We all understand how crucial it is to have women oriented policies for women employees. But 5HT is a startup that has already made a big difference by offering paid menstrual leaves to its women workers. Apart from offering exceptional spa and salon services to the customers at the comfort of their homes, this startup has surely impressed the team of SoS with its compassionate approach. Here, is the interesting interview with the founder, Valarmathy Viswanathan.
SoS: Can you explain your business?
Valarmathy: Well, we are a wellness company. 5HT – Home Spalon is the wellness arm. This is Chennai’s first professional home Spalon service. We are in our third successful year. We offer salon and spa services and makeup services at the comfort and luxury of their homes.
SoS: Are you a solopreneur? Do you have partners?
Valarmathy: Since it’s mandatory to have more than one Director, we have two more people on the board. But I run the show entirely. So solopreneur very much.
SoS: Great. How is difficult to make decisions in terms of running operations and planning as a Solopreneur?
Valarmathy: It’s not difficult at all. I do it with love and passion. So actually I enjoy the whole process. In fact, it’s better because I take the decisions independently.
SoS: How many customers do you normally handle in a day? And what do customers remember 5HT for?
Valarmathy: The number varies. One thing I am completely happy about is anybody who has tried us has never gone anywhere else. They love us for our pure and fresh organic products, our super talented team, spic and span service.
SoS: How do you get new customers?
Valarmathy: We have not done any mass marketing so far. It’s majorly word of mouth and social media.
SoS: Awesome. How do you use Social Media for customer connect? Through offerings?
Valarmathy: We say how we are different from others in the industry.
SoS: Talk about your employees. How are they selected and trained?
Valarmathy: All our employees irrespective of their experience and qualification, will undergo our in-house training. We teach them basic dermatology, international standards, product knowledge, quality management and much more.
SoS: How many employees – men/ women? What facilities do you offer to their welfare?
Valarmathy: We are a startup and we don’t have much resources to support, though we would love to do more. Currently we offer paid menstrual leave. We encourage them to take up higher studies through correspondence/long distance.
SoS: Can you share more about menstrual leave. It is a proud moment for all of us. It is towards respecting women employees. How did it the idea of menstrual leave occur to you?
Valarmathy: Firstly, when a girl goes to a store and asks for a sanitary napkin, there is a sort of embarrassment. The napkin pack is wrapped in a newspaper, put inside a black cover and handed to her secretly. We as girls were advised in schools, by our parents, sisters to hide the sanitary napkins, not to discuss periods in public and behave in such a way that nobody comes to know that we are bleeding. When there is no need to be embarrassed about breathing, sweating etc., why would a girl be embarrassed about bleeding?! It’s hard to show boys and men that periods aren’t something shameful when there are girls and women out there who aren’t able to embrace that fact themselves. The only way to change the mind-set is to speak about it openly, declare without any shame. This will help change the mind-set of women about periods and gradually will change the mind-set of everyone.
Secondly, women require maximum rest during these days. Call it normal or abnormal, most women undergo severe pain, muscle cramps, mood swings during these days. Masculine is linear, it is able to be constant throughout the month, whereas feminine is cyclical, goes up and goes down. So it’s about synchronizing work with natural cycles of the body. There is nothing shameful in accepting the fact that women are weak during their periods and require complete rest, after all we are all human beings. It creates a sense of empathy, care and responsibility among family members. When a work place is caring enough to offer a paid leave to an employee, it makes them realize how empathetic and caring the very own family members should be! One of our employees’ teenage son had started to cook for his mother and took extra care of her after this.
SoS: It is a pioneering act…Congrats on implementing this. We wish more companies respect human sensitivities and make life better for employees.
Valarmathy: I wish too. Thank you.
— Team SoS