Successful Women Entrepreneurs

Pushover Vs Humility: A Key Trait in Leadership Personal Branding

“Personal branding” and “pushover” have one thing in common….do you know what?

I hear you saying, ‘yeah…both words begin with the letter ‘P. Here you go…Hehehehe

Jokes apart, they are like Chalk and cheese.

How? Read ahead……

One of my clients asked me recently, One of my clients, aspiring Mid-level manager, asked me recently, “Suba, being a pushover is a trait of a #learner. Why is it considered a negative term? Isn’t it ok to feel influenced by someone whom we like?”

There is a difference between being a learner and a pushover.

A learner is someone who is always looking to seek knowledge from influential people, whereas a pushover is blindly or rather easily influenced by people who may not be that influential.

The traits of a leader would be completely contrasting to that of a pushover. Leaders are people who are bold and confident about every decision they make while on the other side; we have indecisive individuals.

I am certainly aware of how much we are the products of an influential society. We are repeatedly told by our parents and grandparents that ‘log kya kahenge’ – ‘what will people say?’

Pushover & Leadership Personal Branding

Let’s assess why emerging as a Good Leader is not everyone’s cuppa?

If the opinions of others influence us, we are also psychologically affected by them, which in turn hinders our ability to think independently. Then we are mere puppets of the society, executing orders of others.

How can you identify a ‘Pushover’ Leader?

  • Focuses majorly on ‘happiness quotient’ of teams and talks ‘what they want to hear.’
  • Concerned about being ‘liked’ by everyone but fails to lead the teams to achieve greatness
  • Identify ‘excuses’ for their ‘yes’ and ‘no.’
  • ‘I am sorry’, and ‘apologies’ are part of their every minute conversation

How can one come out of ‘Pushover Leadership’?

  • Give more job to your ‘ears’ than ‘talking.’
  • Get comfortable to say ‘I don’t know.’
  • Consciously Practice to ‘seek help.’
  • Get comfortable with making mistakes & failing (‘Design Thinking’ helps here to fail fast and stand up faster)
  • Invest ‘right’ for your team’s growth

I was having a conversation on this topic with my niece, Madhumita, a psychology student.

She said, “Aunty, I am proud to say that the millennial attitude is challenging Pushover Attitude. We have a better sense when it comes to being influenced and taking a stand what we feel right.”

That kept me thinking, “Can we expect better leaders in the upcoming days?”

Ok, coming back to our core, what is the connection between Pushover & Personal Branding?

Share what you think……

Successful Women Entrepreneurs

Mosquito Memory: Human Potential and Authentic Personal Branding

“Suba, I need to improve my memory skill. I think I forget many things nowadays. I am concerned that it could spoil while executing the personal branding strategies we create here.”

When a client shared it yesterday morning post-Personal Branding consulting session, we started discussing on how work is dominating our time and life. He is a C-Suite aspirant from the IT industry. I shared the speed reading techniques I have been acquiring that helps in keeping the memory skill intact.

The day went on……As I needed some inputs on Audio-books, raised a query in my LeanIn A2I circle group. Neha’s response raised my research antenna up….what did she mention?

Mosquito Memory…..

I started reading a lot on this. Health line article mentioned that researchers recorded the brain activities by setting helmets on mosquitoes.

How on earth could they have done that? The human potential always amazes me!

I have observed mosquitoes biting a group of people more. The researches continue to study the chemical combinations in the human odour that attracts mosquitoes so that they can find the right control measure. Mosquitos can identify the difference in the odour emanated by women, men, drunkard and all. Beer drinkers attract more. Researchers are identifying the pattern here; finding the preferences will help controlling mosquitos.

Interesting, isn’t it?

So, what is the learning, for us, human beings here?

I have been learning Kathak, Indian classical dance form, for the past two years. Learning along with 13 years olds is indeed a fantastic experience. Also, it made me realize how tough it had become to memorize the ‘Bol’ and relevant hand & leg movements. It took me a few months to understand absolute basics like identifying the changes in the tempo, etc., I let it go with the flow thinking that it is all to do with gracefully ageing.

Improving Memory Skill

When I took some effort in learning and practicing more with a goal to get better, I could grasp everything within a few weeks. That is also the time I had read relevant content in the book Get Better at Getting Better’ by Chandramouli Venkatesan, realized that I had to change my learning style to get better every day.

Few things that I have been doing to keep my memory skill intact

Repossession: In an attempt to create stories from my personal experience to share with my audience during the training session, I work hard to bring back memories from different phases of my life. I have reconnected with many from old days which has strengthened my network too.

Detailed Recording: Whenever I get an opportunity, I write things in detail. I encourage my clients by writing detailed reports after each interaction. Some blogs too, at times, it is good to write and publish things for our happiness beyond attracting the audience, Right?

Mindful Reflection: As I complete each task, consulting session, training or workshops for clients, I consciously evaluate and reflect what made me feel happy and where I should improve significantly. As we do more ‘Live’ sessions, ‘undoing’ certain things would be really tough. Learning to take a pause, reflect and ensure that I incorporate the corrective actions well. Here, listening to others feedback and thin slicing the information helps hugely. As I do this exercise with depth, it automatically helps in improving memory skill.

More to come…..

How do you improve your memory skill? Share in comments

About the Author:

Suba Lakshminarasimhan is a personal branding strategist and a career coach. The founder of SLN Brand Studio,  Suba has been supporting the professional growth of individuals by creating a growth path and executing strategy road map. Along with SMEs, she shares her experiences and learning through blogs in ‘Words of Wisdom’ website.

Successful Women Entrepreneurs

How often do you Re-define & Re-brand yourself?




The moments, people and experiences define and re-define ourselves

Here’s New Avatar of SLN Brand Studio – Almost a year’s project that came ‘Live’ this week!

Did you look at the Video unveiling New Avatar of SLN Brand Studio? If not, watch it first, please.

This few seconds Video has an authentic story of around 15 years.

Yes, I wanted to create a new Identity for SLN Brand Studio at the beginning of 2019 as I re-defined the services completely. As many projects were ‘in progress,’ wanted to finish off before closing ‘Business Writing’ vertical; moved on after a smooth transition.

I must thank Archana from my web designing firm, Webbazaar for continuous support. Many timely & practical suggestions by Archana are the key reasons I am a loyal client to Webbazaar. The second critical aspect is the continued support I receive from the design & development team, currently Stella and Yamini. Kudos to your leadership Shweta Shetty.

The awards and research paper presentations happening along the way, I kept the conversation going with many designers.

There is nothing sweeter than finding the right person to cherish and to share your hopes and dreams with ― Mary Lydon Simonsen, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy

At a crucial moment, thanks to Kavitha Garla, my friend & an excellent Mentor, a casual conversation led to connecting with an amazing designer. Yes, a very young, highly creative designer with appropriate Business Acumen, Raphaella Peters understood my vision, the values SLN Brand Studio has been adding to the clients and came up with the beautiful Logo. Thank you, Raphaella.

Highly recommend Raphaella for any branding collateral creation.

My gratitude to Viji Badri, Roopa Sampathkumar, Madhava Venkatesh, Sourish Ghosh, my Nephew, Niece and many friends & clients for sharing their thoughts on Iterations which helped me to fine-tune the new logo.

(Sub) Conscious Thoughts —-> Words —–> Experiences

It is not only the conscious thoughts but also the subconscious mind has higher power. This is a concluding thought of my reflection of life in 2009 – 2019.

Words Power

Recognition Changes the Way You look at Yourself

Harini Ramarathnam Nominated you for HerRising Award.’ It was a mail from Jobsforher on Jul 8th 2019 took a different turn in my Entrepreneurship journey. Neha Bagaria is one leader I look up to; Jobsforher is an entity I closely observed as they elevate the lives of career women. A journey to recognise a ‘different me’ and validation to many things that I had been doing started on that day. Harini transformed the way I looked at my success & growth. My gratitude Harini! A single share on social media led to flooding of mails, messages from across the globe, from my clients, well wishers and all the good hearts around kept my eyes moisturized the entire duration. My LeanIn community has a huge contribution here in the journey, voting process and finally, winning an Award. My Gratitude Harini, Neha Agarwal, Pranavi, Vaishali, Rashmeet, Ruchi, Swapna, Shruti, and many from my LinkedIn connects, FB connects, the community I live in…..the list is endless…..A group of women leaders cheering up loudly while I received the award and my family along with me. Great Moment Indeed!

Within few months, on 13th October, I received a message from my friend Manju, “Suba, you should nominate for this award.” The forwarded link took me to the registration form from for Digital Women Award. Answering the questions in that form was something I took up very seriously, introspection the journey time again. Waking up to tagging SLN Brand Studio on their FB post was yet another exciting day of 2019. Yes, I was one of the 50 shortlisted candidates! I just quickly had a word with my husband and booked my tickets to Delhi to be a part of the Conference; I didn’t think much about winning the award but didn’t want to miss an opportunity of meeting many women Entrepreneurs. When I heard my name announced as a Award Winner in ‘Marketing’ category, overwhelmed with joy and pride. Missed having my family along, but super happy to have a very good human being and a friend, Sambhavi with me.

Let me now take you through the journey a little back, to the start……

Phase I – While choosing the avatar, as a Resume & Content Writer in 2009, I had three critical elements in mind.  I should be able to (1) keep learning & growing (2) bring in relevance to my TCS experience (3) be in touch with the Industry.

That’s it. I had no other goal of becoming an Entrepreneur or having an entity then. But, , I had a name ‘SLN Global Writing Services’ while building my profile in any online platforms. Still wondering why I did this, beyond merely using my name?? Is it my sub-conscious mind or the good thought from people in my life? Guess, it is both…..

Here, I must thank Sudharsan; he replied with a list of questions as a response to my first mailer. Answering him at that point of time helped in defining the career plan accurately. His Trust & feedback was a tremendous boost then!

Phase II – Later, in 2010-11, when I started focusing on creating awareness and building clientele in India around ‘Resume Building’ vertical, I changed the name to ‘SLN Resume Design Pro.’ As I recall, I just spent 30 minutes of choosing this name, followed by two hours of creating a logo. India, as my target market led to doing a research on using Orange & Green in Logo. The descriptions such as ‘Powerful’ ‘Growth’ ‘Identity’ aligned very well with the Vision & Mission I had then, created a Logo using PPT.

SLN Brand Studio - Logo

Man, it was one Eureka moment when I finished designing the Logo, just with S in Orange & Green but didn’t share it anywhere.

Phase III – Along with adding value to the career growth of many individuals, the business and health-related challenges also grew. As I had taken up ‘Career Coach & Trainer’ role in 2013, a feeling of ‘missing something’ was growing strong as well and met its peak in 2015.

Phase IV – ‘Introspection’ was the only solace as I had restriction attending networking events or long hour meetings due to health reasons until 2014. Such moments are filled with doing many online courses, writing articles and studying books on ‘Business, People & Management.’ Such process led to identifying the ‘Personal Branding Strategist’ in me. A quick interaction with Chithra Kannan over a cup of steaming coffee at her house led to the birth of ‘SLN Brand Studio’ in 2016.

Meeting Archana, having my website up followed by registering as LLP, and rest is a Known Story.

Finally, New Logo is up…….

The moments, people and experiences define and re-define one…..Agree?

More Phases, People & their contributions as my experiences……..coming SOON……STAY TUNED……

Beyond Business, Passionpreneur, Successful Women Entrepreneurs

Divyaa D: An Enthusiastic Shlokapreneur, Founder Gurukulam, a Beautiful Journey of Transforming lives

“If you can make small children smile or laugh…..if you can even catch their attention, you definitely have a special skill, right? On top of it, if you encourage them in a right way where they want to come back to see you and attend your sessions, willingly & happily…. then that’s the true impact on little kids” Divyaa uttered these words with a big smile on her eyes.

The excitement, pride and happiness were so visible, and the energy started spreading positively in the room.

Divyaa D - Shlokapreneur
Divyaa D, Gurukulam, Shlokapreneur – SLN Brand Studio

Our Founder, Suba Lakshminarasimhan, in conversation with Divyaa, the Shlokapreneur who runs GURUKULAM, the first of its kind Online Shloka School. She founded Gurukulam in 2014, aiming at keeping traditional roots in place and supporting the kids abreast of cultural knowledge thereby tapping an area left untouched.

At present GURUKULAM caters to 50 kids across the globe and is on the verge of expansion in the years to come.

Suba: Working in a software company to founding Gurukulam. Divyaa, it must have been an exciting journey, right? Tell me all about how did this happen, the triggering moment.

Divyaa: “Thank you Suba for this conversation, that too, when I have received a ‘Special Recognition’ award from MSME world for the great things happening at Gurukulam. Yes, I would be more than happy to talk about how the journey started.”

Divyaa went into a deep thought and I allowed the time to pause….

After a few seconds, she regained her smile and said,  “I am a spiritually inclined soul Suba, always surrender to reciting shlokas, at ups and downs of life experiences, which kept me grounded. I have always been passionate about shlokas, carnatic music and classical art forms. I don’t have to sit and do any meditation, reciting few shlokas helped me to get into the serene mode quickly.

Prior to starting GURUKULAM, I was a Branch Head with a Software Testing Company, Suba. That was a period when I was undergoing a problematic personal life, and unsatisfactory professional experience.

And, during that challenging time, a thought occurred about changing my passion into profession. We have music schools, dance studios, art classes, a yoga center in every nook and corner of Bangalore, but I didn’t find even a single school or an entity dedicated to teaching shlokas. That’s how I founded GURUKULAM on 20th October 2014.”

Divyaa D - Shlokapreneur 3
Divyaa D, Gurukulam, Shlokapreneur – ©SLN Brand Studio

Suba: That’s nice to know Divyaa. I come across many women out there with unique ideas, but do not know how and where to start. I support them on their journey.  I am sure your story will inspire many out there.

Tell us about the struggles you faced when Gurukulam was an infant. Was it easy to create awareness?

Divyaa: “I started with six kids in my apartment in 2014. Creating awareness was not easy. Beyond business, I worked very hard in creating awareness on how important it is for the kids to learn shlokas and how it will help them in all ups and downs of life. I spoke to many parents and happy to see kids joyfully joining my classes.

I wanted to serve more and more in our society, keenly advertised and reached out to many parents. Today, we have more than 50 kids and, recently, our curriculum is a part of ‘Little Millennium, Vajarahalli Kanakapura Road’ pre-school. Working with Ms Rittuu Goel is one excellent experience.”

Suba: That’s awesome Divyaa. What do you think you have gained as a Founder of Gurukulam?

Divyaa D - Shlokapreneur 2Divyaa: “Anger management and practicing patience; I acquired these two virtues by interacting with the kids. Their innocence, thirst to learn, determination in practice, everything for the love & care I showcase made me realize many great things in life. They become my ‘Guru’ many times in acquiring various life skills.

Everybody is facing different battles. With little care and love, If I can change lives, how about adopting it as a part of my life. I give my best to everyone around me, try to improve positivity around me. I owe my students a lot and am grateful for bringing in such a transformation.”

Suba: Beautiful indeed Divyaa! Imagine the world full of kindness and love.

Now, tell me about the support system you have built. How do you manage your personal and professional life?

Divyaa: “Universe is indeed great in that perspective Suba, irrespective of various challenges I faced, I get tremendous support from my family who love me for what I am. Even if I am worried or feel helpless, without me telling, someone will show up and encourage me to take the next step.

And, the parents of my students are my pillar of strength. It has been five long years; each one of them travel with me with complete trust. Such trust is what keep me going. They are the reason GURUKULAM is growing day by day.”

Suba: Tell us more about your students and their age group. If someone wants to reach out, how can they do so?

Divyaa: “Gurukulam has a structured and well-drafted lesson plan Suba, designed based on in-depth research, experience and learner-centric approach. We have students in varied age groups.

Yes, even though we started with the little ones, we now have students who are C-Suite professionals, awesome Homemakers, Scholars and Professors. The appreciation and accolades we receive from such high profile students encourage us to do more research and keep adding critical elements in our lesson plans.”

Suba: We wish you & students a great journey together Divyaa. Your noble profession is indeed much needed for us all. Can you please share one thing for the Women Aspirants out there?

Divyaa: “Transform your passion into your profession no matter how much you can earn initially. It is not about MONEY all the time, but it is all about being HAPPY, CONTENT and feeling COMPLETE as an individual first. Believe me, rest will follow automatically. Challenges are inevitable. Keep your chin high and  pick yourself up no matter what the circumstances are.”

About the Interview: ‘Words of Wisdom’ Interview with Ms Divyaa D is an initiative for ‘Women Contentment Program,’ a Mentoring program for women.

Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder director, SLN Brand Studio conducted the interview. Women Contentment Program (WCP) focuses on elevating the lives of Women by helping them create a new career, get back to the career after a break, develop Emotional & Social intelligence and build a Personal Brand.

About the Company: SLN Brand Studio offers Consulting, Mentoring, CXO Resume Writing and Corporate training Solutions. Aiming at building the personal branding and career growth opportunities for working professionals, Students and Women with a Career Break, SLN Brand Studio has developed numerous customized solutions such as SPBQ, SVEP and SWCP.

Successful Women Entrepreneurs

Meet Varsha Savla: A Fashion Designer turned Entrepreneur, the amazing Journey behind Expressions by UV

Suba Lakshminarasimhan, SLN Brand Studio, Women Contentment Program, Varsha Savla
Suba Lakshminarasimhan interacts with Varsha Savla

Varsha Savla, Founder, UV creations, and a Creative Director & Fashion Designer in Expression by UV interacts with Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder Director, SLN Brand Studio.

UV Creations is a Design Studio that caters to the customized needs of styling for one and all. Expression by UV is the creative label of Varsha, which she has created after a lot of research as a designer. An act towards converting waste and developing sustainability model. More information on this below. More and more, Varsha’s love for fabrics is seen in all the products.

Suba: Varsha, glad to interact with you for #SLNNavathri’19 series. Thanks for your time. Tell us all about where and how you started?

Varsha: Indeed, a pleasure to be here Suba. Thanks for the inclusion. About my journey, I must say it is in Genes and, probably, a childhood passion that has taken a new shape now as UV creations. As I recall, adoring my mom and grand mom working on embroideries and building crafts with textile kindled a thought process behind my empire.

Varsha 9I studied fashion designing, had dreams of starting my own studio and joined as a head designer in an export firm in Mumbai. I thought of working in the industry for few years to gain the ‘right set’ of experience before starting anything on my own. Life was going as usual; as I was working hard to grow in the industry, life showed me a different struggle path. I got into bad marriage which left me an adorable son and a challenging life ahead. As a single parent, I had a humongous responsibility to take care of my son and my career growth.

Though I had tremendous support from my parents, I didn’t want my son to miss anything that he deserves. I was determined not to miss anything as a mom because of the change that occurred in my personal life. I took support from my father, with few thousands rupees investment, started UV creations. I started the engagement from home so that I could spend more time with my son.

That triumphant smile of Varsha indeed induced positive energy virtually.

Suba: That’s an extraordinary journey Varsha. I understand the ‘starting phase’ with considerable investment, balancing many things as a ‘solopreneur’ where every paisa counts.

Varsha: Complete agree here, Suba. Even though it was my passion, it was the need of the hour too when I started UV creations. People…..Suba, I met many wonderful people who helped to broaden my horizon and encouraged me to live my dream that I had since my college days. After experiencing various ups and downs as an Entrepreneur, I got registered as MSME with the help of Mawe, fortunate enough to attend its first International Meet.

That was ‘The Moment’ Suba. At the same time, the IIM’s Women Entrepreneur Program was also happening. I didn’t miss the opportunity and enrolled for the same. Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, I rediscovered myself and my UV creations. I joined myself as a Mentee in ‘Cherry Blair Foundation’ where wonder mentors helped me to shape up the business.

Learning every day from different people, various experiences has become a habit now Suba.

Varsha gave a hearty laugh.


Suba: Wow…..I loved the way you create positivity where people in different ways helped you to grow. I often tell my audience that ‘seeking help is an art which needs better clarity than helping others.’ I am sure you have this skill and utilize it also well Varsha. I am thrilled.

Ok, tell us about the significant struggles you had to face to deliver your products and how did you overcome such struggles?

Varsha: Thank you, Suba.

I faced a lot of troubles in the initial days. The biggest challenge was to get the right set of workers and train them. I was very empathetic, however, when they leave without any prior notice, I used to feel so stressed about quality and on-time delivery. I am focusing on building the right mindset in my team and train them well from various perspective.

The second biggest challenge is the price. It is still challenging at times to create awareness about the price for the customized & designer products. Our products are customized and not like the ones we regularly see in the shopping malls. India is one of the wealthiest countries in textile and craft heritage, but awareness among Indian consumer is one area that needs special attention. Especially, sustainable brands face such challenges in Indian market.

Suba: I get to listen to these challenges from many Entrepreneurs in my network. I have observed that most of the solopreneurs and entrepreneurs in the sustainable market treat the workers well. Mindset change in the worker community is something to be addressed. I also agree on the awareness of ‘value’ the consumers are getting in India.

Varsha, what is your ‘dream come true’ moment in this Entrepreneurial Journey?

Varsha: Our ‘Satva’ collection’s presence in Milan Fashion Week is indeed an excellent Milestone for me as an Entrepreneur and, ‘dream come true’ moment as a fashion designer. We collaborated with Ashtiani by Golnaz and showcased our sustainable fashion designs during the fashion week from 21st to 30th September 2019.

Suba: Very proud to know this Varsha, tell us about your brand ‘Expression by UV.’ I happily observe and look at the wave your products are creating under this label. How did you conceptualize this?

Varsha: Thanks for asking this question, Suba. I wanted to celebrate Craft, Indian Weaves and the Skill of our artisans who struggle to make their daily life. Looking at the waste materials after completing our products got me thinking for hours together. It was painful to see the textile creating the already spoiled ‘landfill.’ Moreover, hazardous chemicals disposed by fast fashion industry is a significant concern as well.


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This glamorous fashion industry contributes a lot on the landfill which was troubling me a lot. This is how a thought process behind ‘Expressions by UV’ was born, and today we are proud to be a part of sustainable industry doing good to our mother earth and earn a lot of happy customers.

We adhere to nature friendly skills combing it with style, and a good supply chain to make positive impressions on each life it touches. UV creations is a Studio for women who are globe-trotters, decision-makers and confident enough to make conscious choices for themselves and the planet earth.

Suba: Awesome. This is one question I ask all my candidates. Many women struggle or sit in their comfort zone because of one challenge. Managing life & career. How did you create an eco-system that helps you to balance your personal and professional life Varsha?

Varsha: This is a crucial and essential question, Suba. I always believed in the right working conditions and treat my team as family members. I have built a loyal team who help me in challenging situation. However, you know that apparel industry is still an unorganized sector and, sometimes you get into wrong hands. So my new learning is that to always have a backup plan, so the work does not suffer.

At the personal level, I had made my child independent from early years. He takes care of his things when I am not at home. My parents and family take care of my son when I am travelling. Specifically my Mom, my backbone at the home front. I have created a support system to take care of my son’s education too. However, I never miss spending Quality hours together with him and with the whole family.

Suba: Really impressed with the way you have taken steps to create an eco-system ,Varsha. I am sure many women out there who are struggling will wake up now and take up the responsibility to develop a support system to balance personal and professional life.

If I ask you to give ‘one’ suggestion or an advice to women followers, what would that be Varsha?

Varsha: Let me share something from my personal life again, Suba. When I decided to part ways with my husband, and, when I started UV creations in a small way and, while growing…..In all the stages, and, every day, I had/have people giving me good suggestions, showing sympathy, or, questioning my actions and talking ill on my back.

You know what, without judging anyone, I listen to everyone and everything. It was not at all an easy thing to do, but I was determined to have this as a habit. That is how I learnt how to filter information, take out the best and use it for growth. The information stayed in my filter went away, and I never gave a damn about it.

Believe in yourself and your ability. ‘Single mom’, ‘Amicable daughter-in-law’ ‘well-behaved daughter’ or any similar branding should never be the barrier for you to grow. But, create a right network, support system to start, survive and succeed which is very important. – Varsha Savla, UV Creations, Expressions by UV

About the Interview‘Words of Wisdom’ Interview with Ms Varsha Savla is an initiative for ‘Women Contentment Program,’ a Mentoring program for women.

Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder director, SLN Brand Studio conducted the interview. Women Contentment Program (WCP) focuses on elevating the lives of Women by helping them create a new career, get back to the career after a break, develop Emotional & Social intelligence and build a Personal Brand.

About the Company: SLN Brand Studio offers Consulting, Mentoring, CXO Resume Writing and Corporate training Solutions. Aiming at building the personal branding and career growth opportunities for working professionals, Students and Women with a Career Break, SLN Brand Studio has developed numerous customized solutions such as SPBQ, SVEP and SWCP.

Successful Women Entrepreneurs

A Journey of Neha Tripathi, from a Corporate Employee to a Host of ‘Neha Tripathi Talk show’: Online Platform that Shares Extensive Knowledge and Builds Employability Skills

Neha 2
Suba Lakshminarasimhan interacting with Neha Tripathi

Neha Tripathi, the Founder and Host of ‘Neha Tripathi Talk Show’ interacted with Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder Director of SLN Brand Studio. The talk show focuses on sharing knowledge to the world by interacting with the Experts and SMEs across domains through an online platform.

Neha is an Employability Mentor and has specialized to Coach Women on a Career Break. She is a Professional Speaker, loves to travel and explore the unsaid stories of Entrepreneurs.

Suba: Thanks for your time, Neha. Tell our audience all about how you started the talk show and triggering moments of your life.

Neha: Thank you, Suba, for having me as a part of ‘Word of Wisdom’ series. The journey has been exciting. After a decade of corporate experience, I felt the need to do more to the community. Amidst shining well and growing amidst challenges, there was a ‘feeling of missing something’ that triggered me to think more towards starting something on my own.

Neha 3I had a pool of questions, and I was literally lost in the start-up city with my idea of how to start. I networked massively and searched for answers, but it took me a lot of time and costed me beyond my expectations. Moreover, I didn’t have any business background, struggled a lot to learn the intricacies of building a business. Such struggles, learning from experiences made me decide that I could do a lot to the Entrepreneurs and launched ‘Neha Tripathi Talk Show.’ Our Vision here is to share all kinds of experience and expertise with the audience.

Initially, we launched the platform for women, but eventually we felt the need for men since a lot of interest was coming on our way from them as well. Hence we opened up the forum for everyone.

“Neha Tripathi Talk Show – A platform to learn, share and speak your heart out!!”

A smile from Neha indeed triggered a happy moment here. A sense of satisfaction.

Suba: That is quite a journey Neha. Conceptualisation is one thing, but Execution is where more challenges pop up, right? How did you push the boundaries and build this empire?

Neha: Rightly said, Suba. Taking that first step is a challenge. When we know how to proceed, rest becomes a part of it and can definitely be figured out. Few personal traits I must share here. I had always been a consistent and hard worker; all I needed was the right guidance which I received gradually. I understood that I needed to have a Mentor who can guide me to define my vision and then, the execution. It took me 6-8 months to find my first mentor. It all happened accidentally but thanks to social media where we can connect and nurture the network for ourselves. 

Next big challenge to me was the location. I had recently relocated to Bangalore, the start-up city and I hardly knew anyone. For the initial 6 months, I entirely focused on networking massively. Initially, I used to attend all the networking events, gradually, learnt how to choose the right event and build network consciously.

Suba: Hah….I can very well understand Neha. Getting such clarity and defining strategies for each trait is indeed the beauty of Entrepreneurship. Now, tell me, when it comes to your personality, any trait of yours, you had to change for survival?

Neha: Haha, not one, many Indeed….Let me list them out.

  1. I used to feel that my networking skills were exceptional, gradually identified a lot of areas that needed fine-tuning.
  2. I have always been a vivid reader all through my life, would pick any book/blog/article that anyone suggested. I realised that I was killing a lot of my productive time by doing so. I started to consciously pick the materials that I needed to learn at said moments.
  3. Emotional Management, still working on building a thick skin. I am sure you can understand what I mean.
  4. Invested huge in my learning process which I never did in my decade of corporate experience.

Neha and Suba had a good laugh as both could relate to many things from the list.

Suba: That’s quite an impressive list Neha. I can relate a lot here. What I observe is that not only you identified the weaknesses, rather areas of improvement, but also worked on them in the right way. And, yes, investing right for the continuous growth where I see a lot women hesitate to do. Happy to know that you have been investing right and reaping fruits as well.

I have an important question here. How did you build a support system to manage your personal & professional life?

Neha: Let me be honest here, Suba. I did not have to work on that at all. I am blessed to have a supportive family. My father always pushes me to aspire more in life, my in-laws love and care for me like their daughter.

The most important part of my life is my life partner. He has never ever questioned once during my entrepreneurial journey. Most of my weekends, I would be in meetings, attending events/ conference, reaching home late, skip cooking (mostly due to work and at times my lack of interest into it) but never ever I had to worry about it. When I enter home, my partner would be ready with the meal and a glass of water for me.

My family has supported in many others ways here Suba. Books especially gifted by my Father, younger sister, life partner make a great difference in my thought processes as well.

Again, I must mention my mentors like Jogesh Jain and Neeraja Ganesh and my virtual mentors like Vishen Lakhiani, YourStory Shradha Sharma who make a great difference in my way of working. I plan well to balance life and business. Suba, even though I have mentioned few names, when it comes to mentors, I have a long list, can’t cover everyone here.

Neha continued after a deep thought…..

Suba, I have learned a lot from many others too. Not only about what I should do, also what I should not do. I also observe and ensure not doing certain mistakes others do in the process of building a business.

Eventually, I became more of a silent observer which is truly contradictory to what I do on my Neha Tripathi Talk Show.

Neha gave a beautiful smile here which felt so satisfactory.

Suba: That’s great to know Neha. Family support is critical for both men and women to succeed in whatever they want to choose. What would be your suggestion for women who lack family support? One thing that you want to share with the Women Aspirants out there?

Neha: Ladies, please stop playing the victim cards. If you aspire to do something in life, it is your responsibility to make it happen. If you do not do it, understand that the purpose is not strong enough that could push you to convert that dream into reality. You need to thrive right to build a support system. 

When you see no support from your eco-system, it is time to change your communication. No one ever saw your vision, and that is the sole reason they do not understand it – Neha Tripathi

That’s one impressive finish to the conversation Suba, our Founder had with Neha Tripathi.

About the Interview‘Words of Wisdom’ Interview with Ms Neha Tripathi is an initiative for ‘Women Contentment Program,’ a Mentoring program for women.

Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder director, SLN Brand Studio conducted the interview. Women Contentment Program (WCP) focuses on elevating the lives of Women by helping them create a new career, get back to the career after a break, develop Emotional & Social intelligence and build a Personal Brand.

About the Company: SLN Brand Studio offers Consulting, Mentoring, CXO Resume Writing and Corporate training Solutions. Aiming at building the personal branding and career growth opportunities for working professionals, Students and Women with a Career Break, SLN Brand Studio has developed numerous customized solutions such as SPBQ, SVEP and SWCP.

Beyond Business, Mompreneurs, Passionpreneur, Successful Women Entrepreneurs

Continuous Growth – Janani Uppiliappan, the enthusiastic educator shares her secret with SLN Brand Studio

Janani Uppiliappan is a passionate educator, founder of Sai Vruksha Academy. Started with 10 students in 2014 to teach creative writing, Janani is now running numerous batches training phonics, creative writing, and grammar and enhancing the lives of numerous students. She has been teaching Phonics, Hand-writing, Creative Writing that enrich the vocabulary, writing and speaking the English language skill among students.

“Beyond core skills, the parents are happy seeing the improved self-confidence, discipline and habit forming in children.” Janani mentions proudly. 

Storytelling being her core strength, the students adore their ‘favourite mam’ and rush to attend her classes. Janani is thriving to take the fear, stress and anxiety associated with learning English through her fun and creative methodologies.

SLN Brand Studio, Women Contentment Program,
Janani Uppiliappan, Sai Vruksha Academy

Happy children……happier parents……the most delighted teacher.

“Continuous learning is the reason I continue to grow in what I do and deliver the best,” Janani says with a smile.

Suba Lakshminarasimhan, the founder of SLN Brand Studio, spoke to Janani Uppiliappan and shares the key learning from the journey of Sai Vruksha.

Read ahead…..

Suba: Janani, What are all the educational credentials you have related to your current job?

Janani: As the Founder of Sai Vruksha Academy, I am currently educating children of 4 to 13 yrs age group on Phonics, Creative Writing, Hand writing. Basically the children are equipped with speaking and writing in English very well like a champion. I am a certified trainer on Phonology from the American Tesol Institute. I also had accomplished Jolly Phonics, and Jolly grammar certification and ISO certified handwriting and speed writing coach.

A recent addition is a Certification on Story Telling by Eric Miller, the Director World Story Telling Institute.

Janani with kids
Sai Vruksha Academy

Suba: How do you choose the courses & institutes in this Journey to study further?

Janani: (with a proud smile) Born in the family of teachers & headmasters, I had identified a flair towards teaching since my childhood. Becoming a teacher when I decided to re-start my career was a conscious decision that I took. To comply with the modern day requirements and my passion for teaching the kids the essential skills, I started with the Phonology certification course from The American Tesol Institute.

As I continue to identify various needs in children, I equipped myself with further education. Beyond a mere certification, I am always keen on learning from the right places and experts, I chose the institutes very carefully.

Story telling workshop Chennai
Story Telling Training – Eric Miller

I want all my students to get the best from the global educational systems and methodologies, I happily invest on my continuous education.

Notably, the recent addition in my repository is the certification on ‘Story Telling’ by Eric Miller. Attending the workshop itself was a lifetime experience. Beyond the core skills, I learnt hugely from the Master himself.

I spend quality time researching for the right training & educational institutions to deliver the best for my students.

Suba: Janani, Tell me about the investments you have made on personal growth strategies

Janani continued with a keen interest.

Janani: Yes, I have invested huge in terms of time, effort and money. Managing the classes, family and studying, time was in fact predominantly a demanding element for me. The best part here is the strategies I developed to manage career and family. I am sure you would agree with me, without investment in personal development, it would be very tough to grow in any career, right?

Suba agreed with a nod and continued with the subsequent question.

Story Telling by Janani Uppiliappan
Story telling by Janani in Chennai

Suba: How frequently you plan to do courses for continuously growing?

Janani: I am in touch with my industry, user base through the process of continuous learning. I have developed my continuous learning process into two categories. One is day to day learning which is happening on the job. I learn huge every time I come with the new set of worksheets, new fun formula to teach my kids. The second category is learning from the masters, industry experts by attending workshops or training programs, which varies based on the skill I want to build.

Suba: Specific guidance you want to give our viewers related to ‘growth and continuous learning.’

Janani: “Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow” – Anthony J. D.Anglo

Teachers play a huge role in developing the society and responsible community. English language and communication skill make a great difference in the way professionals grow. It is important to focus on improving the language skill in children from the early years  – Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder Director, SLN Brand Studio

About the Interview‘Words of Wisdom’ Interview with Ms Janani Uppiliappan is an initiative for ‘Women Contentment Program,’ a Mentoring program for women.

Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder director, SLN Brand Studio conducted the interview. Women Contentment Program (WCP) focuses on elevating the lives of Women by helping them create a new career, get back to the career after a break, develop Emotional & Social intelligence and build a Personal Brand.

About the Company: SLN Brand Studio offers Consulting, Mentoring, CXO Resume Writing and Corporate training Solutions. Aiming at building the personal branding and career growth opportunities for working professionals, Students and Women with a Career Break, SLN Brand Studio has developed numerous customized solutions such as SPBQ, SVEP and SWCP.

Mompreneurs, Successful Women Entrepreneurs, Women E-Commerce Entrepreneurs

Chaitali Chauhan, ChefD: The Brain Behind a Recipe Kit that Makes Cooking Easier and Creates Healthier Community

“There are two places always crowded, and one place, kind of compliment the other’s business. Any guesses Suba? Let me give you a clue, there is ‘pun’ intended,” smilingly asked Chaitali.

This conversation occurred when I met her a year back to discuss brand strategy and content architecture for the new product company she launched.

We laughed out loud when I kept guessing and giving some random answers. Very few business-meetings become very close to my heart, that day was one among those few.

“Hospitals and Eateries Suba. I often wonder the connection between the crowd in the Fast Food Joints, Restaurants and Road Side Vendors with the increasing crowd in the Hospitals.”

Indeed thought – provoking. I personally believe that I become what I eat. The food has an impact on the way the hormones act and so the reaction in the physical, emotional and mental health.


Chaitali Chauhan, ChefD

Chaitali continued, “I munched on the reasons why do we eat out. If you think hard, many times we get bored to cook variety as it involves buying the ingredients. Either we may not find the right ingredient to make the dish or buying in bulk where ¾ go waste after we cook the new dish once or twice.

Eating out is an easy solution, right? I continued to munch on and wanted to find ways where one cooks whatever he/she wants without worrying about spending too much. This solution should be definitely healthy, cost-effective and easy to cook too.”

My curiosity doubled at that moment.

Before we move on, few words about Ms. Chaitali Chauhan, Co-Founder, ChefD. Chaitali, mom of two handsome boys, is an Engineer with solid Industry experience, took a break from her career when she had her first kid. Being a creative person, born in Gujarati family, as the tradition encourages, Chaitali has done various artworks in clothes. Using such skills, she founded ‘Silk n Fusion’ focusing on upcycling, designer clothing arena; she re-started her career journey when her first son was around a year old.

Due to various reasons and when she had her second boy, she had to close the business. However, the learnings were huge during the tenure.

The thought about food and diseases kept ringing in her mind and led to a beautiful entity. I listened as she continued after a deep thought for few seconds.

“Such thoughts kept lingering my mind, I came across an experience when I was in a local grocery store. There was a young girl, looked like a college girl, talking over the phone asking about various ingredients. She looked as if she had never done any cooking. I volunteered to help her gather the list of things she wanted. While interacting with her, I realized the situation these millennials are in.

Many men and women in this digital world do not even know certain ingredients like hing, turmeric exist. They do not know how to identify and differentiate various lentils, oils, and other ingredients.  I must say that I was stunned.

I was equally stunned when I heard Chaitali’s experience. Food is an integral part of any culture to exist and survive, especially Indian way of cooking is considered healthy worldwide.

ChefD Product

Recipe Kit,

“That is when the idea about ChefD came into existence. ChefD solves a basic problem – that an average working family faces today – having access to a healthy and delicious meal.

You check the menu on our website. Choose the one you wanted, check out by adding the numbers and complete payment process, you will receive the recipe kit within the allotted hours.

Say, you order Bisi Bele Bath’ kit from our menu, you will receive the ingredients including the fresh vegetables neatly numbered, packed along with the easy to follow recipe card. You just have to follow the instructions in the card and cook,

Viola! Home cooked, healthy meal is ready. You need not have any formal training in cooking. We make you a Chef.” Proudly said Chaitali.

ChefD has become a familiar name among young working professionals and budding Entrapreneurs.

I met Chaitali again last week in order to gather more information to share with my beloved readers.

“Congratulations Chaitali, I am happy to see ChefD benefiting many out there. Can you please brief about the few challenges you faced initially? How did you overcome such challenges?” I asked.

“Sure Suba. With ChefD, I wanted to do everything right from the beginning. I had experience handling various issues during ‘Silk n Fusion’ days.

That’s the reason I joined hand with Mr. Uday Rathod who has tremendous experience in managing multiple businesses. Right from product design to Quality, whatever concerns and queries I had, I sought help from the right people. I learnt to define the concerns and seek the right help from right professionals.

I appointed an Auditor who helps with Finances, Uday for Strategic decisions, you for content architecture, of course, my husband Kirthi who is my ‘go to’ person for all concerns and guidance. I decided to take one step at a time, but do it right at the first time.”

ChefD 2

Chaitali Chauhan, ChefD @ Awfis

I was impressed with the way she has been building the company confidently, steadily and strategically by investing in professional support and seeking help in the right way from the family.

“That is indeed brilliant strategy Chaitali. It has been one year, right? Is there any specific challenge you came across in recent times? If so, how did you resolve it?”

“Oh, yes Suba. Even though I have managed Accounts, Finances during my corporate and earlier Entrepreneurial journey, there were hiccups I faced with the introduction of GST and all.  ChefD being a product company, handling the cash flow was very challenging, especially since our entity is a bootstrap.

And, as I was taking a keen interest in managing the finances of the company, I realized that in today’s times, it is also very important to manage personal finances well; the right structure and methodical planning is key here.

And, this quest led me to join the APC channel of Kotak Group of Companies and I completed the 6-day course at Kotak Life Insurance Company. I am now a licensed Financial Services Consultant for Life and Health Insurances, studying towards getting licenses and being able to handle other financial products. And now, not only

I am able to manage my Finances well; I also guide people in managing their finances and investments. Every day is a learning but I am highly confident about my positioning now.”

ChefD 3

Recipe Kit, ChefD Menu

What is one thing that you would like to tell women on a career break or those who want to start something new?

“It is never too late to start something that you love. Keep an eye on your goal that you want to reach. Remember, only your actions can make things happen. And, as I read somewhere……If you find a job you love, you never have to work a day in your life.”

Profound Indeed! I wished Chaitali and ChefD the very best! I also spend quality hours looking at different recipes, the numbering of the ingredients, clear instruction, and most importantly, ChefD takes good care of the packing.  I am sure, ChefD will make the world best chefs at each household and develop a healthier Community!


Seeking help strategically is an art. Do your homework well, Invest right to get professional guidance, ask right questions to gain family support. Win over this World” – Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder, SLN Brand Studio.

About the Interview‘Words of Wisdom’ Interview with Ms Chaitali Chauhan is an initiative for ‘Women Contentment Program,’ a Mentoring program for women.

Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder director, SLN Brand Studio conducted the interview. Women Contentment Program (WCP) focuses on elevating the lives of Women by helping them create a new career, get back to the career after a break, develop Emotional & Social intelligence and build a Personal Brand.

About the Company: SLN Brand Studio offers Consulting, Mentoring, CXO Resume Writing and Corporate training Solutions. Aiming at building the personal branding and career growth opportunities for working professionals, Students and Women with a Career Break, SLN Brand Studio has developed numerous customized solutions such as SPBQ, SVEP and SWCP.

Mompreneurs, Successful Women Entrepreneurs, Women E-Commerce Entrepreneurs

Jaya Shukla, Tushions, the Leading E-Commerce Cloth Diaper Entity in India: IIT-IIM Alumni Turned Mompreneur with a Mission to Reduce ‘Diaper Landfills’

“You know what Suba…..We always say that India’s biggest strength is the workforce. However, if you dig deeper, you will realize that the skilled workforce pool is much smaller. It is not just about IT or other white-collar jobs but also in all other areas. When it comes to Tushions, ‘stitching’ for instance, even though we have tailors available at every nook and corner, there are a very few who can actually do a professional and consistent job.”

The very first words from Jaya Shukla, the founder of Tushions, made me straighten up as I was sipping coffee at her Home-office. I continued listening before shooting my questions.

Tushions 2
Jaya Describing the Product, the latest release from Tushions to Suba

Tushions is the fast-growing Cloth Diapering Retailer in India, founded in 2015. Started with retailing cloth diapers from the best brands across the world to create their own brand – Green Diapers. Jaya is an IIT-IIM graduate who founded Tushions after a decade in the corporate world. A mother of 2 beautiful boys aged 3 years and 1 month, she has now joined the bandwagon of a new breed of entrepreneurs – ‘The Mompreneur.’ An inspiring journey follows……

“To manufacture these diapers in India, we need a skilled workforce, whereas most of the tailors available do not have the desired finesse required by a branded product. So, I am currently spending a lot of time, working with the selected tailors to guide them on how to make these diapers, to meet world-class standards. Sometimes, it takes weeks before a worker is ready to make the actual diaper which can be sold.”

“Oh…weeks, Is it? Reminded of Colin Powel’s words, ‘Dream doesn’t become a reality through Magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work.’……tell me Jaya, about your dream? Where and how did it start?” Jaya gave a warm smile when I asked her.

I could sense that her mind is travelling a few years down the memory lane.

“Immediately after my IIM, I happily joined the corporate world, was growing very well and making significant progress in many ways. I got married, had my first boy, worked until the day I delivered my son. My boy changed my life altogether. Our son was a frequent pooper, and prone to Eczema, I used to replace at least 12 disposable diapers a day. We even had a big dustbin dedicated for this. At the end of the third month, we had spent more than Rs.10,000 on the disposable diapers.

Jaya - Tushions 1
Jaya, Founder of Tushions, the leading Cloth Diaper Entity

Everyone who visited us, especially the elders, recommended that we used nappies instead of disposable ones. I have a habit of not ignoring the suggestions, always try to reason out things. When I decided to understand the reason behind ‘why NO disposable diaper’ the information about the ‘landfill’ quite shocked me. Every time, when I was disposing the diaper on the dustbin, my guilt was going high up.

At the same time, changing a nappy every 15 minutes was turning about to be quite difficult; when a friend told me about ‘modern cloth diapers.  I could not believe that such a product actually existed. I finally ordered one from the US, waited a month for it to reach here, tried it and Viola! 

A moment of truth!” chuckled Jaya and I reciprocated too.

“We started with retailing the best cloth diaper brands from across the world and then graduated to creating our in brand – Green Diapers. We design our diapers keeping the Indian climate and preferences in mind. Some of our diapers prints are so popular, that customers buy baby clothes to match them and plan photo shoots around it.”

“Great, but you were working, right? How did you manage work as well Tushions? Not only Women, but many men also undergo the dilemma of how to work between a day job and the dream.”

I was very curious while asking this question.

“It was one highly challenging time for me Suba. The idea about Tushions happened when I was on maternity leave. Unlike many women struggling to Join work post maternity, I had a perfect support system at workplace and home. When we were discussing leaving the full-time cushy job and starting something on my own, that too, with some vague picture on how to go about it, all my well-wishers including my parents were concerned.

It was my Husband and Mother-in-Law who completely supported me to start it. Looking at my son and the guilt trip while changing his diaper every few hours pushed me harder to achieve my dream.”

“That’s one inspiring Journey Jaya……Entrepreneurship is not that easy, right? Especially, ‘you’ as a person, any specific challenge you would like to share with my audience?” 

I sharpened the listening mode for new learnings.

“Oh yes, even though I love to be a part of gatherings, have a huge friends circle, being under the ‘limelight’ is one thing I am not very comfortable with. I am challenging my ‘mindset’ and coming out as the ‘face of Tushions.

I realized that the brand is the embodiment of my values and beliefs. Recognizing and addressing such beliefs is a continuous process for me as well my brand’s growth.” smiled Jaya with determination.

Each one of has some ‘comfort zone’ to come out of in each phase. Isn’t it?

Jaya - Tushions 2
Jaya at the Guinness event- Great Cloth Diaper Change

A cry from her newborn (1-month-old) as if acknowledging her words brought us back to reality. She excused herself.

Jaya returned after 20 minutes as I was munching on the discussion we had so far, used that time to collate information for the write-up.

“Tell me about the challenges you face with the product, customers and the business overall?”

“The primary challenge I face is creating awareness about the importance of using cloth diapers. It is beyond Business & Revenue growth for the brand. We have already polluted our beautiful earth, knowingly and unknowingly. I am happy to see the measures taken by the government and us human beings. But, still, the disposable diapers are the vast part of ‘landfills’ all over the world.

The cloth diapers are our ancient system, we were using ‘langots’ or ‘old saree or a dhoti’ as diapers, right? The disposable diapers signify 30% of non – biodegradable waste. The environment majorly is spoiled in the past 20 years when we started using the disposable ones. Even though life becomes more comfortable, each disposable diaper stays on the earth for 500 years. Yes, longer than plastic bags and products.”

I was quite shocked as well hearing this.

“I understand Jaya, mother in me has another question here. All these cloth diapers require a lot of effort to clean and maintain, right? I remember my son soaking it with a single poop or pee. Do you have a solution here?”

“Yes Suba, there is a huge difference between ‘Nappies’ and ‘Cloth diaper.’ One generation of parents is strongly brainwashed through various enticing advertisements that only ‘disposable diapers’ can make the babies sleep well. The modern cloth diapers have come a long way. The parents of today are so fortunate to have a fantastic alternative.

Tushions come with safe, convenient to use cloth diapers which can be put on babies for almost 12 hours. Moreover, our customers equally feel excited whenever we introduce a new product. We also make sure they look good, focus on bringing contemporary design in our products. I am more an ‘R&D’ ian than a Founder when it comes to our customers.”

The smile was indeed infectious, and I wished Tushions a great success before bidding adieu.

“Open Mind, Reasoning and the Right Questioning can do wonders in lives” – Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder, SLN Brand Studio

About the Interview‘Words of Wisdom’ Interview with Ms Jaya Shukla is an initiative for ‘Women Contentment Program,’ a Mentoring program for women.

Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder director, SLN Brand Studio conducted the interview. Women Contentment Program (WCP) focuses on elevating the lives of Women by helping them create a new career, get back to the career after a break, develop Emotional & Social intelligence and build a Personal Brand.

About the Company: SLN Brand Studio offers Consulting, Mentoring, CXO Resume Writing and Corporate training Solutions. Aiming at building the personal branding and career growth opportunities for working professionals, Students and Women with a Career Break, SLN Brand Studio has developed numerous customized solutions such as SPBQ, SVEP and SWCP.

Mompreneurs, Passionpreneur, Successful Women Entrepreneurs

Vijayalakshmi Prakaash, Hobby Clusters: The Passionpreneur Changing the Lives of Classical Art Aspirants

“Entrepreneurship has been there in my thoughts since my childhood. However, life took me on a different route. After completing MBA in HRM, I got wonderful opportunities to work as the HR professional in the leading MNCs like ‘Accenture.’

Yet, the feeling of ‘missing something’ always lingering in my mind, one beautiful day, I took the plunge. I chose to do something which is very close to my heart. Yes, as a passionate Bharatanatyam dancer, I decided to start my journey in the field of the classical art form. The first thing that I did was quitting my day job.”

Vijayalakshmi Hobby Clusters1
Suba Lakshminarasimhan, SLN Brand Studio Interviewing Vijayalakshmi, Hobby Clusters

The words from Vijayalakshmi with such calmness and measured tone amazed me. The interaction with her began when I joined ‘Kathak’ in Hobby Clusters; all fresher learners. Within 3 months, our team of enthusiastic dancers got an opportunity to perform on stage as a part of Hobby Cluster’s annual program two months back. That is when I met Vijayalakshmi for the first time. I was infact stunned to see her carrying a small baby in hand. Yes, a new mom organizing such a grand event collaborating with numerous teachers and students, I was genuinely impressed.

We met another day again at my place for this interview.

“Tell me more about your Journey Vijayalakshmi,” I prepared myself to learn more.

“Everything started with Dance Suba. My mother & my first guru, Smt. Thangam Srinivasan is the great inspiration in my life. She is a singer and a dancer who got an opportunity to learn from the esteemed Guru Paramparas; She learnt music from Smt. Neela Ramamurthy, the daughter of Papanasam Sivan and dance from the descendants of Vazhuvuraar.

Later, I learned the intricacies and sharpened my dancing skill from the renowned Guru Shri. Narayanan. I am one blessed person to have had my Arangetram at the famous Nataraja Swamy Temple in Chidambaram when I was 14 years old.”

She paused and went into deep thought; I felt as if I was standing in Chidambaram temple watching her performance.

I never stopped learning; beyond winning or losing the competitions, I focused on in-depth learning, assiduous practicing, and completed graduation in Bharatanatyam as well. When I wanted to take up an Entrepreneur journey, my gurus only flashed in my thoughts. Whatever I am today is because of each one of them, their timely guidance and passion.

It is imperative that the ambitious students get the right guru for accomplishing their aspirations. Moreover, I have always cherished moments working with kids. With a vision to connect the students with the right teachers, founded Hobby Clusters in 2012.”

“Fascinating journey indeed Vijayalakshmi. That must be one brave decision to leave the full-time job, right?” I asked.

“Yes Suba, it definitely was a hard decision. Financial independence is significant to me. When you start to do something, it may take a while before you see any money in return. However, I was very confident about my passion, ability and, as I told you earlier, I have always been thirsty about continuous learning.

The most important aspect in Entrepreneurship is ‘the investment.’ I had two investment choices; one is to invest money, build an entity by hiring people to support me. The second option is to dedicate and invest ‘time,’ learn and do things without any hesitation. I chose the second path.”

I let her pause for few seconds without interfering her thoughts. Listening without filling the silence moments is one skill I acquired in recent times as I interact more nowadays.

Vijayalakshmi continued with a warm smile, “I defined my strategy first. Introducing the syllabus-based quality teaching where the students become the qualified performers is my mission. I started connecting with the aspiring students. Establishing the connection with the students’ & parents and gaining their faith was very challenging initially. I spent my time getting to know more about the market, students and their exact requirements.

Similarly, I spent quality hours searching for the talented teachers who can match with the student’ requirements. All these teachers and the students are the pillars and the reason behind where we are today. Now I have amazing teachers for vocal Carnatic & Hindustani, Music Instruments, Various classical dance forms, and sports who are spread all over Bangalore. I am very proud to say that we will soon be UNESCO certified too.”

Vijayalakshmi Hobby Clusters2
Hobby Cluster’s Annual Day 2018 at MLR Convention Hall, Bangalore

“That’s fantastic. Congratulations Vijayalakshmi.” I was equally pleased, continued my questioning, “What kind of challenges you are facing nowadays? How do you manage such challenges?” 

“When this digitized world is moving fast, people expecting quick results without realizing the importance of learning the basics well is posing a lot of challenges for us the teachers. I work closely with the parents and make them understand the intricacies the students must learn. Fortunately, many parents are very cooperative, they know the importance of time one must give for the learning curve and hours one must dedicate for the practice.

And, personally, as you know, my daughter is 5 months old. There is learning every day. She is my priority. I must mention here about the support I get from my husband. Prakaash extends his support and backing in all possible ways; right from taking care of the baby completely when I am working. My ‘go to’ person whenever I am facing challenges in the business.

When it comes to my capability to manage challenges, I must give credit to my ability to organize my time appropriately and balance things well so far. Spending more time in planning helps in executing things well.”

“Do you have anything specific to share with the fellow Women Aspirants who are struggling to manage family and work?”

Focus and priority are the two sides of the coin. If you look at people struggling to balance life, both their focus and priority is work. Then starts the ‘guilt trip’ leading to living life where there is no ‘contentment.’

Keep the primary focus on the family, prioritize activities based on the situation. Set a goal that benefits your long-term growth, and learn how to manage your time well. Little compromises here and there will help in balancing work and family well. Infact, not only women, this can apply to men too.

Isn’t life all about ‘Give’ and ‘Take’?

It was one satisfying interaction as I wished Vijayalakshmi and Hobby Clusters team!

“Living ‘just’ a life or Celebrating Life amidst ‘odds’; Choice is yours” – Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder, SLN Brand Studio

About the Interview‘Words of Wisdom’ Interview with Ms Vijayalakshmi Prakash is an initiative for ‘Women Contentment Program,’ a Mentoring program for women.

Ms. Suba Lakshminarasimhan, Founder director, SLN Brand Studio conducted the interview. Women Contentment Program (WCP) focuses on elevating the lives of Women by helping them create a new career, get back to the career after a break, develop Emotional & Social intelligence and build a Personal Brand.

About the Company: SLN Brand Studio offers Consulting, Mentoring, CXO Resume Writing and Corporate training Solutions. Aiming at building the personal branding and career growth opportunities for working professionals, Students and Women with a Career Break, SLN Brand Studio has developed numerous customized solutions such as SPBQ, SVEP and SWCP.

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