One Should Not Have Any Regrets In Life, So Go Pursue Your Dreams And Don't Look Back.
By Ms. Shagun Sharma - Hedonista
Beautiful Minds - 'Wings of Inspiration'
Shagun Sharma - A venerable professional, with a vision of doing something of her own founded HEDONISTA in 2015, a venture that specializes in handmade, all- natural and cruelty - free sustainable luxury products and is running successfully extending to interior areas of our country. She is business-minded, she is experimental, and above all she has diverse experience to share from. She challenges our thinking and boost our confidence to believe in shaping our dreams!! We learned a lot from the exchange. And hope you too find it as stirring as we do!
Tell us something about yourself ?
I was born and brought up in Delhi. After finishing school, I pursued English honours from Miranda House, Delhi University, before completing my MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune. I have always found myself attracted to new thought approaches. It is, perhaps, because of this trait that I ended-up working with varied businesses over the last 9 years. From infrastructure to films production, from media to women apparels, and finally to beauty products, my experience has been rich with diversity, always seeking new challenges.
How did you start HEDONISTA?
In 2013, I was working as a brand strategist. Thanks to my work, I was constantly surrounded by the chatter of new brand ideas and found myself inspired by the idea of creating something new. As a hobby soap-maker, I was whipping-up traditional cold-process soaps that were loved by friends and family. I realized that their popularity was because natural beauty products in the market either lacked great fragrances and textures, by virtue of being Ayurvedic, or were just plain boring, by being too clinical and laboratory formulated. I wondered why natural had to mean uninspiring or uninteresting? Why can’t natural also be luxuriating and indulgent? The quest to solve this conundrum brought out the alchemist in me as I embarked upon my entrepreneurial journey with the creation of Hedonista.
What is HEDONISTA all about?
Hedonista believes in the philosophy of Hedonism, which is about the pursuit of pleasure and all things indulgent. This, whilst being all natural and against animal testing. It is a luxury beauty brand that promises an unparalleled experience of guilt-free, unabashed indulgence. Hedonista’s range includes products like Hair Perfume, which is reminiscent of Mughal princesses smoking their hair with fragrance, a delicious chocolate face mask called Face Soufflé, Frozen Ittars which embody the essence of traditional ittars in a new, contemporary form, and a range of gourmet soaps amongst other all-natural and handmade products.
What was the turning point of your life?
I would say that my life changed the day I decided to let go of a stable job and a promising career to pursue my passion. It wasn’t easy, but the idea of chasing a dream that I truly believed in was too compelling to let go of. I took the plunge a couple of years ago, and have never looked back since.
How do you manage everything?
The secret lies in breaking a big problem into many smaller ones. When you start a venture, it is full of challenges. One needs to meticulously draw up a plan of action and go about solving one problem at a time, turning uncertain occurrences into predictable eventualities. I utilized my areas of strength to set the foundation of the business by defining the brand Hedonista and the world it would inhabit. The product, business operations, and the accompanying financial modalities were then tackled subsequently, as I gradually expanded my skill set and applied learnings picked up on the way. This also included putting together a team of like-minded individuals, the importance of which can’t be emphasized enough. I am particularly inclined towards acquisition of knowledge, an approach that I have consistently adopted since the early days of my career. Thorough research of the market and observation of some of the best (and worst) practices in business has stood me in good stead. Who all supported you in your journey ? I have had the good fortune of everyone’s support. There were obvious misgivings, initially, as my family wondered if I was doing the right thing but they were quick to see my conviction and backed me with confidence. My husband has been my sounding board. I often discuss ideas with him and he has been patient and forthcoming in his feedback which, to be honest, has been of immense help to me in putting this venture together.
What were the obstacles that you faced?
The main obstacle that I faced was handling the operational part of the business. The journey from idea to execution is complex, one that is filled with unforeseen challenges. I come from a service class family and most of my friends have backgrounds like mine. I often found myself short of sources to draw knowledge from in the early phases of my business.
How do you manage your finances?
Being an independent person, I have always been thorough when it comes to money and my personal finances. I never thought I’d be poring over balance sheets though, but managed to do that quite well, once my work demanded it.
What advice can you give to other women to be a successful women entrepreneur?
To be a successful entrepreneur I believe it’s necessary to follow your instincts and not others. Have faith in your ambitions and value your ideas and thoughts; that can take you a long way.
My journey has taught me two things:
1) One should not have any regrets in life, so go pursue your dreams and don’t look back.
2) Perseverance is key, once you set out to achieve something don’t question IF it’ll happen just keep working towards WHEN it’ll happen.
I wondered, why natural had to mean uninspiring or uninteresting? Why can’t natural also be luxuriating and indulgent?