Name: Kavita Shah
Company name: House of Ideas
Company URL: https://www.facebook.com/HOI.HouseofIdeas
Designation: Founder and Owner
On this Women’s Day, how is being a woman entrepreneur relevant more than ever?
A woman sees the world through a different perspective and so do things differently. Her thinking reflects in the kind of profession/business she chooses. Being an entrepreneur, I always see that my business should be a problem-solving avenue. And, being a female entrepreneur has its own advantages as it is not so common to see a female entrepreneur. People will always remember you and you will inspire other women to pursue their dreams.
How did your journey as an entrepreneur start? Do tell in brief about your company.
I am a fine arts graduate and come from a very small town. But my parents were always progressive and I gave me the freedom to explore and experience all the available learning. An artist, solo tabla player, dramatist, teacher, graphic designer — I have experienced all these roles. But I always wanted to create a unique space for myself. I have gathered all my experience and started House of Ideas three years back which conducts workshops, exhibitions, theme-based party décor etc. And now, House of Ideas is synonyms to customized home décor and eco friendly corporate gifting solutions.
What challenges have you faced in this journey?
For a woman entrepreneur, the biggest challenge is NOT BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY. Our society expects women to be nice and pleasant. So, I had a hard time convincing people around me. Initially, the male vendors used to look at me as a hobby artist or just time pass. My focus was clear, so now they treat me as important customer. The second biggest challenge was utilizing connections. Men have always understood and developed strong business relationships and networks. Generally, women step back to seek help and understand how important it is to have strong networks and relationships.
The third difficult thing was dealing with the expectation to succeed at everything. In our society men are judged by how well they are doing in their career but for women the parameters are different — like how well they do with their families, friends, social responsibilities, looking good and career. What I have learnt from overcoming these challenges is how to prioritize your life.
To whom will you give credit for your success?
Total credit goes to my parents. The way I have been brought up to explore and experience life thoroughly and to take any challenge head-on.
What do you think are your strengths?
Extremely cooperative kids and supportive family atmosphere have helped me grow.
What is your support system and source of inspiration?
As a wife, mother of two and woman in business, I know how challenging it is to balance family and business. My family is my primary support system.
If you were to mentor or guide women-led startups, what would your top three suggestions be?
I will tell them:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice from those who are likely to have faced similar issues.
- Finding the right business is as important as finding the relationship partner — often exciting, easy to start and difficult to sustain. Get your focus clear.
- Be Fearless, always remember when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
What is that one change you suggest that will make women entrepreneurship blossom in this country?
Women need entrepreneurial education. I have personally felt the need of this. Women doubt their capabilities and fear failure more compared to men. Entrepreneurial trainings will surely give them confidence.
How do you measure success? Is it different for men and women?
What good have you done for the society while achieving your goals should be primary criteria to measure success? While success mantra can be different for men and women, for me if my heart and mind is in sync I consider myself successful.
We wish Kavita Shah and House of Ideas a great journey ahead.