Entrepreneur: Rashmi Chadha
Business Name: WOVOYAGE
Welcome to #eoindia #startupstories Episode 37.
Each week we will ask a new Indian entrepreneur 11 questions so that we can all be inspired by their stories.
We always remind our readers that in order to be successful you need to solve problems for your customer. You do not need to reinvent the wheel. You can easily create a successful business in an existing sector if you find an area of that sector which is being underserved or where problems are still waiting to be solved.
Rashmi (a journalism graduate of GGSIPU) explored the travel sector in India by working as a freelance travel guide and soon realised that International Woman Travellers were being underserved and there was an opportunity to create a service that specifically helped them.
Thus WOVOYAGE was born, an Indian Travel Company that is specifically aimed at female travelers.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
I did my research into foreigners traveling to India especially females by conducting doing few tours as a freelancer. I found that foreign female travelers really want to Travel India but they feel insecure and are reluctant to travel the most incredible country in the world. I felt that if I can reduce the risk and provide them with a fully secure tour then there is a business opportunity with loads of potential waiting to be explored.
So hence the name Wovoyage = Women Voyage – Trusted Travel Buddies
I believe this name has loads of power in it. So we create that women friendly customized packages, assign them expert women guides. For example, a German lady wants to shop in Delhi we assign them girl who knows German and expert in shopping. Making it safe and fearless travel for foreigners and at the same time empower Indian women with employment. We were mostly online in early days but we just started a Women Friendly Travel Centre in New Delhi near Connaught Place, Its first of a kind female-friendly travel centre in India.
We are proud of it and we are going to change the perception of travel companies in India.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
Media all over the world created hype about India not being safe for travel, especially women. The women segment is growing and already occupies a large market share.
Other research shows that when foreigners/expats travel to India they want the tour to be conducted by a genuine company rather than 3rd party travel agencies who will sell their business for a commission. Also, women travellers feel comfortable with women guides.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
I come from a business family, so for me it was not tough but yes with the idea they were having doubts but I have convinced them showed my research also involved my father, sister and maternal uncle taking small decisions as mentors do.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
Our biggest mistake was not researching much on IT and launching the website with little information. Now with experience and IT expert in our team we reach 4th on Google ranking for women travel search.
In reality, the vast majority of startups will need to invest heavily in marketing. This may include SEO, content marketing, PR and paid advertising. Take a look at where your competitors are spending their marketing rupees, and ask yourself how you can compete and differentiate yourself.
Take a look at where your competitors are spending their marketing rupees
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
Our market is global so reaching such a large number is difficult. So now we are
taking reviews of travelers in their own languages so that we can use that to attract
travelers from their own countries.
6) What habits contribute to your success
- Get up early
- Outdoor sports
- Involving with community (working with ngo’s )
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I will surely consult website developers as getting a good website is very important for
online businesses. It should be easy and accessible for people from all over the world.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“First Find what you are good at. Second do what you are good at and Success will be yours. That’s what I Did.” By Rashmi chadha
9) Where do you find inspiration?
10) What is your favourite book?
The Path: A new way to think about everything. A Book by-Christine gross -Loh and Michael J.Puett
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
You will never have enough knowledge. You will always be forced to make a decision without fully understanding what is coming. As a founder, that is just something you have to get comfortable with.
A big thank you to Rashmi for taking the time to be interviewed for this feature.
Like many of our other Indian startup successes, WOVOYAGE’s journey shows that success is to be found in solving the problems of a niche segement of the market. Don’t try to be everything, but be very good in your chosen market. WOVOYAGE focus on solving the problems of female travelers in India and they do a fantastic good.
We love Rashmi’s advice about investing in a good website if you are planning to do business online. Your website is your SHOP WINDOW – make sure it looks great.
Also check out her recommended book below: