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Tanushree Nair, Founder of Karaashilp, which handcrafts and upcycles bags from a range of material, talks about life as a creative mompreneur.
When I started writing about a typical day in the life of an entrepreneur, it was a bit awkward but it sounded so nice! Remember Sridevi’s expression in English-Vinglish, “E-N-T-R-EP-R-E-N-E-U-R”? And I can relate exactly to that expression and feeling.
From an IT professional who worked in the corporate sector for 10 years and switching off the developer in me to taking a 360 degree turn to being an Entrepreneur or should I say more appropriately “Mompreneur”, has been an exciting journey, nothing less than an adventure.
Let me start by giving a little introduction. Post my corporate stint, I started an experiment with my husband’s disposable denims to convert them into a bag. The experiment was put up on Facebook and my family and friends encouraged me to go ahead with it. Thus started my journey of “KARAASHILP” literally translates to “Hand Craft” in Sanskrit.
My experiments in upcycling old denims, cargos, corduroys were well received. I also dabbled with different mediums to upcycle like cocoons, glass, old car parts, plastic. This was no longer a hobby. It had to be scaled up as a proper business. So I donned different hats of CEO, accountant, admin, sales, marketing, housekeeping, driver, purchase department, delivery etc. But all this after changing hats from “MOM/HOUSEWIFE” à “MOMPRENEUR”
How is my typical day? Honestly there is no such typical day. There are hair-on-fire situations and then some days are quiet. Every new day is a challenge and that’s what is so exciting. Donning multiple hats in my business has really opened new perspectives. Still I will try to put down how my ideal day goes on.
~~ Mornings ~~
Usually starts in “MOM ”-mode (which is a continuous thread running in the background) of morning chaos of waking up my 4 y.o and trying to get him ready for school while fixing his and husband’s breakfast and lunch boxes. Once they are bundled off, I get on with my morning chores and a small prayer to the HIGHER ENERGIES.
I take some time out for a little planning for the day (else the day just flies off!).Schedule the calls, meetings, bank work, personal work. Once all my external work is planned and clubbed together, I go about checking mails and replying. Then I am switched off from the internet. I like to start my work early in the day. Gives me a feeling that I have more than 24 hrs a day (LOL!)
Planning for a collection involves drawing designs and specifications and this is the time I do not like to be disturbed. I finish my sketching and start off with my sampling. The fabrics are cut and kept ready.
~~ Afternoon to Evening ~~
Once the cuttings are done, I keep my work aside and switch back to “MOM”-mode. Pack lunch and go to pick the little one from school. He is dropped to the day care and I return back for lunch and then go back to “MOMpreneur” mode. Music ON & Sew, Sew, Sew Happy!
I am highly impatient to see how my next bag is turning out. So I sometimes (usually) forget to take a nap; At evening, I take a short break. Sip on some green tea while watching the scenes outside my house or watch the idiot box…
By 5.30, its time to pick up my little one from day care and we spend some nice time in the nearby park and chatting up till we are back home.
~~ Night ~~
Time to mostly get my son settled down, finish our dinner, TV , story-telling and put him to sleep.
I go back to my sewing machine and work to finish my sample if it is pending. Usually, I take this time to go through mails I received or chalk out my next design. Check out pending orders/work and pick up the highest priority one to start for the next day. Once in bed, I am still seeing some new design evolving in my head. I usually keep a small book near my bed to sketch out whatever comes to my head, so that I can sleep in peace!. This is usually my best time. I have got some of my best ideas this way and that makes me so impatient to wake up the next morning to start working on my idea last night.
Whew! I know it sounds too good. But every day is not so rosy -There are days when I am endlessly on my feet. Multi tasking between the home, kid and work is not easy. There are days of market visits for gathering raw materials from different places, meeting clients, customers, attending some workshops, taking calls, working with different vendors who have their own sweet schedules. Nights and nights of working like an owl can be tiresome to the point of switching off the “Momprenuer” mode.
I easily work more than 40 hours a week and sometimes might not have socialised or met/called a friend for months. But with each new day, comes newer ideas, possibilities and opportunities. With each new challenge, my organizing skills are put to test and I should be honest – I cannot do justice in all areas of my life at a given time. But an understanding and supportive husband, who also switches his roles to attend to our son and home when my going gets tough, has eased out a lot of stress. This is the reason the excitement does not die.
Leaving you with these great words by Dhirubhai Ambani which had struck a chord in me –
“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.”
Are you a woman running a business in India? Would you like your story to appear in our Day In The Life Of An Entrepreneur series? Email us at admin AT womensweb DOT in with an interesting account of a day running your business, and we may publish it! (For example, what was the one interesting thing you did that day? Did you meet someone new/had a conversation with a customer? What thrills you at work? What are some business challenges you’re currently grappling with?) Also send us a few pictures of you at work – with your team, at your desk, at the factory, meeting a customer….
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
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