There’s a new Spice Girl on the block
August 14, 2019
This one is not to be confused with the famous girl band from the 90s. Singapore-based Namita Moolani Mehra is a mom of two and is the founder of Indian Spicebox. Her brand is about enabling families to eat more wholesome home-cooked meals, including healthier versions of restaurant favourites. Simple recipes are packaged with wonderful organic spices that provide not just amazing flavour, but great health benefits as well. The best part is that for each Spicebox Kit she sells, 10 street children in India are fed a hot meal. Namita states, “We have funded over 60,000 hot meals and our goal is to provide 1 million meals by 2025.”
Namita is also a writer and has published two cookbooks out of which one is a children’s book published by Scholastic. She also writes for several online publications including Sassy Mama. She founded Indian Spicebox a few years ago after spending 15 years in the corporate world, primarily working as a digital strategist at ad agencies in New York after which she spent five years at Facebook in both New York and Singapore. Indian Spicebox was born as an idea in 2004 when she was living in New York and surrounded by friends asking her for recipes and information about spices. It wasn’t till a decade later that she quit the corporate world and founded it as a business.
Namita’s drive to make a difference was her main inspiration to become an entrepreneur. She wanted to give back and do something with meaning and purpose. Therefore, by creating something of her own that would be purpose-driven and make her feel excited about getting out of bed, she wanted to put her strengths in service of something meaningful. After working at one of the world’s best companies (Facebook) with the most incredibly talented people, and supported by tremendous resources, she was afraid of going off on her own. She was worried about not having the teams and resources to keep her motivated and productive.
A year before starting her own business, Namita worked for a VC (Venture Capital) firm which was an eye-opening experience for her to a great experience. It gave her a good understanding of the start-up world and financing better. “Frankly, I had no clue about funding businesses and there are a lot of different routes and options out there for founders and small business owners. It is really important to know your options, network with other business owners and founders, attend start-up conferences/events, read the blogs, soak up as much information as you can and also consult financial planning advisors to get a clear understanding of that part too.” says Namita. She invested her own savings from her previous jobs and advocates engaging financial advisors and companies who can help to manage money and investments for you on the personal front and for the business.
There are several things one should be aware of while starting on their own. Namita shares a few from her experience, right from being prepared to feel alone, to being constantly in battle mode to ensuring that you hire and delegate early-on. Hire interns and invest in a good
website developer and designer. She also emphasizes to take the time to create and build a solid brand right at the onset (as all touchpoints matter) and most importantly, investing in quality.
Amongst other things, Namita also highlights that it’s important to surround yourself with people you trust. She states, “If you find good partners, vendors, interns, freelancers—hold on to them and keep investing in good people. Also, build a solid brand upfront. Invest in good designers, brand building experts and digital experts who know how to present your brand and offering via critical touchpoints. Have several mentors or your own personal board of advisors – the people you can trust and use as soundboards. Work with a professional coach. I’ve been working with a coach for over five years now and she anchors me tremendously behind the scenes. As I’ve mentioned earlier, engaging financial advisors to keep you on track with your money management is also crucial. Remember, you can’t succeed alone. So, the people you surround yourself with, are the ones who will ultimately determine your success.”