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Tanvi Agarwal, Co-founder, House of Ekam, and mompreneur, hustles hard both at her venture and home. Read on as she takes us through her journey as a mompreneur, and talks about how she empowers small artist clusters from villages with her business.
Tanvi Agarwal dons multiple hats. She is a one-woman army who manages her home decor boutique of exclusive hand-made furnishings, conceptualizes designs, coordinates with artisans, handles social media, and even packs orders for customers - all of it while being a mother to a toddler! Whatever little spare time Tanvi gets, goes to her baby or to binge-watching a few Netflix shows or traveling. A master in mathematics, Tanvi has had stints at reputed organizations like EY, FabFurnish, and HomeCredit India until the entrepreneurial bug finally bit her when she started her own brand House of Ekam.
In a candid conversation with JustHer, Tanvi spoke about how a woman working from home has evolved into an entrepreneur, empowering not only herself but also the rural artists long-lost in the haze of modernity.
JustHer: How did the idea for House Of Ekam come about?
Tanvi: It all started with my nature of job at Fabfurnish.com. I was introduced to the world of home furnishings there and that is where it all began. Seeing a genuine gap in the Indian market for well designed affordable handmade home furnishing and decor products, the idea for House of Ekam was born. We noticed that all exquisite made in India decor pieces were generally exported and these big export houses, consisting of small artist clusters, never wanted to sell it in the Indian market. We (me and my husband Brij) decided to launch House Of Ekam to empower these small artist clusters from remote villages while giving exceptional quality to the Indian consumer, at affordable prices.
The journey has been amazing. It makes us immensely happy to see this market grow and realising that we are able to revive some old handicraft traditions such as block printing, grass weaving in Odisha, Mashru silk in Gujarat and more.
JustHer: What are the most exciting and most challenging aspects of being a mompreneur? How do you strike the balance between both the worlds?
Tanvi: Well, everyday is a hustle when you're running your own venture. The greatest gift is that you are your own boss. However, it comes with its own set of challenges - never getting a weekend off, trying to reinvent the wheel everyday - all of that, along with managing a 2.5 year toddler. I'll be lying if I said one can manage being both an entrepreneur and a mother. There are some days when I give 100% attention to my baby and vice versa. But one thing that being a mother has taught me is multitasking. I have worked on the laptop while breastfeeding my baby and have also taken him on so many business trips. Now, multitasking is the one thing I am a pro at.
JustHer: What roadblocks did you face in your journey as an entrepreneur?
Tanvi: Roadblocks are a way of life for an entrepreneur. From not being taken very seriously by people (because I was a woman working from home), to now multitasking being a mother and an entrepreneur, it is definitely a struggle to keep the journey going, while keeping the mom guilt away.
JustHer: What is it that keeps you motivated every day?
Tanvi: There are tonnes of things that keep me motivated, ranging from reading our customer feedback to being able to make a change in the artisan's life or to designing new products. My family, especially my husband have been extremely supportive and have motivated me all along.
JustHer: Who all inspired you along your entrepreneurial journey?
Tanvi: There have been a lot of moments of inspiration along my entrepreneurial journey but I would give my mother the top spot. She herself is an entrepreneur and an accomplished jewellery designer. She started her own business at the age of 40 and seeing her put in those extra hours everyday while managing the house, inspired me a lot.
JustHer: You are an empowered woman who is empowering others. How does it feel to be making a difference in the lives of artisans?
Tanvi: The best part about running this business is the fact that I am in a position to empower other women and bring about a change in the lives of artisans. It is surely a humbling feeling and encourages me to work even harder.
JustHer: What other things do you see yourself accomplish apart from work, some years from now?
Tanvi: Apart from work, I would definitely want to do a professional course in textiles and merchandising, take up piano lessons again and learn to paint.
JustHer: Among all the hustle you get through, how do you manage to take care of your fitness?
Tanvi: I have been training with a personal trainer for about 5 years now and I love it. I do high energy cardio, weight training and yoga/kickboxing 3-4 times a week. I also rely on a lot of desi nuskhas ranging from having ginger and gooseberry juice in the morning to drinking a lot of water and practicing portion control.
Tanvi’s 5-point Advice For Women Aspiring to Be an Entrepreneur
1. Financial independence is a must and not to be taken lightly.
2. There will never be a right time to start something - NOW is the time.
3. Have a clear plan of what you want to achieve and stick to it.
4. Don't get bogged down by people commenting over your business. The only thing that matters is you and your growth.
5. Once you find your passion and have built something from scratch, be sure to nurture it, protect it, and most importantly, don’t be scared to experiment.
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