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Komal Panwar

Blogger & Singer

Munch On These Tips For Self-Funded Startups From Business Lunch With Gurleen Kaur

  • IWB Post
  •  April 20, 2017


To me, bootstrap always meant buying boots that had straps. Alright, I know, I just lost my position of being a blogger after this. But, just the way cats have nine lives, I have about 9 more mistakes to make before I get fired.

Business Lunch

Krystal Bar at The Hilton, Jaipur

Anyhoo, turns out bootstrapping has a different meaning, too. Apparently, bootstrapping your business means raising it up with your own funds. But how do the bootstrapping ships sail? Do the start-ups have enough financial tricks on their tips? Are they money-minded? When is the right time to expand investments in one’s own business? When do you know that it’s growing? How, what, when?

Business Lunch

Gurleen Kaur

Before you lose it all and throwing your expensive china at me, let me introduce you to Haree Patti’s Gurleen Kaur, who sit down to munch the lunch with 8 hard-working entrepreneurial women at Hotel Hilton, Jaipur.

Business Lunch

Do you know what happens at intimate lunches? Nah, not just the secrets, sillies! Food makes you happy and gets information out. *wink*

Their goals were simple: making their businesses work, taking them up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.

Business Lunch

The business lunch amongst the nine began with lipsticks. Yes.

Each seat had a Colorbar lipstick sitting in front of them, and it had some colors I’d never dare to use! Timid me! The participants took on the task lip-bold and introduced their startups with associations in these colors.

Business Lunch

Dia Ajmera

Dia Ajmera (Founder, Pasha): My color is red, I think I can relate it to the trending quirky prints of my fashion startup, which is very refreshing, just like the color.

Business Lunch

Ratika Bhargava

Ratika Bhargava (Founder, The Cauldron Sisters): I’ve got the perfect lip color, green! We’re promoting vegetarianism through home-cooked startup.  

Business Lunch

Gurleen (Founder, Haree Patti): Haha, so my color is green, too. Perfect, isn’t it? A lot of people ask me if Haree Patti stands for green tea. It actually means money!

Gurleen opened the business lunch to questions from all the entrepreneurs, just as the aroma of the soup filled the room. I could feel our entrepreneurs feeling distracted. I mean, of course, food.

Business Lunch

This soup is delicious.” One of them mumbled. Chef sensed that he was needed, and so he walked towards the ladies, to give them a few tips on getting the perfect Italian bean soup.

Business Lunch

There’s a lot more on its way!” He added, and the soup kickstarted the conversations.

Paridhi Sharma:I have a question. I’ve applied for funding on a website called The Simple Fund. I submitted my idea and they agreed to take it forward. But they’re asking for 1% equity for every 1 Lakh invested.

Business Lunch

Paridhi Sharma

Gurleen: I think it is too early for you to be thinking about funding because first of all the idea should be clear in your head itself. What exactly do you need? You want to start a nightclub. Who is your target audience? Where do you plan to start the club? What will make this club unique?

Funding is only 20% of the problem; work on the 80% of the problem, first. Initially, no one invests in an idea.

Business Lunch

Yashasvi Bajaj

Yashasvi Bajaj: “I’m starting a new business. Well, to be honest, it is an old family business. I plan to revive it. My father wants me to focus only on export. My suggestion though for us to focus local… he’s against the idea.”

Gurleen: It is the amalgamation of old and new, so clashes are bound to happen. He will have his own tried and tested methods, while you will be full of fresh ideas. He may not agree at all times. Both of you need to respect each others’ suggestions.

Business Lunch

Ragini and Ranjana Bhandari

You could also begin with some local collaborations that would help you grow your market! The design innovation for your block print products is critical if you go local. Consider, introducing the social and charitable element into your local concept that can work towards the betterment of artisans.

Business Lunch

Paridhi Jaipuria wanted to know if SIS strategy (store in store) was a better way to go for her brand. To which, Gurleen responded, “SIS is a good option if you really want your brand’s word to spread. You want to do this when you’re relatively new, and your collection speaks for itself.

Lady Boss Ana added, “What really matters to make this strategy successful is to make your brand visible. Your brand should speak to its audience, and stand apart in crowded SIS area. You could work out a great display or quirky tags, or whatever it is that defines you.”

Business Lunch

Tushina Poddar, Head- Design- Development & Chief Curator, Imlee

There were many more queries and discussions over the crunchy salad. An om here and a nom there. The Hilton’s luncheon, with their food, also made them eat their Colorbar lipsticks!

Business Lunch

And, then they prayed for a brief touch-up session.

Business Lunch

Soon after, we decided to play a little game. Everyone shared a fear that blocks their startup from growth. They had to say to that fear, “FORK IT!” And while the bunch was eating their salad, they also decided to “fork it”, too!

The Cauldron Sisters told us, “Initially, when we were starting off, our parents didn’t support us too much, they felt that it wasn’t going to do us any good! There was no financial support, and yeah, we were bootstrapping. In that moment, we said FORK IT!

Business Lunch

Gurleen also had some intelligent advice for all those who don’t know how to hire the right people. “Always hire someone who is better than you.” I’m so going to remember that advice.

Dia: I am always insecure about training someone under me and then letting them take my ideas and plan with them.

Gurleen: Not everyone is an entrepreneur, and besides, that’s a risk that all businessmen have to take. While someone can copy your design, no one can steal your ideas.

The food seemed to be a catalyst to the conversations. “Mmmm, did you taste the rice?

Mmmm, please let me eat,” would probably have been my response. Hotel Hilton, where is your kitchen. It needs to go in my museum of awesomeness.

Business Lunch

The conversations over couscous and ratatouille proved to be rather motivating and delicious. I think I might have developed a few start-up ideas myself.

How about a designer who sings and sniffs haree patti? Ah, perfect job, yeah?

By the time the desserts came in, ‘scuse me while I cry myself to sleep at how delicious the chocolate cake was, the Colorbar lipsticks had been wiped off.

Business Lunch

But, first, there was something special for Gurleen from Colorbar! She got a bright pink cosmetic bag and that’s when the Hotel’s GM came in to check if we were up to any mischief. Tehehe.

Business Lunch

Are all of you having fun?” All of us giggled like little girls.

Business Lunch

Vishal Gupta, General Manager, The Hilton

I’d offer you our cocktails and concoctions, but don’t think now is a good time,” he laughed. Well, I should’ve raised my hand and accepted the offer, right?

Business Lunch

To bond a little more, the ladies all suspiciously moved towards the washroom. And so, before we could pout, or bond or pee, Colorbar had a surprise for all of us! The Ladies room at the Hilton Hotel knew that we needed a bit of touch-up.

Business Lunch

As we entered the washroom, a basket full of Colorbar lipsticks stared at us. We made good use of them before taking the groupfie. Everyone pouted to ‘kiss their financial insecurities goodbye.’ Ah, it was a sweet farewell.

Business Lunch

“Goodbye, all the doubts!”

Business Lunch

Vishal, Marketing Manager, The Hilton

Photo Courtesy: Pallav Bhargava & Aparna Natha


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