Shwetha Rajashekar Is On A Quest To Revive Traditional Indian Sweets, With A Twist

When Bengaluru's Shwetha Rajashekar departed from her corporate career after becoming a mother, little did she anticipate that she would embark on an entrepreneurial journey with this profound cultural significance.

Tanya Savkoor
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Sweets hold a cherished place in every Indian's life, embodying joyous celebrations and heritage recipes passed down through generations. When Bengaluru's Shwetha Rajashekar departed from her corporate career after becoming a mother, little did she anticipate that she would embark on an entrepreneurial journey with this profound cultural significance. In an interview with SheThePeople, Rajashekar delved into the intricacies of her ambitious journey in the world of business and narrated her vision to build a sustainable and inclusive business. 


From organic dairy farming to eco-conscious packaging and creating inclusive and encouraging employment opportunities, Rajashekar explained how she masterfully blends the rich traditions of Indian sweetmeat shops with innovative sustainability initiatives. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

Shwetha Rajashekar In Conversation With SheThePeople

Could you tell me about your background? 

I’d be happy to share a bit about my background and upbringing. My father worked in a state government job, so my early years were spent moving around a bit. I spent my childhood in Haveri and Hubli before finally settling in Bangalore when I was in middle school.

I am one of three sisters, the middle one, and this unique position in the family allowed me to experience both being cared for and the responsibility of caring for others. These early experiences shaped my understanding of family dynamics and responsibilities.

I got married at the age of 22 to Vishwanath, who had been an entrepreneur since he was 18. His passion and dedication to his work were incredibly inspiring. I worked in a corporate job until I had my son in 2013. By then, Vishwanath had already motivated me to join him in his business ventures.


What is the origin story of India Sweet House? What pushed you to embark on an entrepreneurial journey after being in corporate for many years?

The origin story of India Sweet House is closely tied to my journey and our shared vision as a family.

When I took a break from my corporate job after I had my son in 2013, I was inspired by my husband's, dedication and passion for his work. It sparked a desire in me to explore the world of business. I began by joining him in the construction and farming sectors. This initial foray into entrepreneurship was both challenging and rewarding, providing me with valuable insights and experience. 

The idea for India Sweet House came to us in 2020. We wanted to create a business that celebrated the rich heritage and diverse flavours of Indian sweets while maintaining high standards of quality and authenticity. Starting the business was a natural progression of our entrepreneurial journey. It allowed us to merge our passion for food, our commitment to quality, and our desire to create a brand that resonates with people across generations.

Despite the challenges, we have been driven by the belief that great things come from a blend of tradition and innovation. Embarking on this entrepreneurial journey after years in the corporate world has been transformative. It has allowed me to leverage my corporate skills while embracing the creativity and flexibility that comes with running a business. Each step has been a learning experience, and I'm incredibly proud of what we've achieved so far.

I recently saw a banner outside one of your stores, encouraging customers to try bringing their own containers. Could you elaborate on more such sustainability initiatives that you observe?


One of our recent initiatives encourages customers to bring their own containers to receive 10% off. This initiative is not just about offering a discount, but it’s about encouraging our customers to take small but significant steps towards a greener future. By bringing reusable containers, we collectively reduce the use of single-use packaging, thereby minimising waste. This practice harks back to traditional methods where people often reused containers for various purposes, a habit we believe is worth reviving in today’s context.

Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond just packaging. At Karma Farms, our dedicated organic farm near Bangalore, we employ sustainable farming practices. Our cows are raised in a healthy, free-roaming environment, ensuring the purity of the ingredients we use in our sweets. This focus on organic and sustainable practices is crucial for maintaining the quality and authenticity of our products while also being mindful of our environmental footprint.

Why is 'going back to the roots' important to you and how do you incorporate new practices with old ones?

In addition to our sustainability initiatives, we are passionate about reviving forgotten recipes from India’s rich culinary heritage. This involves deep research into historical cookbooks, regional archives, and consultations with culinary experts and home cooks. By connecting with local communities, especially the older generations, we uncover cherished recipes that capture the essence of traditional Indian cuisine.

Going back to the roots is important to us for several reasons. It allows us to honour and preserve traditional practices that have stood the test of time. These practices are often more sustainable and community-oriented, aligning perfectly with our values. By incorporating these old practices with new ones, we create a balanced approach that respects the past while embracing the future.

This ongoing process of rediscovery allows us to offer our customers a unique and delightful experience, combining historical flavours with a touch of modernity. We believe in giving back to the communities that support us. As part of our community development efforts, we are actively exploring initiatives to empower local communities and support sustainable agricultural practices. These initiatives not only help us source the best ingredients but also contribute to the overall well-being of our community.


How has your experience been as a woman in the entrepreneurial world? Have you faced any specific challenges because of your gender?

My experience as a woman in the entrepreneurial world has been both rewarding and enlightening. Working alongside my husband, we have formed a strong team, combining our strengths and supporting each other in our business ventures. This partnership and having a balanced mix of men and women in our teams across various ventures has created an inclusive and supportive work environment.

Interestingly, I haven't faced specific challenges directly related to my gender within our business operations. The inclusive culture we've fostered and the mutual respect within our team has ensured that gender has never been a barrier. This has been a significant factor in our success and in maintaining a positive and productive work atmosphere.

However, balancing work and home life, especially with children, has presented its own set of challenges. Managing multiple roles and responsibilities has required careful planning and time management. Fortunately, I've had a strong support system at home, which has been crucial in enabling me to juggle these responsibilities effectively. This support has allowed me to focus on both my family and business commitments without feeling overwhelmed.

Overall, my journey as a woman entrepreneur has been shaped by collaboration, support, and a commitment to balancing professional and personal life. It's been a fulfilling experience, and I'm grateful for the opportunities and the support that have allowed me to thrive in this role.

How have your experiences throughout your career influenced you to create a more inclusive and encouraging environment for women in the workforce?

My career experiences have deeply influenced my commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for women in the workforce. I see empowering women not just as a value but as a fundamental pillar of our business. My journey has shown me the immense benefits of a diverse team, where men and women bring unique perspectives and strengths. This diversity fuels innovation, enhances productivity, and drives the overall success of our ventures.

India Sweet House is proud to have a talented female workforce of over 100 strong. Our commitment to empowering women is reflected in our approach to nurturing their talents and fostering their growth. We believe that by supporting and developing our female employees, we not only enrich their lives but also build a stronger, more dynamic company. This dedication to empowerment is evident in our continuous efforts to provide opportunities for professional development and advancement.

Creating a supportive work environment is central to our mission. We have implemented policies that promote work-life balance, understanding that many women juggle multiple roles and responsibilities. By offering flexible working arrangements and a supportive culture, we ensure that our female employees can thrive both personally and professionally. This approach has been instrumental in maintaining a motivated and committed workforce.

What is something that you learnt about yourself since you started your entrepreneurial journey?

Since embarking on my entrepreneurial journey, I've learned several important lessons about myself and the nature of leadership. One of the most profound insights is the impact I can have on the lives of those around me. It's not just about achieving personal success, but about inspiring and empowering others. I've realised the importance of creating an environment where people feel encouraged to learn, take risks, and prove themselves, even if they make mistakes along the way. This approach not only fosters personal growth but also strengthens the entire team.

Another significant lesson I've learned is the power of collaboration. Alone, my capacity to achieve is limited, but together with a dedicated and passionate team, the possibilities are endless. This understanding has reinforced the importance of building strong, cohesive teams and valuing each member's contributions. By working together, we can overcome challenges, innovate, and reach new heights that would be unattainable on our own.

These experiences have shaped my leadership style, emphasising the importance of mentorship, teamwork, and creating opportunities for others to shine. They have made me a more empathetic and effective leader, committed to making a positive difference in the lives of those around me and driving collective success.

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