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Women's Day

Gender bias is becoming less prevalent: Chinu Kala, Founder, Rubans Fashion Accessories

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“I would like to point out that the present situation with regards to safe work environment for women is slowly changing. Our society is witnessing it in the way women are actively taking up entrepreneurship, starting businesses in small towns, and running companies on a global level. There are corporate culture concerns that are also being addressed actively by organizations, and workplaces are also undergoing a paradigm shift”, feels Chinu Kala, who is a businesswoman, socialite, model, and one of the prominent women of the fashion jewelry business in India.

 

Her start-up, Rubans Accessories, is India’s fastest-growing fashion jewelry brand. Her strong work ethic, perseverance, eagerness to learn, and genuine hard work have allowed her to bring a lot of success to her life so far. She remains optimistic about the emerging work culture and scenario for women. Chinu also notes that gender bias is becoming less prevalent, with talent and value addition receiving more attention, which, to her, speaks volumes about the trend. Additionally, she states, “I believe that a successful company is one that is inclusive, where equality isn’t just talked about, but also made available, and where the right talent is recognized. I believe that we have come a long way in the last 10 years, and the next 10 years are going to change the environment completely”, adds Chinu. High on Persona spoke to her on a variety of other issues and matters that concern women today.
Q – What challenges did you face to reach the heights of your career? Can you describe how you dealt with them?

For a first-generation entrepreneur running a bootstrapped startup every day comes with a new set of challenges, but then this is how the learning curve is carved. In my case whatever I am today is purely because of the situations that I have faced from the age of 15. Let me narrate you an incident that happened a couple of years back. This was after hustling for 22+ years and creating a business which was doing quite well, On the morning of 4 th July 2019 I received a call from my head of operation @ 6:00 am, saying that my office was on fire; I could not understand what was happening but without wasting a second I rushed to the location to see all my years of hard work and my dream turn into ashes as we had all our office and godown at the same premises and all my stocks were kept here. The sight shattered me, but somewhere deep within me I felt that this isn’t the end but it was a big obstacle, and I was determined to overcome it. We had lost all the resources, and inventories but what I still had was my brand Rubans and a dedicated team. That same night I addressed my team and told them that these were testing times and if we can overcome these together there would be no looking back. Since the office was burnt down I made the team start work from my home. I went around the residential complex where I stayed and borrowed a few laptops from my neighbors and from the next day we started rebuilding all that was lost. In the next 4 months’ we were back in business with a bang as we started doing double the sales which we used to do prefire. Yes, my team stood by me to deliver what seemed a herculean task but that to me as I said earlier defined us as a team and Rubans as a brand. It has by no means been an overnight success but a brand that has grown delivering excellence day in and day out over a span of 7 years. It has been a journey that has tested my resilience many times but I have never given up whatever be the circumstances.

Q. What are your tips for keeping work and personal life balanced as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur and a mother, it becomes equally challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and unlike the diets and workout routines, you don’t have an option to call it a cheat day. I set aside time for family during the day and maintain a healthy diet- The two most important things to me and then comes my work. I make sure that I spend quality time with my daughter, I play all kinds of games with her and this re-energizes me for the next day. Mental health is something I’ve recently paid a lot of attention to maintain my balance and that hugely impacts the way I operate. I feel work-life balance can be made smooth when you take care of yourself and the things that matter to you the most, family for me in this case.

Q. How would you respond to the following questions that women still have to face in 2022, and how would you address them? 
1 – SLUT SHAMING – As I had already mentioned, the perspectives are slowly changing with more and more women proving themselves to the world. I feel that being successful erases a lot of doubts in peoples mind and appearance; dressing and other credentials take a back seat. Women chasing their passion are so focused on their goals that they hardly pay attention to things that people say to pull them down or break their moral. Having said this I guess when you choose a less traveled path you need to be mentally strong to face these elements that do exist in our society. I feel these are some of the unnecessary struggles that women have to face which normally a man does not get to encounter. 2 – Body Shamming –  Well that’s an individual’s own choice and I feel slowly but surely we are seeing a change. I feel looking good is more to do with one’s inner health and that is what matters. To me, my health and diet routine matter a lot, it’s what keeps me up and running. “When you feel good about yourself, you start doing the good work”, I go about by this simple principle, and all of the media and multitude of ads as you say that insist on achieving the extremities of the same. We live in a world that is so connected and there is so much of noise all around but as an individual, we can pay attention to only those things that are essential for ourselves and what make us feel good and the rest can be easily ignored.

3- What do you think about the age gap between girls and their husbands (Priyanka Chopra was trolled because she married Nick Jones) and so many other examples like this?

Isn’t that an upgrade in the way we as a society are progressing towards? And I see a lot of celebrities breaking those barriers down, I actually feel happy because age in my opinion has never been an attribute for relationships. Relationships are more to do with emotions that can’t be enforced on or drawing within boundaries.

4- Reservation for women in politics, this is still a far cry?
Not a very politically inclined person though, but I see people like Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, and Prathibha Patil and get hugely inspired by the way they have stamped their authority in politics. Voicing out opinions has been a tough journey but such women leaders stand as living examples for many more to come.

 

Chinu Kala, Founnder, Rubans Fashion Accessories

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She has been there and done that. After graduating from Delhi University, she completed her diploma in Journalism from Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, Delhi. Down the line, she completed her internship with National Herald Newspaper successfully,, and went on to Join Mainline Business daily, Business Standard. She also dabbled in image management and brand consultancy. She is a prolific writer on lifestyle entertainment, branding, lifestyle, travel, and politics.
Contact her at [email protected]