She Leads The Way: Homegrown Entrepreneurs Driving Their Industries Forward - Homegrown

She Leads The Way: Homegrown Entrepreneurs Driving Their Industries Forward

There is a slight shift in perspective for the women of today. With our priorities, life goals, and outlook on nearly everything under the sun altered, we tread carefully on the tightrope that promises a more free, more empowering future.

It is no doubt that gender is hardly a yardstick to assess an individual’s capabilities and this International Women’s Day, we got thinking about the women who are arduously carving out newer trajectories in every realm, creating newer opportunities, and are leading by example.

A recent survey conducted by a Delhi-based tech giant reveals that among the 50 most favourable global places for women to work, only two Indian cities happened to make the cut. Bengaluru and Delhi placed 40th and 49th on this list, respectively.

While the rest of the world grapples with these turbulent changes of a pandemic, extended conflict, and more, women striving to make a mark experience additional struggles, making the climb all the more taxing and laborious. Despite the oddities that the world continues to present, a powerful playing field is emerging simultaneously for women entrepreneurs, creators, and artists of today.

From running independent streetwear brands to chartering new territories via experimental gourmet home catering, we sat down for a conversation with 5 trailblazing women-led brands that are fostering a novel community in the country.

I. CAPSUL by Bhavisha Dave & Meenakshi Singh

What happens when a former national speed skating champion and the creative head of a leading sportswear brand walk into a room? Bhavisha Dave and Meenakshi Singh did not just bond over their shared love for streetwear and personal style, they had a vision that was challenging yet game-changing all at once. With their combined decades-long experience working for pioneering global brands such as Budweiser and PUMA, the duo brought together their refreshing perspectives on the future of India’s streetwear scene via Capsul; India’s first and only multi-wear streetwear brand.

Armed with a game plan to bring some of the biggest players of the global streetwear game to the sub-continent, Dave & Singh made a breakthrough with Capsul that was difficult to ignore. Capsul went on to build a distinct space that exclusively speaks to the Gen-Z and Millennials of today.

Having conquered remarkable milestones since their inception three years ago, Bhavisha reveals to us that ‘community, collaboration and youth culture’ continue to remain as the driving force for the brand’s vision and future.

Speaking of challenges and adversities that occur along the way, Bhavisha reveals, “Being a two-person co-founding team helps us stay the course. Support from family, and the community, and stopping to see how far we’ve come when in doubt also helps.”

Streetwear in India still in its nascent stages looks at a diverse market and audience that are still learning to be welcoming of it. In making this community inclusive, welcoming and enriching, the founder-duo lets us in on their insights.

Image source: Vogue india

Homegrown: How do you create a renewed focus on inclusivity in the areas of increased women participation and leadership in the workforce while fostering a nurturing community of women in business?

Bhavisha: Focusing on inclusivity is a daily part of our business. We’re constantly working to include more people in the streetwear-verse. This Women’s Day, the CAPSUL founders are setting up an avenue to work with a couple of women-led streetwear businesses to help them with any challenges they’re facing and help pay it forward.

Follow Capsul’s work here.

II. Little Food Co by Bhakti Mehta

We all deserve a little pampering from time to time and there’s no better to the heart than the gift of good food delivered right to your doorstep. Mumbai-based Bhakti Mehta scaled her passion projects to newer heights with her inventive ideas for Little food Co. With a keen eye for detail and to reimagining fine-dining experiences through the lens of comfort and convenience, Mehta’s vision for LFC was well etched out. 11 years on, LFC continues to lead at the fore of gourmet home caterers in the country.

“Food is so subjective and open to all kinds of opinions, dissection, and expert advice. Here, we are to literally ‘please everyone’ and that’s a hard thing to do. So to be unique in such a broad category is a task, but that’s the only way for us!” reveals Bhakti when asked about consistent drive and motivation after having completed a little over a decade in the space.

Within its diverse ambit of services, LFC has at its core, the ability to transform at-home events, which has wonderfully fit into the expectations of the market today. The pandemic was indeed a game-changer for the founder who tends to view every obstacle as an opportunity. From allowing her survival mode to pilot this transformative phase of her life, to quickly dodging the curveballs that came her way, Bhakti possesses the grit, strength, and awareness of an entrepreneurship maverick.

Image source: Bhakti Mehta

Homegrown: How do you create a renewed focus on inclusivity in the areas of increased women participation and leadership in the workforce while fostering a nurturing community of women in business?

Bhakti: Collaborations encourage new ideas, can only help open newer avenues.. though Competition need not be a bad thing either, it could be a motivating factor for many.

Follow Little Food Co.’s work here.

III. BTG by Aaliya Amrin, Eman Baltiwalla, & Danisha Kohli

“We build interfaces where humans can touch technology”.

This compelling quote from BTG’s website is one of the many things that make the brand an absolute head-turner. The brand, which was birthed by a trio of creative thinkers, leverages content as the most valuable resource of the world we’re currently in and the one we’re moving towards.

“In today’s scroll-away society, the name of the game is attention. BTG uses content as currency, to entertain, inform, and engage our client’s audience. We are a one-stop ‘content shop’. A content first, creative studio for all your branding and creative needs,” says Aaliya, one of the three co-founders of BTG. So far, the brand has garnered the likes of industry giants such as Netflix, Bumble, Soho House, Dharma Productions, and more.

Homegrown: How do you create a renewed focus on inclusivity in the areas of increased women participation and leadership in the workforce while fostering a nurturing community of women in business?

Aaliya: We are a women-led company with three female cofounders. As a byproduct and semi-happenstance, a lot of our creative producers and project managers are women. At the front end of our company, clients meet with women who are decision-makers and storytellers.

Follow By The Gram’s work here.

Image source: BTG

IV. Bliss Club by Minu Margaret

When national level frisbee champion Minu Margaret realised a massive disparity in quality activewear for women in India, she knew she was on to something. In a personal journey that she then endured through exploring the harrows and challenges experienced by everyday women who actively move around, Minu had her ‘aha’ moment. Armed with her entrepreneurial finesse and a relentless passion for fitness, Minu went on to invent Bliss Club; a community-driven brand that crafts liberating activewear exclusively for ‘women who move’.

The founder then went on to quit her full-time job at fin-tech giant, Phonepe to pursue her extensive vision for Bliss Club.

“We are obsessive about creating for women. I would say that this is a space of only opportunities. An opportunity to create fantastic products for women that address their real needs - functional and comfortable products that work for women and not against them!” says Minu on the community that she and her brand are fostering. It didn’t take too long for Bliss Club to be owned and adored by the women who don it. With an extensive range of activewear for the fluid, free, and uninhibited women of today, Bliss Club is certainly a crowd-favourite.

Image source: Bliss club

Homegrown: How do you create a renewed focus on inclusivity in the areas of increased women participation and leadership in the workforce while fostering a nurturing community of women in business?

Minu: We are very conscious of hiring super talented folks, women especially! Currently, my leadership team is well balanced when it comes to having women on top. I do encourage giving women an opportunity to work with us, irrespective of where they’ve been and where they want to go, as long as they are a great mindset fit.

You can follow Bliss Club’s work here.

V. d’you by Shamika

As a trend that has taken to a vast majority of skincare consumers today, chemophobia refers to an irrational fear of chemicals. Terms such as ‘organic, chemical-free’ seem to attract the consumers of today. Combining her passion for skin science and undying curiosity to explore, a former lawyer Shamika birthed d’you skincare. Driven by an intention to change the narrative around chemical-based skincare products, Shamika’s years of research into clinical studies has created a brand that aims to simplify the relationship between science and skincare.

“The beauty industry in its nature may be considered superficial, but imagine someone insecure about their skin for years, and then coming across a product that changed their skin and gave them their confidence back? That’s the kind of impact I want to make with my products,” reveals Shamika.

Image credits: dyou.co

Homegrown: How do you create a renewed focus on inclusivity in the areas of increased women participation and leadership in the workforce while fostering a nurturing community of women in business?

Shamika: When I started my journey as a founder in the beauty industry I saw many other female founders who had built amazing brands before me and even after me. But everyone was operating in isolation, and I wondered why can’t women business leaders join hands to increase the size of the pie for everyone? We decided to do what we didn’t see was happening yet in the industry.

Now competing brands actually join hands as women founders in solidarity to support each other; choosing collaboration over competition. So for the first time ever, female-founded beauty brands are collaborating with d’you to share our audiences with each other in the spirit of #CollaborationOverCompetition.

You can follow d’you’s work here.

From the conversations we’ve had and from the brilliance that we continue to witness from the women of today, we’re certain of one thing; community is at the core of fostering a healthy playing field and the brands that pioneer this have always managed to stand out, even in a crowd.

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Lijjat Papad: The Inspiring Story Of A Successful Homegrown All-Women Business

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