The Pandemic didn’t miraculously disappear. Though 2021 was still a shaky year in so many ways, it was a definite improvement from 2020. What we as people did in 2021 was we celebrated the good things in life but in a cautious way.
As 2021 comes to an end, we at Medianews4U spoke to a few leading Women entrepreneurs Malini Agarwal- Founder & Creative Director Miss Malini Entertainment & Girl Tribe, Aditi Handa, Head Baker and Co-Founder, The Baker’s Dozen, Geeta Ramakrishnan, Ontological Coach and Author, Disha Singh, Founder and CEO, Zouk and Khushi Govil – Associate Vice President, Talent – MissMalini Entertainment how was their journey in 2021 and what were the lessons they learned from 2020
Malini Agarwal, Founder & Creative Director, MissMalini Entertainment Pvt Ltd: From the onset of the pandemic, there has been a spotlight on influencer marketing as a crucial part of the marketing mix. The rapid growth of the creator ecosystem over the last few years collided at light speed with the overnight realization of marketers everywhere that most of their traditional mediums were obsolete in the Covid world. The result was not just a “trend” towards influencer marketing, but more of a paradigm shift. Digital content & influencer strategy is now top of mind from the very beginning of the media planning phase for most brands and agencies. All this has happened at the same time when the platform and social media ecosystem has seen seismic shifts as well. With the exit of Byte Dance from India, multiple India homegrown video sharing and social commerce platforms have seen tremendous growth, and some global platforms have also seen exponential growth like Snapchat which recently surpassed 100 million users in India. Meanwhile, Facebook/Instagram and Google/YouTube continue to capture a supermajority of all digital ad spends and remain the most popular platforms for content/influencer marketing campaigns. The surge in demand from brands, and the increasingly complicated platform landscape has left the creator/influencer ecosystem in need of two things – support and organization. The community needs support to navigate all the format and platform choices, collaborate with other creators more regularly, and create content – especially video content – more efficiently. The community needs organizations to maximize their earnings and to amplify their content at scale…in other words, to take control of their own monetization and career growth! This is what MissMalini, and our partners, will be spending our time on in 2022 and beyond, and we can’t wait to show the community what we have in store!
Aditi Handa, Co-Founder at The Baker’s Dozen: 2020-2021 has been a year of customer-centricity. As we have been consistently standing strong by our customers and understanding their needs at length, we have been rewarded generously in terms of sales, growth, and visibility. Especially, post our millionth sourdough sell-out moment and successful launch of The Dose We Knead campaign, we witnessed a swelling demand for our products with 250 % growth this year, followed by the launch of 2 brand stores in the span of 2 months and 15 + micro fulfillment centers (delivery only outlets) Pan India.
We are expecting a similar growth and self-development pattern in 2022. Starting internally, we are planning to formulate new products such as cake premixes and more that make at-home baking an easy effort for future chefs and bakers and also complementary categories like Dips, Juices etc. Secondly, driving automation in more & more processes to increase efficiency at the production level is in pipeline too, as our production capacity has already increased from 60 tonnes a month to 150 tonnes a month in the last 2 months
Further, with handmade products making it the mainstream, our new year goals include leveraging our customer-driven marketing pattern through sampling availability at all our stores, especially for our Sourdough range. With the launch of our recent stores, we have come to a realization that sampling stations at the stores really help customers in making the final purchase call, and also treat them with an experiential/personalized service format by the brand through the respective store teams.
Geeta Ramakrishnan, ontological Coach & Author: The last two years have been a harbinger of perpetual and significant changes. Funnily, change is not constant – the faster we adapt to change, the better – like adjusting to the WFH situation. Now that we are used to working in e-office structures, interacting with colleagues in physical office spaces – especially with those we have met only via zoom calls – may also take some time adjusting. Change is never comfortable or easy and hence mental well-being was one of the most significant rising issues during the pandemic, people are now grasping the benefits of having a mentor or a coach.
Here is an analogy – when children are weak in maths or if they desire to learn and be competitive in tennis or piano, their parents will seek the best tutor or coaching school. Furthermore, those suffering from a headache, cold, or stomach bug will visit a doctor and take care of their physical health. Along these same lines, the concept of a coach or a mentor is equally important – not only if there is an issue, but for general mental wellness. This coming New Year, I would like to see widespread awareness about mental wellness and more people naturally taking on coaches as a mentor or a reflector who holds a mirror to them and enables them to enhance their life journey.
Disha Singh, Founder, Zouk: 2021 was an inspirational year. India rode the CoVid wave and broke all records in terms of vaccinations. That had a very positive impact for us at Zouk, where consumers restarted their travel and hence needed new bags and wallets. This trend will further ramp up demand for our products in 2022. The year also saw a big shift towards supporting local businesses. The Vocal for Local push really nudged consumers to support a Proudly Indian brand like ours. Lastly, we saw some phenomenal IPOs of companies run by women leaders such as Nykaa, Bector Foods which is inspirational for women entrepreneurs like me to build a large business and receive public market support. I expect even more such listings in 2022 and support for women-led Indian businesses by consumers globally. Personally, we aim to expand our collection and take our Proudly Indian story to the world.
Khushi Govil, Associate Vice President, MissMalini Entertainment Pvt Ltd: The first quarter of 2021 was slightly slower due to the second wave of COVID-19 – nobody wanted to sound unethical, and we, too, were very sensitive about it because that wasn’t the right time to market anything. However, things picked up in the second quarter of the year, and now, everything is more or less opening up, looking hopeful once again. Brands have started to allot their commercials into diverse streams now, which is amazing. I expect 2022 to be a game-changer since 2021 has set the stage for countless new opportunities. This year, we had influencers and talent coming up with their own products, NFTs taking over the world by a storm, and much more – the scenario is changing completely, which is why I am very excited for 2022! Apart from that, I am also eager about the upcoming trends. For instance, till today, the digital world was a 2D idea, but now, it is on its way to transforming into an immersive 3D experience. Additionally, the creator economy is also heading towards bigger and greater things like investment and so much more. 2022 will be a groundbreaking year for everyone with all that it has in store, and I am super excited to witness it all!