Chinmayie Bhat, founder at Soul– a baby carrier brand, is a mother of 2 kids. Being a graphic designer and food blogger, she started her business in 2014 when she couldn’t find fine quality baby carriers in India. Being a babywearing lover, she started her own babywearing brand which is now the largest baby carrier brand in India. Chinmayie shares about her business story with WOI.
Firstly believe in your product or service. You should be in the business that your heart is in. Always remember why you started your venture and what vision you have for yourself for the coming years. There are no short-cuts in anything and nothing can replace hard work and dedication. These apply to any entrepreneur.
I was born in a small town near Mangalore and did my schooling there. At the age of 15, I moved to Bangalore and studied fine art and design for 5 years. After a brief stint as a graphic designer, I took a break from work when I had my first baby 9 years ago. I was always interested in food, so I started a food blog around this time. I completely immersed myself in food, recipe creation, and food photography for a few years after that. It was only after the birth of my son 5 years ago, that I decided to start Soul and take my love for babies and baby carriers to the next level.
A lot of my interests and passion have been the same for over a decade now. I was always passionate about food, sustainability, parenting, health, nutrition, and conscious living. Everything I have done in the past and what I am doing now revolves around these basic interests of mine. A lot about me changed after I had children. I started looking at things like food and sustainability in a whole new light. I was instantly drawn to attachment parenting which influenced my life in many ways.
Like I said previously, the parenting philosophy that shaped me as a mother led me to babywearing. My daughter was a high needs baby and I bought a baby carrier to help me hold her close. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the right carrier for me. Many years later when I was pregnant again I decided to research a LOT more about baby carriers. I bought one before my son was even born because I knew how it was going to help me if my second baby also turns out to be a high needs one. I started using a ring sling with my newborn and instantly fell in love with it! I was convinced that every parent or caregiver would love a sling just like I did and I felt like it can change their parenting experience completely. I decided to start Soul right away and 5 months later Soul was launched.
Nothing about building a brand is easy but luckily for me I never looked at it from that angle. Soul was started purely for the love of babywearing. Everything I did with Soul from day one was very intuitive. Soul wasn’t built like a ‘brand’ – It grew naturally and organically.
When I first started Soul, I launched a Facebook page for it after an initial photoshoot. My son and I were the models ourselves. I was using and loving my own product every single day. I still remember our first set of ring slings which were shared as an album on our Facebook page. As a food blogger who was fairly familiar with the ways of social media, I decided that Facebook was a great way to spread the word about my new venture. Within days all the ring slings were sold out!
Soul is over 4 years old now and there have been many many milestones along the way. I never imagined it to grow the way it did. I did not think we will be the biggest baby carrier brand in India and one of the popular names around the world too! I definitely didn’t think so many thousands of babies around the world will be wrapped in Soul carriers 🙂 To me that is the biggest milestone and I believe this is just the beginning.
On most days it feels great to be an entrepreneur! I feel blessed to be able to do what I love and to be doing something that makes a difference in people’s lives. Of course being an entrepreneur comes with its own set of challenges. I will be lying if I say that it’s always fun and easy. It comes with lots of challenges and it’s important to stay focused and strong to move further.
Being a part of Soul’s journey for all these years has taught me that I have a lot to learn.
As a mother with young children, my schedule has been changing very very often for many years now. For now we have a great routine in place. We all start our days early and by 7.45 my kids leave to school. After that till 2pm I get to fully focus on work. I go to our factory or office based on where I am required, whenever I can, and work from home. Evenings are mostly spent with kids and I get back to work after they sleep if required.
When you run a business, there are new challenges every single day. I think the business being successful only makes it harder because you are taking bigger steps every time to grow. I am motivated by lots of different things around me. When I see caregivers struggle with their babies, I am motivated to make baby carriers accessible to everybody. When I see any business or organisation doing interesting work, I am inspired to innovate and push boundaries of our own brand. My own children are a huge source of inspiration too! They motivate me to be my best always. When I feel down and low, I pick myself up by remind myself about all my blessings and tell myself that life is too short to not wake up and make the most of every single day I have.
I am extremely lucky to have a great support system. My mom spent a lot of time with us when my children were younger which helped me tremendously. My husband is my work and life partner. He is the pillar of my strength as a very involved husband and a hands on father. I have a house help who takes care of my home like it’s her own and helps me with everything from cleaning to cooking when needed. I live in a great gated community with some amazing friends who are like family. They make parenting a lot easier for me every day. I am blessed with all of this and will always be thankful for them.
Thank you Chinmaye. You are an Inspiring mom entrepreneur. Your brand has helped many parents experience the joy and benefits of Babywearing. We are glad to feature your business story on WOI. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours. Keep Inspiring!
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