Valentine’s Day Special: These Entrepreneurs In Love Are Couple Goals!
What's it like being in love with the person who's also your business partner? We ask these couple makers to learn more...
Love — the most beautiful, possibly the purest emotion in the world. It is often said that if you’ve found true love, you’re lucky — because after a long day’s work, there’s nothing better than coming back home to someone who adores and cherishes you unconditionally.
While traditionalists deem it best to keep your personal and professional lives separate, there are some extremely talented, driven individuals who have no qualms fusing the two, in a bid to create an entrepreneurial empire. If anything, the mutual love, trust, and bond they share emboldens them even further — which is both unique, and remarkable!
So, to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, we decided to feature three such entrepreneur couples, who happened to find the perfect business partner in their significant other. They’re living the dream — and here’s their story.
Sky Goodies is the brainchild of Amit Gudibanda and Misha Gurnanee Gudibanda, who run the brand together. The couple makes paper products that aim to make people happy — in particular, DIY kits which adults and kids can make and use in daily life.
“Sky Goodies is a collection of happy, gift-able, do-it-yourself, usable paper products,” says Misha. “The aim of the brand Sky Goodies is to make ‘happiness’ easily accessible through our products — in particular, the DIY collection.”
Amit says the art is inspired by Indian hand-painted trucks, matchbox graphics and Indian patterns. “Our DIY collection comes pre-printed and pre-cut, encouraging everyone to enjoy the act of making,” he says. “For example, our unique ‘Matchbox’ notebooks are inspired by Indian Matchbox art. We have a range of snap-fit gift boxes, perfect for gifting. We create products that are proudly made in India, are rich in art and beauty, unique in form and function, and are priced reasonably. The aim is to enable art to be accessible and enjoyable to more and more people.”
What started as an experiment to decorate their son’s nursery quickly snowballed into a company called Little Pipal that catered to a market that had no sellers at the time.
“We wanted to design and create the perfect fantasy for babies and kids,” says Mrs. Abha Mahajan, who founded Little Pipal with her husband Anuj. “We strongly believed that e-commerce was the way to go and started our brand online. Our USP is personalisation — which means, our customers can add a name or words of their choice on any product to make it special and one-of-a-kind. The reaction of a happy client thrills us and is the driving force of the Little Pipal team.”
Husband and wife duo of Shahil Shah and Shrutti Shah co-founded Rooh Wellness & Rooh E-commerce back in April 2014, that creates gorgeous dreamcatchers. Since dreamcatchers are a symbol of sharing a positive dream with your loved ones, they actually make for terrific Valentine’s Day gifting items.
“We left our comfortable corporate jobs to commence our entrepreneurial journey immediately post our marriage,” says Sahil. “I have worked extensively in industries like beauty & wellness, spa & salon, personal care and FMCG in the field of marketing, distribution, e-commerce, strategy, and branding. Shrutti, too, has a vast experience in the consumer packaging, FMCG, and frozen food industry. Her last job, in fact, was as Brand manager at West Coast which is one of the largest frozen food companies of India.”
What Happens When Your Business Partner Is Also The Love Of Your Life?
“It’s a great feeling when you know you’re working with a person you know, love, and trust completely,” says Amit. “There’s a lovely sense of informality and simplicity in the way we work. Our personal and professional lives do overlap since we spend so much time together — but thankfully, the kind of work we do within Sky Goodies is different, since each of us has a different role!”
Abha, though, says, “For staters, one can never complain that you don’t spend enough time with the other! After working together for 15 years building up two businesses from scratch, having a kid, building a home, things just have a way of naturally flowing together.”
Sahil from Rooh adds, “There are more pros than cons, really. It allows us to spend a lot of time with each other — that’s something that’s missing in the lives of lots of couples. So for us, the luxury of spending quality time with each other while we’re building a valuable organisation is the ultimate high! Furthermore, the business keeps our life goals aligned, and since the startup is our baby, it gives us many more occasions to celebrate life apart from the usual birthdays and anniversaries!”
Shrutti says, “There are certainly some drawbacks as it’s nigh impossible to distinguish between personal and professional issues. For instance, our midnight conversations oscillates between food, travel, and household topics to sales targets, inventory management, and other whatnots! But as our organisation is expanding we are slowly trying to make things a lot more professional on that front.”
What Are The Best Bits About Working With A Life Partner?
“There is complete understanding at a personal level, so thankfully, there are no politics or games to be played,” says Misha. “Work is, and should be, purely work. However, it’s always nice to have someone to share lunch and jokes with. The best part, of course, is to go home together at the end of the day!”
Abha says, “What I love best is that it’s like raising a kid. Building a business together isn’t easy and requires tremendous effort. Having someone you love on board only makes the ride smoother.”
“What I love best,” says Sahil, “is that both of us excel in completely different fields — which gives us a great edge. My skill sets are marketing, finance, and business developments whereas Shrutti is a natural when it comes to operations and team building. This has ensured a fast and focused growth for our startup, which we’re thankful for.”
How Do You Deal With The Inevitable Differences?
“Disagreements do come up during work, and of course, sometimes it takes effort to resolve them,” says Amit. “And the only way we do so is by talking it out between us and reaching a compromise. As they say, whatever is best for the business!”
Abha says, “Believe it or not, as luck would have it, we usually have the same stand on major decisions! We always have and always will support each other, and we firmly believe that level-headed discussions can resolve any issue.”
“Most of the key decisions and problems solving are actually done with the consent of our entire team,” says Shrutti. “In our small Rooh family that consists of 16 members, we generally take a poll and then proceed to work to solve the problem at hand. So thankfully, we’ve created a system where we don’t have to lock horns very often!”
Any Valentine’s Day Plans?
“None yet,” says Misha. “But that’s only because our plans are almost always impromptu. So yeah, I’m certain the day will be great!”
Abha, too, agrees. “It should always be in the spur of the moment — never preplanned!”
Sahil, though, marks the date down as an important one in his calendar — but not for himself and Shrutti! “Dreamcatchers hold significant meaning as a gifting product during Valentine’s Day, and hence it’s important to us. We have to ensure our customers get the newest collection, on time, so it’s going to be a bit busy! Rest assured, our V-day celebration will take place post 14th Feb.”