitali Chauhan, Co-Founder, ChefD. Chaitali, mom of two handsome boys, is an Engineer with solid Industry experience, took a break from her career when she had her first kid. Being a creative person, born in Gujarati family, as the tradition encourages, Chaitali has done various artworks in clothes. Using such skills, she founded ‘Silk n Fusion’ focusing on upcycling, designer clothing arena; she re-started her career journey when her first son was around a year old.

Due to various reasons and when she had her second boy, she had to close the business. However, the learnings were huge during the tenure.

The thought about food and diseases kept ringing in her mind and led to a beautiful entity. I listened as she continued after a deep thought for few seconds.

“Such thoughts kept lingering my mind, I came across an experience when I was in a local grocery store. There was a young girl, looked like a college girl, talking over the phone asking about various ingredients. She looked as if she had never done any cooking. I volunteered to help her gather the list of things she wanted. While interacting with her, I realized the situation these millennials are in.

Many men and women in this digital world do not even know certain ingredients like hing, turmeric exist. They do not know how to identify and differentiate various lentils, oils, and other ingredients.  I must say that I was stunned.

I was equally stunned when I heard Chaitali’s experience. Food is an integral part of any culture to exist and survive, especially Indian way of cooking is considered healthy worldwide.

ChefD Product

Recipe Kit, ChefD.in

“That is when the idea about ChefD came into existence. ChefD solves a basic problem – that an average working family faces today – having access to a healthy and delicious meal.

You check the menu on our website. Choose the one you wanted, check out by adding the numbers and complete payment process, you will receive the recipe kit within the allotted hours.

Say, you order Bisi Bele Bath’ kit from our menu, you will receive the ingredients including the fresh vegetables neatly numbered, packed along with the easy to follow recipe card. You just have to follow the instructions in the card and cook,

Viola! Home cooked, healthy meal is ready. You need not have any formal training in cooking. We make you a Chef.” Proudly said Chaitali.

ChefD has become a familiar name among young working professionals and budding Entrapreneurs.

I met Chaitali again last week in order to gather more information to share with my beloved readers.

“Congratulations Chaitali, I am happy to see ChefD benefiting many out there. Can you please brief about the few challenges you faced initially? How did you overcome such challenges?” I asked.

“Sure Suba. With ChefD, I wanted to do everything right from the beginning. I had experience handling various issues during ‘Silk n Fusion’ days.

That’s the reason I joined hand with Mr. Uday Rathod who has tremendous experience in managing multiple businesses. Right from product design to Quality, whatever concerns and queries I had, I sought help from the right people. I learnt to define the concerns and seek the right help from right professionals.

I appointed an Auditor who helps with Finances, Uday for Strategic decisions, you for content architecture, of course, my husband Kirthi who is my ‘go to’ person for all concerns and guidance. I decided to take one step at a time, but do it right at the first time.”

ChefD 2

Chaitali Chauhan, ChefD @ Awfis

I was impressed with the way she has been building the company confidently, steadily and strategically by investing in professional support and seeking help in the right way from the family.

“That is indeed brilliant strategy Chaitali. It has been one year, right? Is there any specific challenge you came across in recent times? If so, how did you resolve it?”

“Oh, yes Suba. Even though I have managed Accounts, Finances during my corporate and earlier Entrepreneurial journey, there were hiccups I faced with the introduction of GST and all.  ChefD being a product company, handling the cash flow was very challenging, especially since our entity is a bootstrap.

And, as I was taking a keen interest in managing the finances of the company, I realized that in today’s times, it is also very important to manage personal finances well; the right structure and methodical planning is key here.

And, this quest led me to join the APC channel of Kotak Group of Companies and I completed the 6-day course at Kotak Life Insurance Company. I am now a licensed Financial Services Consultant for Life and Health Insurances, studying towards getting licenses and being able to handle other financial products. And now, not only

I am able to manage my Finances well; I also guide people in managing their finances and investments. Every day is a learning but I am highly confident about my positioning now.”

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Recipe Kit, ChefD Menu

What is one thing that you would like to tell women on a career break or those who want to start something new?

“It is never too late to start something that you love. Keep an eye on your goal that you want to reach. Remember, only your actions can make things happen. And, as I read somewhere……If you find a job you love, you never have to work a day in your life.”

Profound Indeed! I wished Chaitali and ChefD the very best! I also spend quality hours looking at different recipes, the numbering of the ingredients, clear instruction, and most importantly, ChefD takes good care of the packing.  I am sure, ChefD will make the world best chefs at each household and develop a healthier Community!

 

Seeking help strategically is an art. Do your homework well, Invest right to get professional guidance, ask right questions to gain family support. Win over this World” – Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder, SLN Brand Studio.

About the Interview‘Words of Wisdom’ Interview with Ms. Chaitali Chauhan is an initiative for ‘Women Contentment Program,’ a Mentoring program for women.

Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder, SLN Brand Studio conducted the interview. Women Contentment Program (WCP) focuses on elevating the lives of Women by helping them create a new career, get back to the career after a break, develop Emotional & Social intelligence and build a Personal Brand.

About the Company: SLN Brand Studio offers Consulting, Mentoring, CXO Resume Writing and Training Solutions. Aiming at building the personal brand for Individuals, Entrepreneurs, and Businesses, SLN Brand Studio has developed numerous customized solutions.

Mompreneurs, Successful Women Entrepreneurs, Women E-Commerce Entrepreneurs

Jaya Shukla, Tushions, the Leading E-Commerce Cloth Diaper Entity in India: IIT-IIM Alumni Turned Mompreneur with a Mission to Reduce ‘Diaper Landfills’

“You know what Suba…..We always say that India’s biggest strength is the workforce. However, if you dig deeper, you will realize that the skilled workforce pool is much smaller. It is not just about IT or other white-collar jobs but also in all other areas. When it comes to Tushions, ‘stitching’ for instance, even though we have tailors available at every nook and corner, there are a very few who can actually do a professional and consistent job.”

The very first words from Jaya Shukla, the founder of Tushions, made me straighten up as I was sipping coffee at her Home-office. I continued listening before shooting my questions.

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Jaya Describing the Product, the latest release from Tushions to Suba

Tushions is the fast-growing Cloth Diapering Retailer in India, founded in 2015. Started with retailing cloth diapers from the best brands across the world to create their own brand – Green Diapers. Jaya is an IIT-IIM graduate who founded Tushions after a decade in the corporate world. A mother of 2 beautiful boys aged 3 years and 1 month, she has now joined the bandwagon of a new breed of entrepreneurs – ‘The Mompreneur.’ An inspiring journey follows……

“To manufacture these diapers in India, we need a skilled workforce, whereas most of the tailors available do not have the desired finesse required by a branded product. So, I am currently spending a lot of time, working with the selected tailors to guide them on how to make these diapers, to meet world-class standards. Sometimes, it takes weeks before a worker is ready to make the actual diaper which can be sold.”

“Oh…weeks, Is it? Reminded of Colin Powel’s words, ‘Dream doesn’t become a reality through Magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work.’……tell me Jaya, about your dream? Where and how did it start?” Jaya gave a warm smile when I asked her.

I could sense that her mind is travelling a few years down the memory lane.

“Immediately after my IIM, I happily joined the corporate world, was growing very well and making significant progress in many ways. I got married, had my first boy, worked until the day I delivered my son. My boy changed my life altogether. Our son was a frequent pooper, and prone to Eczema, I used to replace at least 12 disposable diapers a day. We even had a big dustbin dedicated for this. At the end of the third month, we had spent more than Rs.10,000 on the disposable diapers.

Jaya - Tushions 1
Jaya, Founder of Tushions, the leading Cloth Diaper Entity

Everyone who visited us, especially the elders, recommended that we used nappies instead of disposable ones. I have a habit of not ignoring the suggestions, always try to reason out things. When I decided to understand the reason behind ‘why NO disposable diaper’ the information about the ‘landfill’ quite shocked me. Every time, when I was disposing the diaper on the dustbin, my guilt was going high up.

At the same time, changing a nappy every 15 minutes was turning about to be quite difficult; when a friend told me about ‘modern cloth diapers.  I could not believe that such a product actually existed. I finally ordered one from the US, waited a month for it to reach here, tried it and Viola! 

A moment of truth!” chuckled Jaya and I reciprocated too.

“We started with retailing the best cloth diaper brands from across the world and then graduated to creating our in brand – Green Diapers. We design our diapers keeping the Indian climate and preferences in mind. Some of our diapers prints are so popular, that customers buy baby clothes to match them and plan photo shoots around it.”

“Great, but you were working, right? How did you manage work as well Tushions? Not only Women, but many men also undergo the dilemma of how to work between a day job and the dream.”

I was very curious while asking this question.

“It was one highly challenging time for me Suba. The idea about Tushions happened when I was on maternity leave. Unlike many women struggling to Join work post maternity, I had a perfect support system at workplace and home. When we were discussing leaving the full-time cushy job and starting something on my own, that too, with some vague picture on how to go about it, all my well-wishers including my parents were concerned.

It was my Husband and Mother-in-Law who completely supported me to start it. Looking at my son and the guilt trip while changing his diaper every few hours pushed me harder to achieve my dream.”

“That’s one inspiring Journey Jaya……Entrepreneurship is not that easy, right? Especially, ‘you’ as a person, any specific challenge you would like to share with my audience?” 

I sharpened the listening mode for new learnings.

“Oh yes, even though I love to be a part of gatherings, have a huge friends circle, being under the ‘limelight’ is one thing I am not very comfortable with. I am challenging my ‘mindset’ and coming out as the ‘face of Tushions.

I realized that the brand is the embodiment of my values and beliefs. Recognizing and addressing such beliefs is a continuous process for me as well my brand’s growth.” smiled Jaya with determination.

Each one of has some ‘comfort zone’ to come out of in each phase. Isn’t it?

Jaya - Tushions 2
Jaya at the Guinness event- Great Cloth Diaper Change

A cry from her newborn (1-month-old) as if acknowledging her words brought us back to reality. She excused herself.

Jaya returned after 20 minutes as I was munching on the discussion we had so far, used that time to collate information for the write-up.

“Tell me about the challenges you face with the product, customers and the business overall?”

“The primary challenge I face is creating awareness about the importance of using cloth diapers. It is beyond Business & Revenue growth for the brand. We have already polluted our beautiful earth, knowingly and unknowingly. I am happy to see the measures taken by the government and us human beings. But, still, the disposable diapers are the vast part of ‘landfills’ all over the world.

The cloth diapers are our ancient system, we were using ‘langots’ or ‘old saree or a dhoti’ as diapers, right? The disposable diapers signify 30% of non – biodegradable waste. The environment majorly is spoiled in the past 20 years when we started using the disposable ones. Even though life becomes more comfortable, each disposable diaper stays on the earth for 500 years. Yes, longer than plastic bags and products.”

I was quite shocked as well hearing this.

“I understand Jaya, mother in me has another question here. All these cloth diapers require a lot of effort to clean and maintain, right? I remember my son soaking it with a single poop or pee. Do you have a solution here?”

“Yes Suba, there is a huge difference between ‘Nappies’ and ‘Cloth diaper.’ One generation of parents is strongly brainwashed through various enticing advertisements that only ‘disposable diapers’ can make the babies sleep well. The modern cloth diapers have come a long way. The parents of today are so fortunate to have a fantastic alternative.

Tushions come with safe, convenient to use cloth diapers which can be put on babies for almost 12 hours. Moreover, our customers equally feel excited whenever we introduce a new product. We also make sure they look good, focus on bringing contemporary design in our products. I am more an ‘R&D’ ian than a Founder when it comes to our customers.”

The smile was indeed infectious, and I wished Tushions a great success before bidding adieu.

“Open Mind, Reasoning and the Right Questioning can do wonders in lives” – Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder, SLN Brand Studio

About the Interview‘Words of Wisdom’ Interview with Ms. Jaya Shukla is an initiative for ‘Women Contentment Program,’ a Mentoring program for women.

Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder, SLN Brand Studio conducted the interview. Women Contentment Program (WCP) focuses on elevating the lives of Women by helping them create a new career, get back to the career after a break, develop Emotional & Social intelligence and build a Personal Brand.

About the Company: SLN Brand Studio offers Consulting, Mentoring, CXO Resume Writing and Training Solutions. Aiming at building the personal brand for Individuals, Entrepreneurs, and Businesses, SLN Brand Studio has developed numerous customized solutions.

Mompreneurs, Successful Women Entrepreneurs, Women E-Commerce Entrepreneurs

Sangeetha Arunachalam, Founder, Kadaiveedhi: A Facebook Group Admin turned an E-Commerce Entrepreneur to Support Mompreneurs

“Individual Commitment to a Group Effort –

That is what makes a Team Work

A Company Work

A Society Work

A Civilization Work”

Vince Lombardi

Ms. Sangeetha Arunachalam and her ‘Kadaiveedhi’ team stand as a perfect example of this words from Vince Lombardi. Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan interacted with Sangeetha, here’s the excerpt from the telephone interview.

Sangeetha Arunachalam 1

Few words from Suba to give a little background. ‘I still remember the day when my co-sister Pavithra, the Art Enthusiasts, added me in ‘Smart Mommies’ group on Facebook. My baby was a year old then. Initially, the group was just a few of us, new moms discussing baby-related issues, started sharing information on what we were doing, career options, businesses and all. Later, the group grew huge; along with, the business posts grew. That was when Sangeetha Arunachalam, the Chartered Accountant by profession, the admin of Smart Mommies group started another group to support Mompreneurs in the name of ‘SM Business Magnates (SMBM).’ Yes, I have personally witnessed the group growing where thousands of buyers and sellers interacting vigorously.’

How did the journey of SMBM lead to ‘Kadaiveethi,’ an E-commerce Portal? Let’s hear from Ms. Sangeetha Arunachalam, the brain and heart behind the venture.

Continue reading “Sangeetha Arunachalam, Founder, Kadaiveedhi: A Facebook Group Admin turned an E-Commerce Entrepreneur to Support Mompreneurs”