Jaina Lalbhai, a talented mom who is striving for a fashionable life for our little ones too. A lawyer initially, and a Fashion Merchandiser later, she found the way to solve the kids shopping dilemma for the Moms of Ahmedabad by organizing 'Baby's Day out' an annual Mom & Kids fair in the city. This is her journey of being a mommy and brilliant entrepreneur alongside.
1. My mom quotient:
My parenting style is a little bit of everything- I'm authoritative, particular, methodical and relaxed (sometimes, though not an awful lot. While I was expecting, I read a lot of books on how to sleep train, set a schedule, eat well, sleep well and play well, everything possible. What I practice today is a combination of the information I have consumed, what I think suits my baby the best, and my baby's personality.
We live in a big joint family and one thing I have learnt along the way is that every kid is different and there is no straight jacket formula for raising one. I want my daughter to be independent, just like me, and so my parenting style reflects that. I truly believe a child grows up to be a reflection of the parents- and so it is important that you are today what you want your child to be tomorrow.
2. My Mom Inc. Story:
I became a lawyer, decided it wasn't something that I wanted to do my entire life and took a leap of faith to pursue my true passion. I studied Fashion Merchandising in the US and came back to India with an idea. I translated that idea into reality within 6 months- that year I held the first season of Baby's Day Out.
Baby's Day Out is Gujarat's only Mom & Kids fair that I host every year in Ahmedabad. I provide a platform that allows designers from all over India to showcase a varied range of merchandise for kids- ranging from baby announcements, party favors and return gifts to clothes, shoes, accessories, bags, customized linen, customized stationery, toys, books, kids room furniture and what not- all under one roof for 2 days. We also have a host of activities for the kids- art & craft classes, different workshops, kids spa, pottery, wax hands, snow play area etc.
So far two events have happened and both have been absolutely phenomenal in terms of response. There has been a year-on-year growth of 40%. It is very humbling when moms come up to you and say that they look forward to Baby's Day Out every year. Last year we had around 7000 footfalls. This year the 3rd season of the fair will be hosted on October 11 & 12, 2014 and we expect it to be bigger and better.
My husband often jokes that I do Baby's Day Out to shop for my baby! But jokes apart, like I mentioned earlier, my mantra is that a child is an extension of his or her parents… so why should he or she live or dress any less fashionably? As a mother, I have really felt the frustration of not getting good merchandise options for my child in Ahmedabad. So this is my tribute to all the exasperated moms of Ahmedabad who are never happy with the options available in Ahmedabad!
3. Who inspired/ supported me:
I would not have been able to do this without support from my parents and in-laws, and most importantly my husband. Both sets of parents have stood behind me like a rock. They have always been there-whether it is solving some last minute crisis or babysitting my daughter whenever I'm working. In fact the first year Baby's Day Out happened, when I was 8 months pregnant!! My mom worked with me tirelessly to make sure the event happens just like I had visualized. I could not have imagined doing this without her support, energy and love.
My husband is my rock star. He is my support system, my punching bag, my 24*7 helpline and the person I draw most energy from. His aspirations for me keep me going- even in the face of adversity.
My situation is a little unique- 6 months I am a full time mother, however the other 6, I juggle work and family. I may be very passionate about my business but my daughter is my first priority. I try to be there for her as much as I can, even when the work pressure is high. I believe that a working mother has to be a good multi-tasker, else either the business or the child will suffer. Professionally, work towards your goals slowly and steadily. Understand that you are also a mom, alongside being an entrepreneur and your life and priorities are going to always be a fine juggling act.
5. I love BabyChakra, because it is a one stop shop for young moms like me who are often lost by the variety of options that exist! Having BabyChakra is like having a best friend who has seen it all, knows it all and is there to guide you.