Womenspiring Wednesdays…

Be The Change You Want To See !

Neha Sethi-Indulge : Life Is Sweet!

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I started of my education at Cathedral and then went on to complete my undergrad at the Wharton Business School in the States. My family expected me to get into Investment Banking after that so I did a year of that in Bear Stearns in New York. I really didn’t like that so moved back at the end of one year and decided to do something else in Bombay. I initially joined my father in the family business (denim and yarn) but that didn’t interest me either. Then I started an education software company but that didn’t go anywhere unfortunately, so it was on to the next thing. After that, my brother-in-law and I started an education institute that hosted various classes for students such as Mandarin and CA but, after a while, I knew that that wasn’t for me either. That’s when my friend planted the idea of Sweetish House Mafia (SHM) in my mind – baking cookies and sending them out while announcing the location and delivery time via social media (Facebook and Twitter are the reason SHM exists!). He knew I was good at baking and was adamant I share my baking skills with the world! And that’s how SHM was born. The idea was so unique that the media picked it up immediately. Articles in publications, a TV and radio interview, the works. The coverage SHM got took me by surprise. It was amazing how quickly and completely people took to it that from a small nano delivery service in April 2013 it became a brick-and-mortar store in September 2014. I started SHM as a passion project on the side while I tried to figure out what to do with my life. That passion project snowballed into SHM and it amazes me till this day!

neha store

But it hasn’t been hunky-dory all along. I have faced challenges along the way. The biggest challenge was convincing my mother to let me experiment with this since she was the one who always wanted me to go to Wharton and figure out a career in finance. This was the complete opposite of what she pictured me doing with my life – baking from the kitchen in my house. She was upset at first but when she saw what traction SHM was getting she reconciled herself to the fact and was eventually quite proud of me! Another challenge was keeping people interested and coming back for more. It’s not easy capturing the attention of people in Bombay and keeping it. They look for something new and then move on so quickly, it’s crazy!

Through all of this, my husband has been my pillar. He pushed me to experiment with SHM and see where it takes me. He knew it was capable of becoming something big. Without him I don’t think I would have put in as much effort as I did. I wanted him to be proud of me too!

In fact, without hard work and determination SHM wouldn’t have reached where it is. Obviously, there are a lot of contributing factors to SHM’s success, including the catchy name, the innovative marketing concept, the anonymity, the novel product, but behind it all is the hours of work I put in my kitchen trying to get out the best cookies possible to as many of my customers as possible. Passion for your work will only take you so far, it’s the hard work that takes you the distance. That and the guts to push the boundaries and do what you want to do, not what is expected of you. That’s the most important thing to remember and that’s what has gotten me to where I am today.



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