Introduce yourself to us Swathi.
I would like introduce myself as a “Mompreneur” Because I became an entrepreneur as a mother. I am Artsy crafty, singer, theatre artist, dancer, and the list goes on. I am a firm believer of women empowerment and always want to lead by example. I love the concept of DIY so I follow it as far as possible. An MBA graduate served as a HR in an MNC for over 8years. I can go on so will pause here…
Between your first job and where you are now. Could you describe your career journey
I love being independent and I started earning since my college days not aid myself but to lavishly spend what “I earn” and not my father’s money. I did many event management jobs during this period and this job thought me a lot of management and leadership skills. After graduating I joined an Executive search firm as a HR and felt the need for Skill education and chose to do MBA luckily I found a job in an MNC who agreed for me to start work after college hours so I continued to be independent. I was very successful in my job and was identified as a top talent. (must say I’m a Proud Peacock) After Marriage managing work dint get any different for me as I was blessed with a sweet Mother-in-law (non bossy) who gave me all the freedom I needed and encouraged me to do more.
My Son needed medical care and hence I took a sabbatical (assuming I was going to restart soon after he is all well) but this period gave me a break into entrepreneurship.
As a DIY lover I made handmade bags and return favours for my sons naming ceremony and had many friends and relatives asking me to make some for them and this triggered an idea and started a hobby page on Facebook to display handmade things this was a stop gap arrangement (I thought so). My son soon got well and was out of all medications within 3months. I sat down and though what I could do as an entrepreneur than restarting my career. I had to make something that would make me stand out of flock while I can be financially independent. Around the same time plastic ban in Karnataka triggered a sustainable cloth bags making idea and I started making grocery totes for shopping malls and super markets but they are not looking for quality but low cost products.
The low quality products dint go well with my values and hence decided to drop off from this and made much better quality bags and sold them directly to customers at affordable prices, understanding the quality and durability these bags soon gained popularity and as a customer centric firm I started looking into customer needs and customising bags and we gradually grew. Remember I firmly believe empowering women. So when the need for employees came I choose to support a livelihood by training and employing women, moms who are unable to do fulltime work due to familyresponsibilities, single moms looking for flexibleemployment, etc. Today I’m a Proud and happy owner of a firm that supports the local community in whatever way possible and whatever little it can to the environment we live in.
How did you handle getting back to career after motherhood break
When I got pregnant I had it all well planned on how to manage work with baby and decided to get back to work after 6 months of maternity break. Unfortunately god had different plans for me as my baby was born with a defect in his heart and we had to operate him when he was 4 months old and this required a lot of attention, care and medical supervision who better than a mother could’ve done it. The Stop Gap arrangement gave me enough time with my baby while I could also earn (not much though). Motherhood doesn’t have an end, So when I started the fulltime firm it occupied most of my time but I found a way to keep my baby closer while I work like traditional north eastern women I started DIY baby wearing and we got very comfortable. I later discovered ergonomic baby carriers that helped me hold my baby closer with hands free to do my work. Yes I work with my baby, all though like all moms I also feel I’m not spending enough time with him I am glad that I baby wearing lets me be with him as much as I can. I am a very strong ambassador of babywearingas I have experienced the benefits. So in my case motherhood and entrepreneurship is together and hence I am a Mompreneur.
Can you elaborate more on what you are doing right now I run two ventures
1. Swarshkala – here we manufacture bags wallets slings etc made of cloth and banana fibre (a fibre extracted from complete waste of a banana plant. Here we focus on trendy affordable and environmentally friendly products. We also do a lot of custom orders as per customer’s choice and needs. As a brand we make products with a focus on keeping high standards of Quality with lowest price making it affordable for common man. “Sustainability will make an impact on when it can be affordable to common man”.
2. Love Keepsakes – We handcraft 3D Life casting of baby hands and feet, Memory clothe quilts, Memory clothes toys, etc. This is a venture completely inspired by my son and the memories I wished to save of him. When I wanted to get such things done the market prices were way too expensive and being a DIY person I did a lot of trial and error to perfect my skills. So I started this venture to offer such lovable keepsakes at an affordable price while keeping high standards of quality.
Congratulations on winning the Homepreuner award. Your thoughts on that please.
It was a pleasant surprise that’s I won this award and was super proud as it was given to us for the social impact we intend. This is a first of its kind and I am really glad that Brand Avatar thought of women like us who are keeping baby steps into entrepreneurial venture. They intention was not just to recognise but also encourage, invest and mentor such women into growing their business. Wonderful thought and I am glad to have one the first of its kind.
A piece of advice that you would like to give to SWEP members
Women are naturally good at multitasking. So don’t let anything stop you from achieving your dreams be it marriage, motherhood anything. With a baby having a heart defect that had 50% life risk I could’ve just called it quits to all my dreams. But I looked for a way to work around it and babywearing came into my life. So dream big and if you focus on your dreams you will definitely find a way to achieve it.