The spunky mom super women tales
“Follow your dreams and make sure you believe in it ! “ this is what Rashmee Gajra, founder of Anmol Baby Carriers, believed in when she first started her venture 5 years back. . A mom of two, faced with the dilemma to calm the younger baby while still catering to the needs of her older kid. Babywearing has been practised since decades for the multitasking moms while allowing a comfortable place for the baby to snuggle closer to the mom and even breastfeeding on the go! . That’s what inspired Rashmee - our mom in the series of #thespunkymomsuperwomantales ! to come up with Anmol Baby Carriers as her way of giving back to the community by enlightening the new moms about the benefits of babywearing. I had the oppotunity to speak to her in detail and here are the excerpts of the interview :-
1. What inspired you to come up this idea of start up? My personal need was to babywear myself in a carrier that was comfortable and my baby was snug in - my baby was close to me and not off me. My need to be able to have a calm younger baby to enable me to care for my older baby was my primary concern That’s when I made my own Wrap. I loved it - my baby loved it and I was calm as could be! These were the goals that I had set for myself and they were clearly visibly achieved! I realised the wrap was a great product after a few friends and family used it and gave validation.
Giving back to the community that supported me through both periods of early motherhood, made me realise I could either do it through Breastfeeding advocacy or Babywearing promotion. The latter was easy because I totally understood the ergonomics of Babywearing and babycarriers and it seemed like this was my calling. While juggling being a freelance architect and starting Anmol Baby, I felt deeply connected to the cause of spreading babywearing. That took me almost 2 years after Anmol started! It is the reason why Anmol Baby is a Multi-award winning company, making the 1st Tested and Certified Babycarriers in India with its roots deeply in the realms of community. Whether it is creating social impact through the handloom cooperatives that we work with to creating new fabrics that work effectively as cushy, architecturally sound Handwoven wrap fabrics or ensuring we engage with NGOS to create some of our accessories. Community is at the heart of everything Anmol does! That is the Inspiration - to serve! To make the best babycarriers in the world! And to create secure bonds due to our comfortable babycarriers.
2) As a woman entrepreneur, what were the challenges you faced in establishing yourself? I was told I wouldn’t be able to sell 100 wraps in the first year! and sold as many in the first 6 months! In India - the first challenge was the patriarchy that we subscribe to. To have empowered mothers - who babywear and go out to work, is highly discouraged and condemned. Apart from that - the human babycarriers - known as nannies are another barrier. Mothers often fail to see how important it is to bond well with their babies through the act of babywearing. The lack of knowledge about the benefits of babywearing, the safety measures required for babywearing and The Ergonomic Babycarriers which are appropriate for baby are the issues which are very prevalent. Mumbai Sling Library was founded to address all these issues. Regular Meetups and organising this knowledge based platform, having adequate educators, are also a challenge sometimes.
People don’t take women entrepreneurs very seriously either! So that doesn’t help. Have to keep on working to prove oneself time and again. Being the Sole founder with my husband chipping in financially for our venture, and a lovely team of Moms who are babywearing educators and help with the same. It is a company that is growing organically with enough hurdles to keep facing and overcoming including the fake Chinese products which are sold at 1/10th the price of the Anmols. The flattering but distressing challenge is that there are impersonations of the Anmol Baby Carriers and products on the larger marketplaces! These are senseless people reselling Chinese products and trying to cash in on the good will of the Brand name of Anmol.
3) What words of encouragement would you give to other women out there who dream of becoming an entrepreneur but lack the confidence? Follow your dream and make sure You Believe in it. There will be enough people who will be naysayers but like they say - if you want it badly enough the whole universe conspires to *make it happen*