In my last post, i featured a few women entrepreneur who are setting an example for all of us aspiring women entrepreneur. This is an extension of that post , where i present to you the little interview i had with one of them.
Chetna Madan, a previous data scientist turned an aspiring women entrepreneur shares her experiences as a founder of an organic venture – Balmtree.
Can we have a little introduction of you?
I’m born and brought up in Delhi. I completed my B.Tech in 2016 from MDU, Rohtak and was working in MNC since then. Professionally I’m a data scientist and was working in a reputed organization before starting this business.
Tell us about your brand? A little about your products and what are the features that make them different from others?
BalmTree is founded with a goal to provide organic (chemical free) skincare and haircare products formulated with 100% natural ingredients. We believe that every individual has different needs when it come to the products we use as we all have different skin type and our own preferences. We believe in customizing our products at individual level.
How you decided to get into this business, a passion or how?
So someone recommended me one essential oil 3 years back for my hair problem. I hadn’t heard about them before so I started reading about them. I was quite impressed with the benefits they have and then I came up with creating soaps for myself and family. I had 10 different essential oils at that point of time. I found them quite beneficial not only for my skin and hair but for my overall health. I use to get tonsils atleast 2-3 times in a year along with fever. Before I use to take the complete course prescribed by my doctor but now I just use peppermint oil and voila my tonsils are gone in 1 day. So I thought about launching my own brand which will help people in every way possible. And the only thing is you should know how and which oil to use. They don’t have side effects as such but they are quite strong in nature so should be used with proper knowledge.
Was it hard to take the decision, to put in such hard work and leave a stable job?
Yes, it was quite a tough decision to leave a well paying job and start with something insane like this. Every business requires commitments and honestly I wasn’t afraid of that. But I mean you can understand leaving a well paying reputed job to start something like this, society thinks you have gone mad.
Do you work with a team?
No, I don’t work with team. I’m working alone on almost everything. From planning to execution, from making an order till dispatching it, from digital marketing to handling customers. However my family supports me whenever required.
how do you keep the rates competitive in such an extremely competitive market having so many people are in selling handmade stuff?
Whenever we talk about organic, we actually assume the rates will be quite high. But reality is if we think about long-term, than its like investment. For example almost all the soaps and shampoo contains paraben and according to researchers it can expedite breast cancer, and we use these products very regularly. So if we compare then we are saving ourselves from such problems. Now, coming back to your question my main challenge is convincing people to spend extra bucks on these organic products and than competing with my competitors is next thing. I’m trying my best and till now successfully delivering best products at best price.
How do you balance work and home?
I’m not married so I don’t have that extra responsibilities. It’s just that before I was working 9 hours for someone else and now I’m working 12 hours for myself.
Has ever been like you are losing it and how you worked up?
Honestly, I haven’t. I always feel like there’s lot more ahead. I can’t give up this soon.
what pushes you to continue, like how do you get motivated?
The appreciation, the reviews and the reorders. They really motivates me to do more. People don’t care about anything but the results. And touch-wood I have earned some good permanent customers and hoping to have more.
Who is more supportive from the family or friends?
Family always. My mom helps me a lot in this. We can’t buy all the ingredients from outside because we don’t get the quality. So we actually dry and grind few flowers, leaf, herbs at our own. My mom really help me in all those things and than my Dad helps me with all market related things. Also, few of my family and friends are in love with my products so they shop these products regularly.
Has ever been you became a target of relatives for taking up the business and leaving your job?
Of course, I mean everybody think that you have taken the wrong decision by leaving your job. My parents aren’t able to digest this fact till now. And I have heard this from every entrepreneur who have left his/her job to do something like this.
what do you think are the challenges that you faced because of being a women entrepreneur?
I’m quite strong when it comes to these things but you know parents are very possessive about your security. I need to buy all the raw material in bulk and going places to find the best quality at best price. I think the only issue is you can’t roam as freely even when you are doing business, this effect business a lot at some points specially in initial phases.
Is it an online business or offline or both?
Right now the focus is online only.
What are the challenges that you face as an online business ?
People don’t trust you that easily. You can’t provide COD because no courier company does that for few orders. People feel like you will cheat them and won’t send their order. Also, they feel hesitant to trust you and your products.
Do you sometimes feel it difficult to deal with customers, i mean getting the right choices for them and bargaining etc?
No, I never feel that way. I try to understand their problems and than provide them with the solutions. I welcome their questions. Honestly, I have few customers who have asked me 100 questions and I feel like satisfying them is one of the responsibility. Even they are new to this organic world full of essential oils, so I treat them right.
what are your suggestions for another aspiring women entrepreneur?. I mean the challenges they shall expect and be prepared with on their ways?
I’ll say if you have any idea in your mind, plan it properly and if you are confident enough than go for it. There are problems and risk at every stage of life, and you will learn a lot in this process.
Can you please share a short message for other women who would like to be like you someday?
There is no difference between you and me. It’s just that I have taken this step and you are still hesitant to take this step. If you will think and won’t take this first step you won’t be able to reach your goal. If you want to achieve your dreams just take that first step.
Apart from this if there is anything you want the audience to know?
I’ll say move to Organic Products. It’s bit costly than conventional produce but the underlying benefits are amazing and you can’t even think of them. Specially these Essential Oils, they are magical.
Thank you Chetna for taking out time from your busy schedule. I am sure my audience would have loved reading your experiences. I wish all the success for your venture.