Mail Today, 28th June, 2017 : by Srijani Ganguly
Shikha Puri had an adventurous life as an advertising professional. But her work kept getting in the way of her six year-old son’s childhood. She wanted to spend more time with him and so in 2015, she quit her job as an account director with JWT and planted seeds of a new venture in Darjeeling, West Bengal. This new job would allow her to control her duties throughout the day the way she saw it best.
“The inspiration to become an entrepreneur,” says Puri about her tea boutique, Teacupsfull, “came from the mother inside me who wanted to be with her child and also wanted to do something big in life. Although we had been to Darjeeling many times before (we have a family home there), our visit in 2015 was special and different. I was more observant.”
“We visited various tea stores, tea estates and factories in Darjeeling. Very often I would hear my husband and father-in-law talk about the quality of tea which gardens manufacture and what is actually available in the domestic market for people to consume. There was a gap. I have seen people looking for good quality teas and not been able to find one. That’s when the idea of a tea business came in.” It helped that she was “married into a tea family”. While her father-in-law had worked in tea estates, her husband had been trained as a tea taster since the age of 16. “We worked relentlessly for months and launched Teacupsfull in October 2015, and since its launch we have not looked back,” adds Puri, who is based in Gurugram.
As for her personal life, things have never been better. “Being on your own allows you to manage your time your way. That’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur. I start my day early and finish my work before my son is back from school so that I can spend time with him on his studies and various activities and then I work again at night. I have a team of people and I plan and delegate work to them,” she says, adding that “one has to use that capability to one’s advantage efficiently and create the right infrastructure and support system around themselves.”