TheShareStory.in is an initiative to build a community of Entrepreneurs, Founders, Startups & Industry Stalwarts to celebrate success & to learn from shortfalls, and to Contribute, Inspire & Embellish Entrepreneurship by sharing their exciting Stories!
As a part of our initiative, we invited yet another passionate Professional Ms. Richa Singh for an interview with us to understand more about her corporate journey. She is the Chief Executive Officer of niine hygiene & personal care. Let’s learn more about her exciting journey, her background and her advice for our growing community! Dynamic, daring and a go-getter—these words are floating around the lady herself.
What three words describe you?
Driven, Committed, and Passionate; and this transpires in everything I do at work and in personal life.
What made you leave an enviable corporate career and join a startup?
It was the sheer thrill and a drive to create something new and make it big, working in India, with a family of entrepreneurs who were committed to making a difference in India.
How did you come across the idea of Niine?
It all started with me running into Amar Tulsiyan, Founder and Chairman of what we now know as Niine. He had a vision that time to enter into feminine hygiene, and making a mark in improving this landscape in India. We started exploring and working together, over time his passion for the cause rubbed on me, having carried an idea from incubation to birth, it just seemed right to join the journey with him, and make it big.
When it comes to menstruation, India has a lot of taboos. What difficulties did you face to establish Niine amidst these taboos?
Our biggest challenge is the limited distribution reach that napkins have- driven by a reluctance of many retailers to stock these, and of men and women to openly purchase them. Snacks, baby diapers, and even face wash, etc, have a penetration far higher than that of sanitary napkins. Very slowly and surely, we are seeing people coming forward to embrace a category that was largely considered “untouchable” by many for long.
What products/services do you offer?
We are committed to improving the health and lives of our consumers, before simple product-in-a-pack offerings. We are launching several products to improve health and hygiene, but are equally focussed on improving awareness and breaking myths that hinder feminine health. We have a first of its kind “Niine” period tracker app in 14 languages, rich with information on menstrual hygiene.
What is the work culture like at Niine?
Niine team is a highly committed and motivated team. Everyone works independently with minimal supervision. Of course with COVID we have embraced, work from home, or work remotely, and are heavily relying on technology to stay connected and drive productivity where needed.
What are the things that keep social entrepreneurs from succeeding in fulfilling their potential?
Social entrepreneurship is a fine balance between profitability and social welfare. Eventually, an entrepreneur has to ensure profits to drive sustainability. Disturbing this balance in either way can be a deterrent to lasting efforts.
How many lives do you think will have a positive impact on with Niine sponsoring RR in IPL 2020?
India is passionate about cricket. Families watch it together over snacks, dinner with a lot of fanfare. We do hope to be present during IPL with RR sporting sanitary napkins on the back of its jersey, so bolding, will help break a lot of stigma and shame for men and women alike.
What effect did COVID-19 leave in your personal as well as work-life?
COVID has made us more efficient in time management, long haul avoidable travel has been replaced by quick video conferences. We find ways to connect more often. However it’s not sustainable , we do need more human touchpoints to ensure we keep renewing our collaboration and bonds needed to function as a team. On the personal front too, I do miss unwinding with friends, or just going for a short vacation with kids away from the usual humdrum of city life.
Whom do you drive inspiration from?
There are several people who have inspired me in different ways. My mother taught me never to give up. One of my earlier managers, Mario influenced how I manage teams or the kind of culture I try to set out at my workplace. People I draw inspiration from our usual people close to me, where I have seen their influence make a direct impact on me, or people around me.
Any advice for our budding entrepreneurs from your experience?
It’s never too late to start a new venture. However any new venture does take a huge amount of energy and nurturing with steady flow of funds to bring it to a viable stage. Also it helps to have 1-2 people you trust, who share your passion, who can partner with you to make the idea a reality. It’s always good to bounce off your idea to as many people as possible, whom you feel can add value by their experience, or help you connect with people who can be of help. While working on an idea, also work on creating an ecosystem around you, to help you nurture that idea.