The women of Noida Extension are reaching for the sky, just like the many high rise buildings that make up the skyline here. In our series on women entrepreneurs, we bring to you the success stories of women who are using their creativity, guile, hardwork and determination to not only stand on their feet but also to support their families. The interesting part is that they are doing all this from their homes.
We bring to you Richa Srivastav, a pickle queen, Smriti Sinha, who turns jute bags into art pieces and Mahi, a lady chef. They not only took the huge step of turning their hobbies into business, but have also been doing a great balancing act. An act where they have managed their families, personal lives and business simultaneously and rather successfully.
Richa Srivastava, who is known as "Pickle Queen" among the admirers of the pickles she makes. She is not an ordinary pickle maker but a certified one, as she has a certificate for pickling.
A resident of Supertech Ecovillage 2, whose roots are tied to Faizabad, Richa is a management expert and the mom of a lovely 14-year-old girl. She gets a bit emotional as she shares her story. Says she, " I have worked in various companies, but my fate brought me here and today I say thank you destiny! That you showed me a good path. I started my pickle business two and half years back. I started with selling a bottle of 250 grams, and now no order comes less than 1 kg." It is a sign that people love the pickles she makes.
She gives a lot of credit for her pickle making skills to her mother in law. "I owe special thanks to my Mother in law. She taught me how to bring the right colour to my pickles without adding anything artificial in it, and also the ways to enhance the taste of every ingredient we use in a pickle." Her pickles business is by the name "Akki pickles".
Her speciality is making pickles of garlic leaves (full of antioxidants) and people just love it. In winters her menu includes the winter special achar- kachhi haldi ka achar (raw turmeric pickle) which is known for keeping the body warm from inside. Talking about some legal help in attaining the food licenses, she especially mentions two names which are most important to her. Says she, "Antriksh sir and Ritu mam helped me at every step."
The admirers of her pickles come from all over her neighbourhood. Her products get delivered to nearby societies such as Panchsheel Green1,2, Ajanara Homes, Ajnara Daffodils, Nirala GreenShire, Mahagun My Woods, Mahagun Moderate, Hyde Park, Cherry County, Fusion Home, Gaur city 11, 12, Crossing Republik and French Apartment among others.
Next we meet Smriti Arora, a mom of 9 years old Devanshi, who lives in Supertech Oxford Square. She is confident and happy with her life and the decisions she made. Says she, "I have worked in so many major Gurgaon corporate houses for 15 years. Then finally decided to sit at home when the covid hit our lives". It was covid or fate, she decided to give wings to her longtime hobby. "And that is when my crafts business started."
Smriti makes beautiful Jute bags, purses, clutches and decorative items. She sells her creations from her home and also puts up stalls in societies and events, where her creations get a lot of appreciation. Her work involves purchasing basic jute bags from the market and then giving quality finishing using her creativity. She also makes beautiful puja bags, kids small bags, potlis etc. Her jute bags are very economical as compared to the market, she also deals in hampers for special occasions and festive seasons. "I get a lot of support from my husband in my work," she says.
Meet S Mahi, a resident of Radha Sky Garden and a mom of a three-year-old daughter. She had always been doing her bit to support her family financially. From giving tuition to kids at home to dabbling in property dealing. Then she noticed that many bachelors in society depend on cooks and maids for food. This gave her the idea of starting a tiffin service. She pitched the idea to her husband who readily agreed. That was the foundation day of "Footsteps" her tiffin service.
It was a struggle. Initially she cooked food for her tiffin service at home and also kept her tuition classes active. The morning started with tuition, afternoon she served food to bachelors, then again tuition followed by tiffin service to bachelors. She kept busy the whole day and then again carried the same journey the next day. And all her struggles faced a severe loss when Covid hit. Says she" Everything I had created was destroyed as India was locked down! My tiffin service stopped. After a whole year, I restarted my business."
Now her business is not only limited to her kitchen or till Radha Sky Garden, it has spread all over Noida. Her cooked food is reaching the whole Noida through zomato and swiggy. The real struggle is that till date she has not hired any household due to the risk of covid infection as her daughter is just 3 years old and this is her prime concern. But she takes it all in her stride. Says she, "My days of real struggle are over. Earlier the work was new and the question was how to serve and reach out to people? Now my clients are back from their hometowns and everything is settled by God's grace. My husband is very supportive in this venture of mine. We cook together and purchase vegetables and groceries together."
On asking about her winter special special foods, she says, "Yes if the demand comes, I can cook makke di roti sarson ka saag too."