Exclusive Interview with Rashmi Putcha
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
I have been an entrepreneur since 2003 – Inaari is my fourth venture. Prior to Inaari, I spent 20 years in advertising and education but something was missing. In 2019, I quit from all my ventures to figure what my true calling was. And in 2020, I finally launched Inaari – a brand focused on women’s health.
Throw some light on your business and its offerings/services.
Inaari (pronounced I – Naari) is a brand focused on resolving women’s health issues – from puberty to menopause. Our core focus is on helping women understand their bodies, their hormonal cycles and supporting them by solving the root cause of various problems.
How is it different from other companies?
Most companies are focused on resolving symptoms and not the root cause of the problem. Our products are designed especially for women, and are focused on root cause resolution. We use the highest quality of ingredients in our products and ensure that products are tested for active ingredients as well as contaminants before they are launched in the market. Unfortunately most organisations ignore the last bit due to the high costs that are involved.
How challenging is it for a woman to start/or associate with any company? /Have you faced any unusual situations doing business in India as a female entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is a mindset – starting a new company is just as challenging for a woman as it is for a man. The world unfortunately doesn’t provide equal opportunities to a man and woman but we have to stop complaining and start acting. Personally, I have not let the gender conversation affect me – I believe that as more and more women start businesses, the divide will get narrower and eventually go away.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
It is about priorities. Work and personal life are equally important to me. I try to balance as much as possible by not letting work spill into my personal time (evenings and weekends). Similarly, when I am at work, I do not take a break even for lunch. Work-life balance is possibly as long as one works with integrity.
If you could describe yourself in a few words, what would they be?
As a professional, I only take up things I am extremely passionate about. For me the cause is the motivation and that keeps me highly motivated and focused. At work, as in my personal life, I am high on integrity and that value system has helped me run my business in a clean and honest manner. My personal leadership motto is – lead by example.
If you could change anything in the Indian market, what it would be?
There are three things I would change – (a) the regulatory environment needs to become a lot more conducive towards ease of business but also needs to be stringent on quality (b) business owners need to stop taking short cuts and work with a lot more integrity (c) working environment requires to become a lot more employee friendly and flexible.
How are entrepreneurship and working women important for India?
No country can progress without the progress of its women. India, like many other parts of the world, is still struggling with a huge gender divide. While the feminist movement has gained momentum, at the current rate it will be centuries before we get to an equal place. One way to ensure women have a voice is to ensure they are financially independent. That can happen through education and more women in the workforce.
Define a perfect business leader. What are the qualities you think a great leader possess?
The perfect business leader strives to create positive change in society by solving an existing or future problem. When the leader is truly aligned to the cause and works with a single-minded focus towards solving that problem and communicates that vision to her team clearly, half the battle is won. The other half is won with the personal aspects of the leader – good communication skills, ability to think outside the box, willingness to take calculated risks and being a people’s person.
What is the road map of your organization?
We are on a single-minded mission of solving women’s health issues. We believe this can be achieved with education and awareness across all segments and strata of society. The Inaari Foundation is focused on this since inception. On the company side, we are heavily invested in research and launch of quality products that can make the lives of women easier by helping them deal with their health issues. We have a clear 5 year plan set up to scale both the initiatives I outlined above.
What advice would you give to other businesswomen who want to thrive in a male-dominated industry and deal with the typical and stereotype people?
I have only one simple advice – ignore what the world has to say and do what you want to do without comprising on your personal values. After a while, nobody cares whether you are a woman or man as long as you are good at what you do.