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Creative journey of MOMPRENUER Rashmi

Even as a mother of two children never restrained Rashmi Kulkarni from becoming an entrepreneur -- and a very successful one at that!  Her brainchild Studio Tarang is the outcome of her passion for art and creativity. 

We would like to know about yourself and family background.

Hi, this is Rashmi, a Science graduate and Masters in HR from Bengaluru in Karnataka state. Born and brought up in Bengaluru and moved to Belgaum after marriage. Mine is a small nest of 4 people -- myself, hubby, precious daughter and rocking son.  

Your early days of career.

I have about 16 years of work experience in Human Resources and Administration. After my graduation from NMKRV College, I started my career in Taj Group of Hotels and later worked for MNCs like Accenture, Fidelity Investments, Afila Tech, GIT, Belgaum and Renuka Sugars Belgaum after marriage. 

You are born in Bengaluru, what made you shift to a small town like Belgaum?

Yes, I am born in Bengaluru, and also educated and worked there. I had love-cum-marriage. My husband is from Belgaum. Though after marriage I continued to work in Bengaluru at my parents’ place for a couple of years due to work commitments, later I moved on to Belgaum to my husband’s home. 

 What motivated you to start ‘Studio Tarang’?

My daughter is a precious child to us as she was born after 8 long years of wait. My husband was the only one support system for me as we are a nuclear family and his parents have long departed from the journey of life. I couldn't take up corporate work as I couldn’t leave her with caretakers, but at the same time I couldn’t sit idle. A lot of thoughts flowed through and there shaped up Tarang Hobby Studio which was formerly called Tarang Creative Club during inception 7years back. 

I started this as I had passion about art and creativity, but yes I never thought it would open up for me a new world in shaping my career. Yes, my education and what I do doesn’t have 10 percent match, but I enjoyed my career phase before kids. And now after kids I have more passion towards Artwork. So I can say there has been a perfect balance.  

It was named Tarang as it was formed with waves of thought in my mind and I was particular to give my firm an ethnic Indian name. 



Rashmi with students at Studio Tarang


What was the reaction of your family on your decision to start the studio?

My husband supported me to start with a new venture, but he was also particular that the kids’ routine shouldn’t be hampered because of our work commitments as he is always on travel for his work. He is the pillar of my venture in terms of guidance on finance, and other technical aspects. If not for him, it would have been difficult to see where I am now.  

As a young mother and an entrepreneur, do you find these roles in conflict with each other? 

Being a mom doesn’t preclude me from being a manager or an entrepreneur. Thanks to the profession I have chosen which binds my personal and professional life to a major extent. The more I learn and update myself, the more I become an information source to my daughter.  A life partner who thinks as you think and supports you at every step, solves majority of hurdles at both fronts. Though at times when I tend to concentrate on either ends, my husband pulls me back and makes me realizes the need of the hour. It’s always good to get corrected.

Secondly, local market and finances are the challenges in a big city. Over time I learnt to balance it with ups and downs. Every time I made mistakes I learnt from it and yes that experience takes you to a different world of knowing things which we didn’t and constant learning is the key to success.

Being in city like Belgaum, the resource procurement was  challenging. But thanks to many social media like Facebook and others, wherein I have come across a few wonderful people and some great resource chain which has helped me to reach this level. My husband has been a great support and also wonderful guide right from the inception to whatever stage Tarang has reached today. Having been worked in a corporate company is an added advantage to sketch your business models and the way you plan to approach.

Tell us more about ‘Studio Tarang’ in detail. How was the response when you started?

Studio Tarang is a passion turned to profession. Tarang aims at providing the best creative and innovative products in the field of arts and science. We design DIY Art Kits for schools and NGOs. Personalized Portraits is another area where we expertise. We are also into Retail and Corporate gifting with a personal touch. 

I started Tarang by Art and Craft classes for kids at home. I wanted to do something different and innovative compared to what people do locally. So I had to do research on areas where I wanted to kickstart. So I enquired with my friends and their experiences with people and institutes who were already into this field gave me a fair idea of what kind of business model i should have and the kind of approach I should have.

The response was very good and thereby the journey started in this creative field. The parents who are my actual clientele encouraged me to think and do more things which made me explore more areas in the same field.

‘Studio Tarang’ is rising in popularity. How was this possible in such a small town like Belgaum?

Yes, this is not one day or one year work, but hard work and sleepless nights of 7 years has reaped this popularity which I had never thought of. 

Achievement is a big word with a wide meaning. Being a mother was an achievement to me at one stage and then when I became an entrepreneur that was another biggest achievement as it was no easy job.  After all these years I realise that ‘BEING YOURSELF WITHOUT CHANGE’ is the biggest achievement, as with time and circumstances one tends to lose one’s individuality.

Social Media has played a major role where Tarang stands today. I started my classes which gave me name and fame in the local market. But I had to reach outer market to enhance my financial credibility and then came social media like facebook, whatsapp, twitter which gave me wider market across India and other countries too. The power of social media is unmatchable. This also made me appear in a few interviews in many websites which again was helpful in boosting my work area and popularity.

  


Kids enjoying at Studio Tarang


What is your daily routine at the studio?

My routine is varied as I am Mom of two now. In the mornings a couple of hours at Studio listing inventories and other administrative, housekeeping activities, etc. Evenings is where we start off with work. Classes and my creative works for orders starts during that time. And most of the time its late nights at home where my actual work starts with kids, so maintaining time and schedules becomes difficult until they reach certain age where they can independently manage their routines. 

All creative ideas are struck only during late nights when there is absolute time for myself. 

Which is your favourite art?

I love anything which brings me close to colours. Sketching, painting, illustrations are a few which I love.



An Art by Rashmi

 

What are your views on women leaders and equal opportunities?

Things have changed with time. And as Sheryl Sandberg has quoted: “In future there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders!!” This says it all. I am one of the fortunate who had female bosses at work and handled things well at home as well as at workfront. 

The companies I have worked with have all supported and helped women to lead and take risks and make their own future. In fact, Accenture had gender balanced workforce when I was working way down in 2004.

We aren’t empowering women, they already are!!  It’s about changing the way the world perceives the power of women. Be the change, be you!!

What is your biggest achievement so far?

From inception till now in 5 years’ span, Tarang Hobby Studio has been recognized as one of the best places to learn Art and Craft by various institutions and localities. 

  1. We have been awarded and featured as Momprenuer by Premium Online Toy Company YELLOW GIRAFFE.  
  2. We got featured in and as one of the ‘SMARTINDIAN WOMEN’ across the country for our creative kits made from a small town like Belgaum. 
  3. We got awarded and featured by ‘MOM INC, BABYCHAKRA” the premium online portal as best ‘MOM EDUPRENUER’ for our contribution towards teaching Arts and Crafts and for the innovative handmade gifts we manufacture.
  4. We were featured in the city’s own creative magazine among top 100 artists for creative work. 
  5. We got featured in the international print magazine ‘ESHE’ which recognizes women in various fields. And they also aired us on the webpage for our creative work. 
  6. We got featured as WONDERWOMAN recently where they felicitated us for our creative works. 
  7. Tarang has an honour to be selected one among India for  mentoring the programme by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs. 
  8. Tarang is also working alongside IIM, Bengaluru for DO YOUR VENTURE INCUBATION PROGRAM this year.
  9. Tarang’s kids got aired at All India Radio, Bengaluru, for Sanskrit Shloka rendering.

What have you thought about your future plans?

I aim to take my venture to a large scale wherein I can employ and empower women who are struggling with no opportunities. I have started this with the lady who does  housekeeping work for me. Seven years ago she started helping me in housekeeping activities of my office, but now she knows A to Z of my office routine and handles administration independently. I am happy and proud to see her grow as an individual with so much confidence. 

Your message to women out there who are struggling to prove themselves. 

Entrepreneurship teaches life skills… Not everyone will grow up wanting to own a business, and there is nothing wrong with that. Still, learning basics of running a business is important as it will help you pick up life skills that can be useful in a variety of situations.

Risk taking plays a big part. To be an entrepreneur, you must be comfortable with taking action, even without having a clear idea of the outcome. Be flexible. Make business more than just profits.

 



What is the best way to connect with customers?

Most things of value are the byproduct of an effective process. Build enjoyment into that process and make the journey itself a success. One should have passion behind the concept. Whichever line of business you choose, make sure your groundwork is complete. Make your research on the pros and cons and majorly make sure you breakdown your progress in small steps so that you don't have to face financial burden. Utilizing social media is the best way to connect to customer base and promote corporate message. Social Media has changed how business works.

Secondly, set guidelines for how you envision juggling work and family, and I am sure it's different for everyone. Just know that starting a business is not easy, or a great stress reducer. However, it is very rewarding, educational and usually fun with a good support system. As a mompreneur, I live in a constant state of swaying in many directions so just be flexible and the rest will follow.



Rashmi can reached on twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram  

First Published: 26-Jan-2019- 07:40


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