Entrechat with Usha Jha

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Petal Craft Founder USHA JHA’S attempt to carve out an identity for herself as a woman entrepreneur way back in the 1990s is an immensely inspiring tale for women who wish to achieve ‘equality’ in the society. Her hard work, humility and honour, has made her the woman that she is today! She talks to POONAM SINHA, about her journey, which has been difficult yet satisfying, and the satisfaction is what she holds onto.

Q1. How difficult was it for you to start off? How did you think about becoming an entrepreneur?

When I began working, the circumstances were completely different than the present day. A woman entrepreneur in those days, faced innumerable challenges and had to swim against the tide; there was no respect for a lady who wished to do anything which didn’t adhere to the set societal norms. There was a glaring disparity between the rights of men and women, which made me uncomfortable and at time agonized. Yet, this did not deter me. I knew that in creating an identity for myself, I was enabling other women as well. I had a point to prove – that women were and are capable of taking up challenges and accomplishing whatever they are passionate about. Perhaps this thought propelled me towards becoming an entrepreneur.

Q2.What do you think are some strengths that a woman entrepreneur should possess?

Devi Durga is considered as the feminine epitome of strength. I believe that in every woman there resides a Durga as well. Awakening the Durga in every woman will give her the power, wisdom, determination and confidence to pursue what she wishes to…even entrepreneurship.

.Q3. Could you tell us about the challenges faced by you?

I wished to start my own business but I did not know how to bring my ideas to a consequence. Being inexperienced only added to my challenges and my confidence level too was abysmally low. These and additionally, the negative attitude of people all sum up the challenges I faced. I must say, it was an uphill journey.

Q4. What was the support you received from family and friends?

My family’s support and belief in my abilities formed the backbone of my entrepreneurial endeavours. They gave me space and let me live my life without any compulsions from their end.

Q5. How did you try to build and motivate your team, and make your business different?

I believe that entrepreneurship can be a ‘one person idea input’ but the final output is always a team effort. Considering this, it is extremely important that teams are always motivated and comfortable in the work environment at the same time. I always try to build cordial relations with my team members and value their hard work and skills. Building trust is very important to make your business successful. My team knows that whenever they are in pain, I will stand by their side and this I think will stand me in good stead and make my business different.

Q6. Any tips you would like to share with women, who are thinking of becoming independent and starting their own business?

Personally I feel, women have more intelligence than men. However, a major drawback is that women lack courage; this is an obstacle they have to learn to overcome. Today and every day, I wish to encourage women  to  be brave, charge ahead and conquer the world!

Q7. What are your future plans?

My future plan is to work with rural women and promote the arts and crafts of Bihar. The purpose is twofold – keeping our culture alive in the forms of various arts and crafts and also helping rural women to step out and become ‘Atma Nirbhar’. I pray to God, to give me the strength to fulfill my dream.

Q8. How do you achieve a work-life balance today?

It depends on your management skills how well you balance your personal and professional life. If you are determined and passionate about your work, nothing can stop you. Amazingly, you will find eventually, everything falling into place. Valuing your family, friends and work equally, will complete the circle.  This is how I have achieved a work-life balance today.

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