Global Pandemic Couldn’t Stop These Women From Becoming Entrepreneurs

Laveta Brigham

The pandemic has been life-changing in so many ways. It has completely transformed the way we live, learn and work, and yet, it has provided opportunities to entrepreneurs to explore new business ideas. With increased penetration of technology and more digitalisation, several women have come forward to launch online marketplaces […]

The pandemic has been life-changing in so many ways. It has completely transformed the way we live, learn and work, and yet, it has provided opportunities to entrepreneurs to explore new business ideas. With increased penetration of technology and more digitalisation, several women have come forward to launch online marketplaces that sell everything from home decor, personal care products to designer apparel.

Let’s take a look at some of these women and the stories where pandemic wasn’t able to put a pause to progress!

(From L to R) Nisha Natarajan, Founder of Down to Earth; Namrata Parikh, Co-founder of Sanitab; Pallavi Bhardwaj, Founder of Save Well Being; Runki Goswami, Founder of SuRHeal; Vatsala Hali, Founder of Urzuv: The Spirit of Kashmir.
(From L to R) Nisha Natarajan, Founder of Down to Earth; Namrata Parikh, Co-founder of Sanitab; Pallavi Bhardwaj, Founder of Save Well Being; Runki Goswami, Founder of SuRHeal; Vatsala Hali, Founder of Urzuv: The Spirit of Kashmir.

Namrata Parikh, Sanitab

Initially, when the outbreak happened, most pharmacies ran out of sanitisers, leaving people in a lurch. To overcome this challenge, Namrata and her husband, Aniket decided to launch a multipurpose disinfectant tablet called Sanitab in April 2020.

The product was well-marketed on Facebook and Instagram, and that helped to drive sales in a big way, and the business broke even within two days! Namrata, who is a graduate in Psychology and Marketing, is selling the product online on their own website, and Amazon.

The novel product can be used to disinfect fruits and vegetables, surfaces in homes and offices, as well as to clean untreated water without making any compromises on its taste, smell or colour.

Each tube has 25 tablets, and is priced at Rs 450. Moreover, each tablet has a composition of 1.75 grams of Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC), which makes it a good disinfectant. FDA-approved, it is also recommended by WHO, UNICEF, the UK Department of Health, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India.

Runki Goswami, SuRHeal

The last few months have taken a toll on both our physical and mental wellness, making it even more important to focus on holistic solutions for healing. One such solution is SuRHeal, which was started by classical Runki Goswami to promote raga therapy to heal the mind and body.

SuRHeal, a raga therapy app
SuRHeal, a raga therapy app

Runki, who is a well-known music composer in the Telugu industry, spent time researching about various frequencies of ragas, and how they can be used to promote healing in people. After four years of working on her idea, she finally launched the app, on the insistence of her daughter.

SuRHeal has a team of five classical singers, and aims to address various illnesses such as respiratory, stomach-related issues, or problems related to liver, head, heart or even mental health.

Each illness is tackled with a video song, in which the raga, its frequency, musical instrument, and the time are customised. The service is available for free as of now, but the startup has plans to make it a paid subscription-based model after a year.

Vatsala Hali, Urzuv: The Spirit of Kashmir

If you want to experience the spirit and beauty of Kashmir, and its essence, then Urzuv (meaning ‘blessing’ in English) will make it happen for you. The brainchild of ex-PR professional, Vatsala Hali, this luxury brand offers a repertoire of rich and vibrant Kashmiri shawls and stoles.

Urzuv: The Spirit of Kashmir
Urzuv: The Spirit of Kashmir

The underrepresentation of Kashmiri clothing in mainstream fashion and lack of awareness of various Kashmiri handwork and designs prompted Vatsala to start her own label. Utilising the time during the lockdown to do the research and base work for the brand, the label was launched in August and has been selling its product through its Instagram account. The brand is working with karigars from the valley who are handcrafted plain and embroidered Pashmina shawls and stoles with traditional thread work such as Tilla and Aari.

The starting price of the luxury brand is at Rs 6999 and the brand also offers gift boxes which can be customised with a stole of your choice along with pure saffron from the valley.

Nisha Natarajan, Down to Earth

The founder of Down to Earth, Nisha Natarajan, was struggling to provide her three pet dogs with clean and organic products for their health and wellness. The toxicity of chemical-laden products was causing them more harm than good, which is why she decided to take the matter in her own hands, and began creating homemade cleaning products.

During the lockdown, she also tried her hand at handmade products like soaps and shampoo bars.

Soon these products became a rage in her friend circle, and they encouraged her to quit her corporate job, and venture into entrepreneurial territory. That’s when she started the eco-friendly brand Down to Earth, which is based in Bengaluru.

Their products are priced between Rs 60 and Rs 900. As a sustainable brand, their packaging and delivery solutions are also eco-friendly, making the price point a little higher than usual.

Also read: How This Entrepreneur Ensured Her Startup Thrived in COVID-19 Lockdown Despite Selling a Non-Essential Item.

Pallavi Bhardwaj, Save Well Being

It was in 2005 that Pallavi Bhardwaj’s newborn son was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, and that pushed her to go down the health and wellness route. Thereafter, she also pursued formal education in macrobiotic nutrition at the Kushi Institute in the US, and later, a course in Bach Flower Therapy at The Bach Centre in the UK.

In 2017, the practising health and lifestyle coach launched her wellness firm, Ibadat, to help people manage lifestyle conditions like diabetes, cancer, anxiety, obesity and hypertension.

Save Well Being's organic vegetables
Save Well Being’s organic vegetables

During the pandemic, she realised that her clients were struggling to get their hands on healthy foods, and that prompted her to invest Rs 15 lakh and start her second venture, Save Well Being, in May 2020. An online marketplace for organic and pesticide-free food, it offers products like sattu atta (a mixture of ground pulses and cereals), sambar powder, roasted Bengal gram, rice flour, red rice, ragi flour, and quinoa, apart from seasonal vegetables, fruits, honey, and various other snacks.

Also read: Vocal for Local: Entrepreneurs Promoting Indian Products and Services.

(Edited by Varnika Gupta)

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