After doing stints as a Spanish teacher & an organic baker, I found my true…Read More →
Vandana Srivastava moved to UK after marriage and with 2 children, working on a full time job was not easy. She took a break to focus on her children and that’s when she came up with the idea of ExcitingLives, a fun and gift store with a unique collection of products.
Becoming an entrepreneur was more circumstantial than planned
Vandana believes that the idea of ExcitingLives fit wonderfully in her life at that time, and it does so today also. The idea was to go beyond the usual, the mundane gifting options and celebrate all occasions and life with a unique touch. “With a deep understanding of personal and corporate gifting we have setup a wide range of selected products that are a great fit for any occasion,” says the founder. Ranging from an outrageous, adventurous and romantic experiences like private jet parties & limousine dream dates to fun and quirky gifts like the beer soaps & humorous personalised mugs, ExcitingLives has it all.
With an attitude of being sure of what she wanted in life, Vandana started up with a lot of hard work. “The idea itself, of gifting experiences and offbeat gift items, was a very new concept at that point in India. So the work was from scratch and there were a lot of entry barriers,” says the lady. She was joined by her husband and brother in the venture. Their website is one of the best gifting options for personalized gifts, and this year the business saw a 100% increase in Valentines Week.
There is almost no remuneration when you start-up
The fact that work is tremendously enjoyed makes up for all the effort that goes into the making of a company. Vandana plans her day well in advance and ensures she follows flexi work hours and work from home options. After sending her kids to school, meditation sets the tone for the day and the work begins. “Plenty of times you will have to work on weekends, holidays, and late nights as well. And it is impossible to generally bunk a day at work and go shopping instead without feeling extremely guilty about it,” she says.
There is a flipside to having your own business. You cannot ever completely switch off
Family support is needed for any big decision in life. And working with husband and brother just helps her work better every day. We asked how she felt about people saying things like ‘Ambitious women are not good mothers’ and she said, “I feel things have changed a lot over the years and women are able to do a lot more now without having to hear such clichéd dialogues. Having said that there are still some social taboos that exist at a more unsaid & unexpressed level that one still has to deal with.” But Vandana believes that if people who matter the most are with you, it makes no difference.
It is such a wonderful feeling to see pride in the eyes of my boys when they ask about my work, what I have done to get where I am and how we are different from the other parents who have regular jobs
A lot of hard work and an extreme change in financial situation is something that Vandana faced when she began the exciting journey in 2007. “Giving up the comfort of getting a regular salary and knowing you have a safe job is probably the biggest,” she says. Apart from the general challenges at work, coming up with new and interesting ideas to keep the website fresh and unique is important for ExcitingLives. “But every single aspect is a challenge in itself at different levels at different points in time,” adds the founder.
The things I have gained from this experience far outweigh the sacrifices
Vandana has learnt more from the roller coaster ride than she expected to. “I have acquired the knowledge of products, strategies, business concepts and the innumerable things that are out there in the world. On a personal level, I have learnt to handle issues I had no clue about, I have seen aspects of myself which I did not know existed before,” says the founder.
As a message to future womenpreneurs, Vandana says, “If you are clear about what you want and have the ability to maintain a good balance between dreaming and being realistic, you should just go for it. The rest will fall into place.”
Website Link: www.excitingLives.com
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