Achieve success by your own rules & build a life you’re proud to live

Teena Gandhi, Co-founder – allbutcake.com

Teena holds a Masters in Investment Management from Cass Business School, London and is also a Chartered Accountant turned entrepreneur. Having handled diverse roles in the industry including – an Investor with a leading Equity firm, managing proprietary investments & real estate development projects; Teena was able to find her ground through the Kids Gifting venture — allbutcate.com

Allbutcate offers parents, esp. mothers the convenience of shopping good quality and unique merchandise for kids which is otherwise an ongoing challenge.Teena loves fitness, travelling and spending time with her 5 year old daughter. Teena shares some more insights from her journey with team ABT.

What led you to co-founding allbutcake.com?
After my education and initial work years, I realized that I had more to my career than what I was currently doing. I wanted to broaden my horizon. I joined H.J Group in the capacity of a Vice President overseeing the proprietary investments and real estate development projects of the company. It was initially very difficult for me to find my place and get serious attention from my male counterparts because of the perception in the Real estate Industry in India. However, with position comes responsibilities and the role that I played in the H.J. Group was very critical to operations.

With focus, sincerity and persistence for pursuing my thirst for entrepreneurship, I started my own company with a group of friends in the kids gifting space — allbutcake.com which offers the USP of a gift registry.

Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
Anne Sweeney — President of Walt Disney once wrote, “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules and build a life you’re proud to live”
I draw my inspiration from not one but a few people in my life — my parents, my husband and my ex-boss. All have inspired me for various reasons. My mother always taught me to stay grounded, my father who keeps mentioning till date that there is no short cut to success & one needs to rough it out in order to shine and stand out.
My husband’s belief in me makes me push myself beyond my boundaries. He keeps me focused and always inspires me to get better than what I am today. He’s seen it all and I really couldn’t do it without him. Last but not the least, my ex-boss, under whom I started my career, who believes that multi-tasking is woman’s second nature.

What is that one milestone in your life that makes you happy?
Undoubtedly MOTHERHOOD! I am a proud mother of my 5 year old daughter. Motherhood has given me a new perspective in life – The pleasure of giving birth and the responsibility of honing them at every step — teaching them to be independent yet responsible, making them believe in themselves, transforming them into confident individuals and preparing them to face the world….. it’s a beautiful journey and mine has just begun. Being a Mompreneur has made me much more confident to accept more roles and challenges in my life.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Real estate industry is perceived to be an extremely male dominated industry and not a place where a woman is ideally seen. To make your presence felt, your voice heard and command respect for the work you do, remains the biggest challenge. Though I feel, with more and more women taking pole positions in corporate houses, mindset is slowly changing.

What is your advice to a younger self?
Being an entrepreneur requires stamina and discipline. Be determined. Be perseverant. The only thing constant in this world is change. Follow your dreams.

What are your thoughts on the ecosystem for Women Entrepreneurs/Leaders in India today?
A global report by the Lean In Foundation and McKinsey said that women are underrepresented in every position along the corporate ladder, from entry level to the C-suite. In India, women only hold 7.7% of the board seats and just 2.7% of board chairs. But with each passing year, India’s female entrepreneurship environment is improving. PM Modi’s Start-Up India event this year had a panel about women entrepreneurship. Today, a younger lot of women are chartering unknown territories fearlessly – be it finance, education, travel, retail, e-commerce, anything you can possibly think of! They have immense energy and enthusiasm to bring about a change and run successful ventures. Women are better at bootstrapping and capable of doing more with less funding, willing to collaborate. The start-up world is also adding a new level-playing field. With more and more women taking a plunge into entrepreneurship, we are moving towards more even numbers between genders.

If you could do one thing differently, what would that be?
I regret not staying back in London after my Masters. Ideally would have loved to work abroad and not come back soon after my graduation.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
I want to be an ace at multitasking!I want to build a real estate organization which will provide shelter and services at affordable prices to the masses who currently live in areas which are unfit for human habitation. And…… A game changer in the e-commerce gifting space!!