Meet these inspiring women who started their entrepreneurial journey from home with very little investment and are now successful businesswomen.
Amruta Kamath, Founder and Chef, House of Flavors
It was his passion for cooking that drove Amruta Kamath to start his career as a home chef. She operated from her home kitchen for two years, serving homemade 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 a new step in her culinary journey. When the lockdown hit, she decided to improve herself at what she did. She has never stopped inventing and reinventing dishes to finally find her niche, that of Asian and continental cuisine. She also took a cooking class in the cloud to understand how food companies can create and deliver food products with minimal overhead. After learning the details of the trade, Amruta rented a small kitchen space, hired three sous chefs, and House of Flavors was born! House of Flavors now delivers between Borivali and Andheri, and to Mumbai, in case of bulk orders.
Sarika Dabe, Founder, Queen’s Products
It all started in 2011 when Sarika, a housewife from Nagpur, started grinding spices (garam masala) at home to serve her circle of friends. She then took it a step further and started selling the ground spices through WhatsApp groups. Conscious of the demand for organic products, she decided to expand. Sarika approached MIDC for land that the government allocates to women entrepreneurs at a subsidized rate. The land was allocated, but she did not have the collateral to apply for a bank loan. Sarika then turned to the National Industrial Corporation to request a 35% grant on the entire loan for women entrepreneurs. After four years of running, there was still no luck. It was around this time that she introduced turmeric into her product line. The introduction of turmeric was a game-changer for his business. The turmeric she was selling had a curcumin level of 10%, much higher than most organic turmeric found on the market. Sarika has had her turmeric certified by the Spice Board of India. It soon turned out that there was a higher demand for turmeric than for garam masala. The next product to join the portfolio was chili peppers. The spices have now started to be sold under the Queen’s Products brand name. Queen’s Products now sells its spices on 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 grown with a turnover reaching crore. As for Sarika, she now runs MIDC training programs for young entrepreneurs to help them start their businesses from the ground up.
Ishika Sahaani, Founder, Fayola
As they say, “Follow your passion and you won’t have to work a day in your life.” For Ishika, a media professional, her favorite hobby was making hair ties and small accessories from leftover clothing. It was his way of connecting with his creative self. Ishika used to give these headbands to young girls in her company and friends on special occasions. These unique pieces have turned heads. Soon she began to receive a lot of requests for creating headbands, especially as gifts or birthday presents. Seeing the demand for these products, Ishika decided to turn her hobby into a full-fledged business. This is how Fayola was born! She then employed two ladies, who worked as a domestic helper, to help her create hair bands. Business in India was developing well – initially she found her clientele through Facebook and WhatsApp groups. Coming from the television industry, its products have also attracted the attention of many television celebrities. With a few of her clients also being social media influencers, Fayola has become the brand to be reckoned with for hair accessories. After tasting the success of her brand in India, she decided to explore opportunities globally as she realized that there was a large market for her products all over the world. She has listed her products on Etsy.com, a global online marketplace for handmade products. Since then, there has been no turning back. With hair accessories becoming so popular, Ishika is now looking to branch out into newer products such as handbags, belts and sandals.
Nazneen Patel, Founder, Vermillion India
Actress-turned-entrepreneur Nazneen Patel has always had a fetish for full-size genuine leather bags. Since India is one of the largest leather exporters in the world, Nazneen decided to visit the leather market in Dharavi, Mumbai to explore the design prospects of such leather bags. During one of these trips, she managed to find a good craftsman who agreed to make a few leather bags based on her idea for personal use. These are pieces exclusively designed for men and women. When she and her husband started using these bags during their social visits and at work, they received a lot of compliments. It was then that they realized that a huge market was waiting to consume such leather bags. Besides the large size, the other USP of these bags was the color and texture of the leather. These bags were made in a special metallic finish, which was not readily available in the market. Realizing the potential and demand for such unique bags, a business idea to create exclusive leather handbags for men and women was born. The brand was called “Vermillion”. Nazneen was later joined by her sister Nilufer to carry out this endeavor. Initially, they did a photoshoot using a friend of theirs as a model to pose with their bags. These photos were uploaded to their Instagram page, which found significant followers and customer inquiries.
Being on a shoestring budget, Nazneen and Nilufer felt they needed to find the right source for the material at a better price. After much research, they focused on Chennai and Bengaluru to find the material. So, they made frequent trips to the two cities to obtain the materials. Nazneen would then create unique designs, which their artisan ultimately shaped into Dharavi. Soon they realized that they shouldn’t limit their products to India alone. The products were listed on Etsy.com, an online marketplace for craft products. The handbags have been well received in the international markets, in the United States and Canada in particular. In the near future, Vermillion also plans to venture into modern lifestyle clothing. This line of clothing will be unique, one-of-a-kind masterpieces that will never be redone.
This is a partnership publication
First publication: STI