Social media platforms are playing a big role in creating entrepreneurs and helping them grow their businesses. Kylie Jenner, the youngest-ever self-made billionaire, has acknowledged the role of social media in her stupendous growth. She had a huge following and reach which she harnessed to create her personal brand and behemoth corporation.
With nearly 3.5 billion people on social media, today, no business, big or small, can afford to ignore this space. Most big companies invest heavily in social media and influencer marketing. Nearly two-thirds of influencers are women! The tribe of women entrepreneurs has grown exponentially and from selling bakery products to jewellery, clothes, or being brand ambassadors for companies by virtue of their reach, women are killing it. Facebook , Snapchat and Instagram, in particular, have been instrumental in empowering scores of women worldwide. I spoke to three women who have used these platforms successfully and created a brand of their own and are basking in the glory facilitated by social media.
Dr. Neha Mathur – Food blogger, stylist and photographer
Dr. Neha Mathur of Whiskaffair – a well-known food blog with more than 1.6 lakh followers, is a dental surgeon who practised for two years before quitting it to move abroad with her husband where he had a posting. Neha says “My husband had a job which literally took him places and we travelled all over the world, and that exposed us to world cuisine. Being foodies, we tried all kinds of food but never cooked on our own. The exposure motivated me to try different recipes in my own kitchen and my experiments with food began. Also, because we missed homemade Indian food, I started to learn to cook traditional Indian dishes with my parents’ guidance and also help from the internet. I used to document the recipes which I tried in my kitchen that turned out good and it became a daily ritual. Some turned out well while others didn’t. My husband suggested that I write them somewhere and that’s how the blog was born. As the audience of my blog grew, I was driven to post only tried and tested recipes which turned out well every time anyone tried them. I had had a very bad experience with some websites and wanted to make sure the recipes that I posted on mine were foolproof. Food blogging soon turned into a passion which was fuelled by the appreciation I received from my followers who tried these recipes”.
On quizzing Neha about the role of social media in furthering her business, she says “Social media is a great way to showcase your work to a large number of people. Brands also took a notice of my work and I got many collaboration opportunities with F&B brands in India and abroad. I got to work wth a food start up and a few F&B brands in the US and with a farmer’s association in Canada apart from the many photography and recipe development work for some major brands in India. Social media platforms have played a major role in creating women entrepreneurs and one is not limited by geography any more. It has opened so many doors which were unthinkable earlier. It surely has for me”.
Swayampurna Mishra – Food blogger, stylist, photographer and author
Swayampurna Mishra of the well-known food blog Lapetitchef completed her MBA in finance and marketing and spent quite some years working as a private banker. She says “I was enjoying my job despite the insane work pressure. It was only after my daughter was born when I went on a sabbatical that I started cooking again. Seeing my love for cooking and the fact that I could take decent pictures even without an ounce of training, my sister suggested that I start a blog and before I knew it, Lapetitchef was born. It started as a mere hobby more than anything else and over time, the audience grew and I got noticed”.
Talking of the role social media played in propelling her hobby in to a full blown business, she says “Social media, especially Instagram, is my preferred platform. I joined Instagram 2 yrs back but the growth I witnessed on Instagram was phenomenal and most helpful! The fact that it’s such a visual platform really helps you stand out if you have good photography skills and when you add the fact that the audience of Instagram enjoys reading good captions as well, it becomes a well rounded social platform. I got noticed by brands very early on because of my styling and media took notice because of my writing skills. However, the best part about social media is that I found my tribe. Today I have a beautiful, supportive and encouraging community at Lapetitchef that interacts with me freely and it feels like it’s a family. I love this human connect aspect of social media the most. Business wise, I get more work than I can handle, thanks to social media. Since I am very picky about who I associate with and I don’t come cheap, I choose brands that I absolutely love to work with. I earn way more than I did in the well paid job of a banker and I couldn’t be happier doing what I love while getting paid for it too! It all happened because of social media and well, due to my relentless handwork and drive!”.
Recently, Swayampurna authored a cook book “My Indian Kitchen” which was published by a well known American publishing house and this happened within just 4 years of blogging. She has already begun work on her second book. She says “The community that I have created at Lapetitchef is my biggest success. Everyday, I am flooded with the kindest, sweetest messages from people who love my work. I have written for magazines I love like Lonely Planet, the Hindu and many more. I do pop up dinners that are much adored. I have collaborated and worked with some of the leading brands of India, designed social media campaigns for them, created recipes for many well-known brands and am definitely always on the list of people as a good cook whose recipes always work. That is success to me. Not just the monetary aspect of it but the fact that people love the recipes I share as they are doable and always delicious. I think in 4 years of blogging, I have had just 2 negative reviews on a bake which was clearly because the person didn’t measure it as I had explained. That, to me, is success”.
Swayampurna loves the fact that social media has been such a great enabler and has helped her live her life on her own terms. She adds “I am doing what I love and loving what I do while making a comfortable living out of it and all on my own terms. I don’t follow trends. I do my own thing, cook from my heart, write honestly and people love me for it. To me, that’s priceless”.
Swathy Jagannathan – Founder/Designer Bhang
Swathy Jagannathan, Founder and Designer of Bhang, the clothing store, was working with a film director in Chennai handling film production when her passion for clothing drove her to quit her full-time job and launch her label, Bhang, online in Facebook, 2013. Swathy says of her shift “Clothing has always been a line of interest. I was a curator of fabrics and always loved custom-made clothes. I decided to launch my clothing line on Facebook and that helped me build a clientele of interesting people from across the globe, especially those who were already familiar with the notion of online-shopping. Within just a few months, I earned more than 10k followers which increased exponentially in a short time”. Swathy attributes her success to Facebook and Instagram “I truly owe it to the connectivity of social media that turned my business page in to a full-fledged business with an ever-increasing clientele. I, now, have a growing team of more than fifteen artisans. Now, Instagram is following the same pattern. Also, other online influencers also contribute to the sales. For instance, once an influencer shares our work, the word spreads like wild fire and we celebrate a total sell-out of that particular work/outfit by the end of the day! That’s how quickly it translates into business. One just needs to be updated with the tools available to enhance selling and create a strong customer interaction base, this takes care of everything else. Social media platforms have channelised the passion of women and empowered them by making them entrepreneurs overnight”.