Spoke to Mumbai today… #MissionMumbai

Okay..it wasn’t today, more like a week ago, if not longer…but….I wrote it,saved a draft to tidy up ‘later’, and  family stuff, flat tyres (two simultaneously),six week holidays (grandma duties) weird summer flu bug,and a sick friend happened ..

this is the first chance I’ve had to get back and share this..

That’s the trouble with entrepreneurial journeys for the more mature woman/single parent/grandma…..there’s a whole heap of family stuff that can/has to  take precedence at any time…..

anyway..   I’m back….

Mumbai …

So …yup… about ten days ago .I was whatsapping with  a friend in Mumbai about this ‘project’, thing, idea I/we have..

friend in rickshaw me at home on my sofa in Eccles..(never cease to marvel at the wonders of modern communication)

Talking about doing something a bit different in the way of ‘social enterprise’ in Mumbai..ETA: October.

Short Version :

  • Friend in Mumbai has been doing retail/export/import since he was in nappies, originally from Bradford, old friend…
  • I’ve got a few bin bags of stuff, dolls, bears,fabric, clothes…and a LOT of ideas
  • Apparently there are a few women out there who could do with a way to make a living and feed their kids….
  • friend in Mumbai (Vaseem) has been doing some charity work but we want to take it a step further..
  • October =  some sort of workshop, with sewing machines, more fabric(offcuts,roll-ends), some women,some bling and lots of creativity..and talking.,.and fun
  • Between us we think we can create some stuff that we can sell,
  • neither me no friend in Mumbai is that interested in personal profit.
  • using ‘profit’ to profit share with makers, and provide education, business skills training….
  • a big part of the experience will be finding out what the women we are working with actually want from their work.


Longer Version : Although only marginally more informative..

I am desperate to get out there to work  on a pilot for a project we both want to start out there.

Vaseem (friend in Mumbai) has been doing some Charity work each EID, and we thought between us we could we  give  people something more in the way of work. V has extensive retail/business experience; Born in Bradford, a member of the Bombay Stores family, he has all the hard business knowledge we need to put something together. I’m hoping that I can put my social media savvy / Desisisters network into the mix and between us we can create something that gives people who need it, a means of earning a living,education.skills, and profit share.

Neither of us is interested in a conventional business set up where the majority of profit sits at the top. Vaseem already has a successful business  and I want to be on the same level of profit share as everyone else..If I sell or make then I get a %, based on that…..(I would be selling online, at parties, market stalls etc). If this grew to needing me full time then I;d be looking at a Charity Water kind of set up where the organisation is sponsored, so all profit from products still sits with the makers.

Still figuring out the details but looking at the most positive , empowering , radically different structure possible.

What I don’t want is some ‘memsahib’ type thing where I’m out there to ‘help’ the poor.

There are women out there with skills who can help me meet the ‘demand’ for some stuff that is wanted here..in UK, in US. No time to explain any further right now. At this point its the principle that counts,. This is energy exchange not charity.

Many of the women who need some sort of income, will have skills that I know I can use  in some way to create products that I can sell here in the UK/online, helped by and through DesiSisters existing network.

Plus…we will be adding to those skills, not just basic education but business skills. ..

The quote below is from an article by Samir Goel, written following his participation in Clinton Global Initiative Winter Meeting, specifically a workshop entitled ‘Invest In Her’, where barriers to womens success wasn’t as suspected , access to capital, but access to business skills/training.. I quote…

‘Instead the most frequently cited issue was lack of business training or knowledge of how to spend investment. Women could get access to capital but had never received training or mentorship on key factors skills such as sales, operations management, hiring, etc. ‘

Full Article : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/invest-her-means-more-than-money-samir-goel

A very important aspect of this work is providing mentorship, business skills training, making our team in Mumbai self-sufficient, and offering all the women involved opportunities for growth., Pretty much the same deal many of us are used to in the western workplace.

We’ve got a fair few ideas for products between us too, using recycled/offcuts of materials,recycling stuff, reworking damaged garments, dolls and bears..and boxes…keeping this as eco-friendly as possible.

and a profit share/education/skills package  which could mean something quite radical in terms of the kind of ‘social enterprise’ we want to create.

SO..the upshot of this is…

I’m heading out to Mumbai , somehow, to bring some women together, show them what we can work with, talk about what we can make, put some stuff together, sell it online/ maybe, just maybe fulfil a few Kickstarter orders  and find out what those women want from work, hours they want to work, childcare… by the end of which hopefully we will have some stuff to sell and a good idea of what will work and THE WAY FORWARD …to really getting the party started.