Delhi-based Saumya Vardhan always wanted to do something out of the box and in her own way be instrumental to the betterment of society.
Saumya, having stayed in London for many years, felt an unnoticeable gap for those who live in the foreign lands to access genuine puja services. Her approach for filling up that gap led her to launch Shubhpuja. Subhpuja offers best in class pundits at the convenience of the internet. She believes in starting something new: something that no one has ever imagined to do but very needful for society.
Shubhpuja.com is specialised in offering customised puja packages and astrological services to individuals and corporates. With educated and qualified pandits from top universities of India, Shubpuja.com is delivering quality puja to all who seek
But how and when did she think of starting up this one of a kind digital platform? She talks with SheThePeople.TV in detail.
Saumya Vardhan, how did starting-up India’s only religious e-commerce platform idea come to your mind?
I grew up in New Delhi and moved to the UK in 2003. Prior to launching Shubhpuja.com, I was a seasoned operation strategy and technology consultant and have worked at KPMG, London and Ernst & Young, London. I am an MBA from Imperial College, UK.
Shortly after I moved to Delhi, my close friend’s father passed away. Most of her family members lived overseas. I realised that my friend’s mother was alone in arranging the elaborate 13-day mourning rituals. It was very difficult to find any pandit or ask anyone to organise the ceremonies while the family was coping with the loss. Also, having stayed overseas, I had witnessed how Indians struggled in arranging the rituals surrounding the cremation process. That is how the idea of Shubhpuja came to existence.
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I am a professional Vedic astrologer and have completed my course through Shri K N Rao, a legendary astrologer. These days, the world is becoming too individualistic and I strongly believe in the ancient Hindu philosophy, which preached that man is a social animal and has a role in the betterment of society.
Moreover, entrepreneurship has always fascinated me. Thus for self-contentment and bringing my dreams to reality, finally shubhpuja.com was launched in December 2013.
Tell us a little bit about ‘Shubhpuja’ and what future plans do you have to take it to the next level?
Shubhpuja.com is the only religious e-commerce platform that specialises in offering customised puja packages (festival puja, wedding puja, antim sanskar puja, paatha, japs and kathas, grah pravesh, mundan, etc.) and astrological services (Vedic Astrology, Numerology, Vaastu shastra, Gemstone therapy and palmistry) to individuals and corporates. We have educated and qualified pandits from top universities of India. We also provide pandits according to language preferences and regions. We believe in delivering a quality puja experience, and not just organising an event.
We want to emerge as a brand and a trustworthy company in the minds of our customers. Similar to Ayurveda and Yoga, our services will be widely accepted in the global market.
What drove you to become an Entrepreneur?
I always wanted to set-up my own venture. While living in London, I felt that Indian festivals and cultural habits bound us together regardless of our religion, geographies, culture, etc. Most of us are passively religious and in today’s hectic life, it is very difficult to learn about this technical industry and we all want to conduct these ceremonies in the right way.
Also, puja organising should be hassle-free instead of becoming a chore. During difficult times, we would like someone to take care of all the arrangements to give a good send-off to the loved ones. This gave me the inspiration to launch Shubhpuja.com.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced on the way till here?
First, preparing myself mentally and financially to take the plunge; to choose entrepreneurship vs going for a defined career path.
Second, moving from a structured and process-oriented way of working to something technical and unknown where I was responsible for creating a structure.
Third, personally, it has been a huge learning curve stepping from finance to the religious industry. I had to go back and revise my high school knowledge of Sanskrit to understand the nitty-gritty. To enhance my knowledge about my services, I decided to learn Vedic astrology so that I know about the science and mathematics behind it. I am now a qualified astrologer and currently pursuing the Master’s level course in Astrology.
What skills are required to become successful as an Entrepreneur?
To become a successful entrepreneur, one should aim for the fish’s eye like Arjuna. Detailed knowledge of the industry, changing trends in the specified market, need and requirement of the target customers, techniques to place yourself in the minds of the people; can be few of the important steps.
Apart from this, constant research and evaluation about self is required.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
The response from not only Indian customers but people world over has been overwhelming. We have got excellent reception from our overseas clients — Russia, the US, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. The media has acknowledged our efforts and appreciated our work. Recently, we were featured by a national news agency in China and Taiwan.
What is your inspiration to start-up?
I always look up to my father, a well-known aviation expert and a serial entrepreneur for any advice or guidance. He has been a great inspiration and support.
What do you think the particular strengths women have to become successful Entrepreneurs?
The gentleness of goddess Parvati and strength of Durga is the perfect combination needed to be a successful entrepreneur. Women are God’s beautiful creation endowed with extreme strength and capability. They are known for their creativity and excellent time management skills. Women just need one chance to showcase their talent and bring a change. They are excellent multitaskers who are tough and compassionate at the same time.
How proud are you knowing that India is growing with millions of women entrepreneurs?
It gives me immense pride to be a part of these successful women entrepreneurs. Women have always sacrificed their dreams for their family and loved ones and I am proud to know that they are moving forward on their own individual journey. A million females is a testimony that Indian women have good leadership skills.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
I will suggest them to ‘always have faith, believe in themselves and find happiness in being women. Faith in oneself and faith in Lord is required to face the hurdles of life and achieve your dreams. Always remember that knowledge and learning are the biggest wealth.
In the end, I would say “Aadyo shraddha” from Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu shloka 1.4.15 meaning ‘Everything starts with faith’ – (in oneself, in any task or the higher force) so continue to believe in yourself!
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