I never went to business school, but my first lessons in entrepreneurship started as young as seven by the best teacher anyone could ask for — Lily, my mother. For an Indian woman living in a traditional joint family, she was unconventional — going to beauty school back in the 70s creating a path to financial independence. 

My sister and I still remember our weekends when we were religiously shaken out of bed at 7AM so that our room could be converted into the beauty salon. From her, I learnt some of the most important lessons for me as an entrepreneur.

Lily


1. Agility: My dad would announce a sudden dinner party and she would have to cook up a meal after a busy day at work. An hour and five dishes later, she would emerge triumphantly from the kitchen. Always with a smile.

2. Outstanding customer service: My mom is an amazing listener. Ask her life-long clients who loved her welcoming home, excellent hair-cuts and warm cups of chai.

3. Financial prudence: Money and self-confidence can often go hand-in-hand. Every woman should work if she can and be financially independent, so that she can choose to save (or spend) her earnings!

4. Attitude is everything: Being a home-maker, a mother and an entrepreneur all at once is an art but if you do it all with a positive attitude, it makes the task of juggling easier.

Beena


My lessons in entrepreneurship continue even today. In 2019, when I launched JULAHAS, I was looking for someone to lead the production back in India. My mother in law Beena, a native of Garhwal (a region in the Himalayas where my partner artisans weave) took the reins and set up our quality and fulfilment centre close to the weaving units. From her I have learnt lesson number five.

5. Age is just a number: It is never too late to do something for the first time.

If like me you are blessed to have such strong, resilient and inspiring women in your life, make sure you tell them just how precious they are. We are us because of you.

April 22, 2022 — Kanak Hirani

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Linda said:

What wonderful, strong women to learn from!

Eliana said:

How lovely to read your story, full of love and gratitude ❤ what a great lesson. Thanks for sharing!

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