We All Know That Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery
By Ms. Rhea Singhal- Ecoware Solutions
Beautiful Minds - 'Wings Of Inspiration'
Rhea Singhal - At the age of 27, in May 2009, she self-funded and founded Ecoware, the first and only manufacturer of 100% biodegradable and compostable tableware of India. After returning from Abroad, she observed people were health conscious but were ignoring the fact that they were using the same old packaging of plastic and thus, eating the same. After this, she became desperate to innovate and offer products that were 100% safe and bio-degradable. She revolutionized the idea of providing Healthy lifestyle by making eco-friendly tableware available in India. Today, this idea has found several admirers.
Lets’ find out how Rhea Singhal’s Journey inspire us :
Tell us something about yourself?
I grew up in Dubai and London and got married to a Delhiite. I studied Pharmacology from the University of Bristol and being at boarding school, in UK, taught me discipline and gave me a strong sense of independence. It taught me to be comfortable with who I am and not be scared to fight for what I stood for. My background has always been brand building. I worked for 5 years with Pfizer Inc. in London as a senior marketing and sales executive which taught me to be business determined and I definitely learnt more on the job than any other text book. It shaped me, made me more focused and driven, taught me that the only thing constant was a change, and the best I could do is concentrate on what I could control and just get on with what I had to do.
How was EcoWARE Conceptualized?
I got married and moved to Delhi. I found that there was a lot of waste all around and people were very casual about it. I found that people had no education about waste segregation and there was no backward integrated system to deal with waste segregation except for kabadiwalas. This was very different to what I was used to and I felt there should be a change that needs to be brought about. I noticed that everybody was talking about eating healthy and organic, but I felt that it made no sense if the organic food was eaten in plastic plates as it was not healthy. I wanted to do something which is healthy and hygienic for us as well as for the environment and which will complement the entire food service industry as well. This is how ECOWARE was born.
What is ECOWARE all about?
ECOWARE was built on the belief that people should eat healthy while remaining conscious of their responsibilities toward the environment. It drives people’s attention towards healthy packaging . As we eat more outside our home, we have less control over the quality, hygiene and safety of the tableware in which we are served. But, ECOWARE takes care of this by providing a serving dish that is 100 percent biodegradable and compostable and is certified by USDA(United States Department Of Agriculture ). ECOWARE was registered in May 2009 and production began in March 2010. Our biggest client was The Common Wealth Games 2010, which gave me a lot of visibility and confidence. Initially, our focus was on Delhi - NCR but post that event we expanded our business to neighboring states. We built our channels of Wholesale / Retail, made our business available on both online and offline. Our clients include the wholesalers, institutions, quick service restaurants, caterers, hotels, and modern trade. I feel that the most interesting chunk of our clients are our consumers, who have developed education about using environment friendly packaging. We have one factory in Uttarakhand and second one we started 3 years ago, which is based in Greater Noida. Our annual turnover is 20 crores and we have a vision of expanding our capacity 3-fold in January. ECOWARE is a quality driven business, running successfully and is hopefully going to achieve even greater heights in next few coming years.
What are the obstacles that you faced?
I faced obstacles in terms of people having limited awareness about using environment friendly packaging and to come-up with a new product and that to in a price sensitive market. It was a huge challenge. Since people had no awareness, there were fewer people willing to pay that extra amount, as they were unable to comprehend the benefit. Moreover, I started ECOWARE SOLUTIONS at the age of 27 and to be taken up seriously in a male dominated society was a bigger challenge. People used to assume that since, I had lived abroad and only recently returned to India, I would never be able to run a business. Another challenge that I face continuously is that people try to copy ECOWARE.
"But, we all know that the imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!"
How do you balance everything?
My family has always been extremely supportive. While growing up, I saw my mother work and manage everything, and it is important to me that I set the same example for my children. It is possible to create a balance, please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! It is important to be disciplined about work life balance. I try to attend to work related matters only during working hours unless, it is an absolute emergency and when I am home, my focus is purely on my children and family.
Is it important for a woman to understand finances?
I believe that it is very important for a woman to understand finances and be financially independent. Every woman should have her own income, irrespective of the value and have a hold on her own financial matters. Managing finances are an integral part of life.
Some inspiring words for younger generation?
One should be 100 percent passionate about what they are doing and should live , breathe and own their idea. You need to be thick-skinned, as being an entrepreneur is not easy, it can be quite lonely as you are the one who has to push and motivate yourself to be a successful entrepreneur.
I believe that in order to be a successful entrepreneur :
• One should be resilient
• Learn to laugh about things and don’t take everything seriously
• Just be secure about yourself and be 100 percent sure about what you are doing.
"My success mantra is that ‘ it’s a bad day , not a bad life ‘ , so , have confidence in yourself and you will achieve greater heights."