“Smart Mommies” Become Mom-preneurs

It all started when Sangeetha Arunachalam had her daughter, Pragathi, in October 2013. “Shall we start a secret Facebook support group?” she asked her friends; and ‘Smart Mommies’ was born. Today, it is 20,000+ strong Facebook group that is growing monumentally every day.

At its core, it is a support group for new mums on anything baby-related, or just a shoulder to cry on. Along the way, some mums were taking encouragement from others and making businesses of their passions.

The main drive behind encouraging these moms to make businesses right from their homes, says Sangeetha, was a way to encourage women to be financially independent, to not have to depend on their husband’s incomes for the smallest needs.

So another group was born — purely for business ventures. And, as an offshoot to that, the group has launched their first ever physical exhibition, Kadai Veedhi by Penn Drive (meaning Market Street — a Women’s drive) to be held on 23rd and 24th July at Sri Sankara Hall, TTK Road, Chennai.

The exhibition is meant to showcase the various businesses started by these ‘Mom-preneurs’, after all smart mommy makes smart entrepreneur. They span a wide range of industries — jewellery-making, cloth diapers, baby wear, home baking and even tailoring for moms and babies, fashion and even an App.

I spoke to some of the more successful businesswomen who are exhibiting at the event.

Vandini Gokul Ravindran owns Janvi Adornments (named after her daughter)– a jewellery business. What started as a home business now has over 20,000 clients all over the world. With a jewellery lounge in Alwarpet, where Vandini meets clients occasionally on appointment, the business sells tera-cotta jewellery (for which they gained initial fame) sourced from Karnataka and Orissa. They now sell semi-precious, silver and antique jewellery as well, which can be customized too.

Rajalakshmi Abhilash is a mom of three and a self-taught master home baker. What started as a challenge from being rejected by a baker for baking her daughter’s birthday cake became a passion. One course later, she taught herself the technique, thanks to YouTube, and started Dolce Olivia — her baking page. Her cakes have now won appreciation and laurels all over Chennai, and she is booked months in advance. It has been a crazy, yet fulfilling journey, she says, and she has ‘Smart Mommies’ to thank for the encouragement and success.

ANIA collections is Angel Kuian’s brain child. Tailoring was just a hobby that became her passion once her daughter Ana was born. As she tailored frocks and dresses for her daughter, she honed her skills by taking classes. Custom orders started coming in and ANIA collections was born. Now, she plans to host a Mom & Me fashion show at the Kadai Veedhi exhibition at 7 pm on 23rd and 24th July.

Besides these, there are stalls by a kids app developer, Shemetenga, more clothing giants like Trayee, celebrity-preferred custom jewellers — Hani’s, Dhaya Creations — cloth diapering solutions, baby wear caddies, hypnobirthing advice and even arts and paintings made by Mom-preneurs.

The exhibition is going to be inaugurated by chief guest Mrs Alli Murugesan of Vasantham School for the Mentally Challenged. Interestingly, Mrs Murugesan has also been associated with the parent ‘Smart Mommies’ group. The guest of honour is Mrs Lalitha Ganapathy, founder of Noopurlaya School of Dance.

“I want this to be a carnival. Not just another exhibition,” Sangeetha tells me enthusiastically. I have to smile at her infectious optimism. She hopes to have many surprises for crowds visiting the exhibition and supporting the causes. As to what the surprises are, she refuses to give them away.

“You’ll have to visit,” she says without mincing words.

Well, if that intrigues you, you know where to head — Kadai Veedhi by Penn Drive.

The article is written by Jaya and was originally posted on SHEROES.