1. What was your dream in your growing up days? How did you get into the jewellery business that you do?
    We all have many dreams when we are growing up but for me things were different. Since I left my home at the age of 15 at that time, for me the dream was earning three meals a day. With time everything changed but the only thing that remained constant for me was hunger for success. I always wanted to be successful, but I had no clue what I wanted to do in life and as they say “The harder I worked the luckier I got”. So, after doing dozens of odd jobs for years, I finally started my Fashion Jewellery brand, Rubans. In 2006 I participated in Gladrags Mrs. India and it was a wonderful experience. When I got selected in the final 20 participants, I joined the boot camp where we used to practice for the final show every day. During these sessions we had to dress up and it is here that I realised how important was jewellery to decide on the final look of a person whether it was a normal woman or a model. After the event I started my corporate merchandising company in which some of India’s biggest brands were my clients. I used to work with many big corporate brands. Despite doing well in corporate merchandising business Fashion and Jewellery was always my first love and I used to read a lot about the Indian fashion jewellery market. I always felt that the Indian consumer was not getting enough choice in Fashion Jewellery and a lot of them were buying jewellery from abroad or getting it through their family and friends who used to visit India. I believe that a perfect business opportunity lies in places where there is a gap. The Indian Jewellery market had that gap and I was confident that I would be able to use this opportunity and give the consumers what they had been longing in for a long time. Thus, in 2014 I launched my Fashion Jewellery brand Rubans with a humble investment of Rs 3 Lacs.
  2. When you began, did you ever imagine that you would come so far? What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
    When I started Rubans I started from a small 6×6 sq Feet kiosk, but, I always knew that I could create a brand that could be successful but never imagined that it would become a National brand so soon. When you are bootstrapped and start very small everything seems like a challenge. Initially retail for me was a new field and I had no knowledge of the subject but I somehow knew that I had the eye for designs and given a chance I will be able to create something substantial. Initially no mall agreed to give us the space as Rubans was not known to anyone so getting a space was a challenge. I called the manager of Forum mall every week for six months and only then he gave me a space there. Once I started in Forum I never looked back and opened six more stores in a span of three years. In 2018 we pivoted to online sales and when things seemed faring well, an unfortunate fire accident broke out in 2019 at our office premises and I lost everything that I had earned in the past four years. We lost all our stocks, office equipment and were literally on the road. I was shaken up but then I gathered myself and thought that what I had lost was the stock, but my brand was still there. So I restarted the whole hustle again and in the next four months we again listed ourselves back on the platform. This time we doubled our sales numbers and bounced back with double vigor.
  3. What aspects of the business do you handle?
    As a founder I work on all aspects that affect my business. I handle designing, marketing, imagery, finance everything. As an entrepreneur you need to know at least 80% of the things that happen in your business.
  4. Do women in your field have a hard time getting ahead in their career? Who inspired you and how?
    I feel that the journey is difficult for both men and women. For women the first struggle starts from making people believe that when they ask for a meeting time they mean business and they are not passing time. I have always been inspired by life and my loved ones. My drive comes from the fact that I want to create something meaningful that I can be proud of. I have been able to create an organisation, where majority of the workforce is women and I try to make sure that I help anyone who is looking for an opportunity to grow in life, something that I did not get when I needed in life.
  5. As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career? What have been the biggest highpoints in your journey so far?
    Accepting a female as a leader is difficult for a lot of men and women thus you will need to work extra hard to gain that respect. I have been able to steer the organisation from being an unknown brand to today being a National brand. I am well aware that the only way for me to succeed is to work extra hard than those people who have a support system backing them up. From my childhood I have been on my own and have seen times where I could not afford to have all three meals to a point, where I have a team of 100 people working with me. The biggest point is the satisfaction that I draw from the thought that today I am able to support many families and can make a small difference in their lives through Rubans.
  6. How good are you at planning your time? How do you balance work, other passions and life responsibilities?
    I always have short term and long-term plans drawn for myself and the organisation. I divide my plans into six monthly, weekly and daily tasks. I try to make sure that I accomplish the planned tasks before ending my day as I do not have a habit of procrastinating. I make sure that I create work life balance and indulge in cooking for my daughter as that is a stress buster for me. Playing with her every day calms my mind and helps in re-energising to take on the challenges the next day. I also like socialising, so I occasionally party with friends.
  7. What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
    My advice to women entrepreneurs will be to value what you do. Give importance to your work as when you respect what you do only then others will respect your work.
  8. How was your experience with Shark Tank?
    Shark Tank helped us become a household name overnight. We already had best in class products but being on the tank helped us reach out to a wider audience. If you have an idea or a business that can solve a problem of people then one must apply for the tank. The whole Shark Tank journey was a great experience as all the participants stayed in the same hotel and you get to know so many ideas that get pitched on the tank, some get selected and some do not. But meeting entrepreneurs and hearing their stories is inspirational. Once you reach the final pitching round the experience inside the tank in front of the sharks is enthralling.
  9. Have you ever been so discouraged you wanted to quit?
    I neither give that much authority to anyone, nor do I pay attention to negativity. In reality till you have proven your mettle, most of the people make fun of you, especially if you are a woman entrepreneur. Not giving up is directly connected to how much resolve you have or how passionate are you in what you are doing as negative chatter will always exist around you.
  10. What are some of the ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself?
    In order to stay grounded, one should look around and see that there are so many people who are much more successful than you, so, there is no reason for to get overconfident or complacent. Remember that after a certain level of humility and staying grounded is what will take you to the next level.