tech

Women’s Day 2020: 5 Indian women entrepreneurs who used WhatsApp to write their success stories

On International Women’s Day 2020, we take a look at the women who used WhatsApp to set up their businesses, reach out to their customers and become a success story.

From left: Sambar Stories owner Sneha Sirivara, Happy Milk owner Mehal Kejriwal and Masalabox owner Harsha Thachery.
From left: Sambar Stories owner Sneha Sirivara, Happy Milk owner Mehal Kejriwal and Masalabox owner Harsha Thachery. (WhatsApp)

Digital revolution has facilitated the ease of doing business in India. Digitisation coupled with the greater penetration and reduced cost of the mobile internet services has enabled small and medium business enterprises to thrive. In addition to that, it has enabled people, particularly women, to start their own small ventures, sometimes from the comfort of their homes, and reach out to a wider user base.

WhatsApp, in particular, has been a major enabler for these small businesses. It has not only enabled them to showcase their products and connect with more customers but it has also opened an avenue for their businesses to interact with their customers and maintain a strong and loyal user base.

So, on this International Women's Day, we talk about five Indian women entrepreneurs who used WhatsApp and other technologies to write their own success stories:

Artinci

Are you living in Bengaluru? Are you looking for natural ice-cream that is devoid of stabilizers, artificial flavouring and other other substances? If you are, Artinci is your pick.

In March 2018, Aarti Laxman Rastogi decided to start her own business to provide natural ice-creams to everyone. However, her hearing disability made it difficult for her to interact with customers over calls. But, thanks to WhatsApp, she was able to manage her business via texting.

Artinci founder Aarti Laxman Rastogi .
Artinci founder Aarti Laxman Rastogi . (WhatsApp)

"I have a hearing disability and I don't do phone calls. WhatsApp is a great communication enabler for me. I text my way through the planning and execution of any business day. It helps to give and receive instructions in writing too, for complete clarity in communication, and leaves no room for misinterpretation," she said in a statement.

In addition to that, WhatsApp's Business app also helps her launch special limited edition ice creams that are made using jaggery.

Currently, they have expanded their presence to five locations across Bengaluru. In future, they are planning to expand to two more locations.

Superbottoms

Pallavi Utagi decided to launch her own eco-friendly diaper company after her baby got a diaper rash for the first time. When she started researching diapers, she realised that disposable diapers were not only harmful for the kids but also for the environment. This led to the creation of Superbottoms in 2016.

Superbottoms founder Pallavi Utagi.
Superbottoms founder Pallavi Utagi. (WhatsApp)

She used WhatsApp to not only take orders interact with customers but also for educating new parents. "However, we truly formalized the usage when we officially launched India's first cloth diaper helpline run on WhatsApp in mid-2016," she said in a statement.

Today, Superbottoms team answers about 150 to 180 queries a day on WhatsApp Business and caters to about 50,000 parents.

Sambar Stories

Another inspiring story is that of Bengaluru-based Sneha Sirivara, who started a food brand called Kai Ruchi back in 2013. At the time of launch, Kai Ruchi used to supply traditional spices via an online store.

Later, Kai Ruchi transformed into Sambar Stories, which has an exclusive retail store in the city. Additionally, her company today retails nearly 700 products ever month with most of the business coming from their own e-commerce site and the retail outlet.

Sambar Stories founder Sneha Sirivara.
Sambar Stories founder Sneha Sirivara. (WhatsApp)

So how does WhatsApp come into the picture? WhatsApp Business helped her to engage with her customers by keeping them informed about the products. "The simplicity of using WhatsApp [Business] for engaging with customers helps us acquire new customers and retain them," she said.

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Happy Milk

Mehal Kejriwal hated milk as a child. Soon, she realised that her distaste was for the commercially packaged milk. So, to cater to people who were in need of farm fresh milk, she started Happy Milk in December 2017. Today, Happy Milk farm is home to over 450 cows and it supplies over 4,500 liters of milk to 1,800 homes and commercial customers. Her business venture has a turnover over 5 crore.

Happy Milk founder Mehal Kejriwal .
Happy Milk founder Mehal Kejriwal . (WhatsApp)

WhatsApp helps her to connect to non tech savvy customers like mothers and senior citizens. "We have mothers and senior citizens reaching out to us on WhatsApp regularly. I know that I am able to get four times more customers than if I were not present on WhatsApp," she said in a statement.

Masalabox

Last on our list is Harsha Thachery who came up with the unique idea of starting a door-step delivery service that offers meals cooked by home chefs. She launched Masalabox in Bengaluru back in August 2015. The service started offering a subscription service starting April 2017. Today, Masalabox has more than 150 home chefs catering to over 10,000 users.

Masalabox founder Harsha Thachery.
Masalabox founder Harsha Thachery. (WhatsApp)

Thachery started using WhatsApp during the initial days of the launch of her business in order to connect with chefs and customers. She shifted to WhatsApp Business nearly two years back which enabled her to engage with the customers and chefs on a daily basis.