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Shabia Walia had been a television media professional for the past 23-24 years. Around the end of 2013, she was getting more and more disillusioned by it. “The odd work hours, the kind of programming which was happening, people’s massive egos and the fact that I wanted to spend time with my daughter while working alongside, were weighing heavily on my mind,” says Shabia.
Around the time when Shabia wanted to quit her corporate career, she read a quote which changed her life. It said, ‘Work on your dreams before someone else hires you to work on theirs.’ Walia thinks that the quote came at a very opportune time. “On an impulse, I quit a show I was working on. On the side, my concerns about what I put on my baby’s body when I showered her and after, had been bothering me for quite some time. I have always had a quirky habit of reading every piece of paper I can lay my hands on, including labels on cosmetic bottles and medicines. Every time I read a label, my brow wrinkled with worry,” she says.
She discovered Pinterest out of boredom and one fine day on a cold January morning, a very simple recipe of a body scrub caught her attention. “I had all the ingredients at home and I decided to concoct it up. I bathed with it and I came out of the bathroom smiling. I had had an epiphany. This could be the turning point I was looking for,” she adds.
She started her own brand of handcrafted, eco-friendly body products with the name Tattva in Jan 2014. “When I decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, my husband and father in law could read through my enthusiasm and whole heartedly supported me. My mother was a bit skeptical as I was always a highly paid professional in the TV Industry and she didn’t quite get why I would leave that to take such a big risk. But then she also knew me as a strong headed woman. She knew that I knew what I was doing and went along with it,” says the founder.
Men and Women can create magic when they co-exist in harmony. They are secure about each other and supportive of each other’s achievements.
The journey that started with selling 10 jars of body scrub in her daughter’s school continued one step at a time. Shabia made a few more jars, took some pictures and posted on Facebook which got her an order of another 20 jars within minutes of posting them. With the help of some friends, family and her own rock solid conviction ‘Tattva’ was born. Tattva beautifully captures the essence of nature in its products without clouding it with harmful chemicals. All their products are free of Parabens or any other harmful chemicals, and have the natural fragrance of ingredients. With a specialization in scrubs, face wash and soaps, they have forayed into a lot more body products now.
“The fact that I am building something solid and ethical is my biggest driving point”.
For starters, Walia did not quit media completely. She played smart and continued working along with building Tattva. “The money I earned from TV helped me to stock up on things I needed, pay my office rent and salaries in the earlier days. It felt good to have a backup income while my business took shape. Plus the feeling of being wanted even after quitting, was very special,” says Walia. Being a multitasker, this was only adding to her excitement and keeping boredom away. Along with this came the flip side. Handling meetings, scripts, orders, payments, shows, a baby all took away her time. But her supportive husband took charge of their daughter and her school. “This one big responsibility off my head freed a lot of my time and helped me concentrate on my TV assignments and Tattva with renewed vigour,” she says.
“A self-driven person, Walia drives immense energy from blogs and articles of successful people”
Shabia believes that social taboos like ‘Ambitious women are not good mothers’ are just a perception of the society. “I do a lot of things each day – blogging, social work, manage Tattva, script head shows but everything is secondary to being a mother. Every single thing revolves around her. I am a very hands on mother right from giving her a bath to feeding her meals to getting her homework done every day!” says the mother. She believes that working women are very conscious of the time they have with their kids.
“Ambition and Motherhood can go hand in hand provided you know how to juggle the two smartly. My ambition is courtesy my daughter and nothing can be better than that” .
In order to devote more time to what she loved doing, Shabia had to filter out the chaff she had no patience with. “So I stopped saying yes to every event or favour, stopped going out for coffees with people who don’t mean anything to me, stopped blogging for everyone who approached me to write for free, said no to shows I don’t believe in. In short, I filtered the unwanted things drastically in order to make time for the things I really wanted to do,” she says.
“I take decisions quickly and act upon them even faster. All this has helped me remain focussed and true to what I want to do and like doing”.
Hiring the right people is a big challenge in any industry. “In the initial days, getting vendors to believe you were serious, was a challenge. Retaining staff is a challenge. But all these challenges is what makes it exciting,” says the founder. As an entrepreneur, your journey often gets lonely. Your wins and losses are your own. There is never a cut off time. But taking them in your stride and remaining positive are keys to growth.
“I spend a lot of time with successful people to learn how they conduct themselves and their business”.
Tattva is a socially conscious organisation and believes in giving back to the society. A significant part of their earnings from the sale of ‘Tattva’ products goes towards supporting ‘The BlueBells Community” that is dedicated to bringing smiles on the faces of the underprivileged.
She advises future womenpreneurs to take calculated risks at work and grow by learning every day. “Ask for help when required. Relax and rejuvenate from time to time. Never be afraid of failure or mistakes. Take calculated risks. Keep learning every day. Never lose focus of why you became an entrepreneur,” she ends by saying.