Mar 7, 2023
Woman of Impact, Sakshi Mehrotra, combines her passion for supporting low income communities in India with her eye for modern design in her business Bit of Meraki. With mission at the core of her business, Sakshi imports traditional crafts with a modern twist that will transform your interiors. Read on to learn from Sakshi about the importance of supportive logistics, a community of women entrepreneurs and leaning on others can be to growing and developing as an entrepreneur.
Through Bit of Meraki I wanted to support various causes that I've been passionate about... This, combined with my love for interiors, is what motivated me to shape this company as it is today.
Why did you start your business? What motivated or inspired you?
When I moved to the US after my marriage back in 2015, I wanted to stay connected with low income communities in India since I used to work for a social enterprise. Through Bit of Meraki I wanted to support various causes that I've been passionate about for a while - like environmental sustainability, uplifting artisan communities by providing employment opportunities and fair wages, supporting people of color organizations and providing equal opportunities to women by investing in clean drinking water in poor communities. This, combined with my love for interiors, is what motivated me to shape this company as it is today.
What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you started your business?
I wish I knew how hard it is to be a woman entrepreneur in a totally new environment, community, and culture without any initial support. However, despite the setbacks in the beginning, I don't regret starting this business since with the support of my family and the women business community I was able to grow personally and professionally. My learning curve has never been steeper than this.
Why did you decide to join The WMarketplace?
To be a part of a community of strong women business owners, learn from them and support them.
What has been the most challenging thing about getting your business up and running?
Trying to understand the market: what products work; what your target audience should be; how to pivot your business based on customer data; and fulfillment when you don't have a team.
What has been the most exciting or rewarding part of owning your own business?
Being able to support so many causes with a small initiative.
Can you identify a moment in your business that was pivotal in your success? Have you had an “AHA!” moment(s)?
Finding a storage facility! This may sound strange but it's so important for a product-based business to have a facility where they can receive international shipments and pick, pack, and ship orders. Our “AHA moment” was when we found Saltbox - a co-warehousing start-up with operations in Seattle. It has all the equipment needed for a warehouse with the security and the workforce needed for fulfillment. From operating out of our own apartment, to public storage, to a warehousing space, it has been a game changer for us.
How long have you been in business and has your business changed since you started it?
We've been in business for 5 years now. The business has been through so many stages these 5 years. We had to pivot our strategies due to supply chain issues during covid, to changes in buying patterns and purchasing power of people in the recent months. We've learned, we've grown, we’ve fallen and we’re still afloat.
As women, we have a tendency to take on everything ourselves, and try to multitask. While it can be satisfying, it can also become overwhelming. There's a huge community of cause-based initiatives like women entrepreneurs, mentors, small businesses etc. Leverage all of those resources because it just makes you more agile in all parts of your business.
Do you have a mentor, formal or informal? What role have they played for you?
My father has been my rock since the start of the business. He's supported me and handled the entire supply chain in India and has always encouraged me to keep going despite the economic upheaval we've gone through in the past few years.
What communities have been important for you as you grew/developed your business?
The small business owner community has been very inspirational in Austin, along with SBA and SCORE.
Do you have any advice for other women who are getting started in business?
The only advice I have is to ask for help and support whenever it is needed. As women, we have a tendency to take on everything ourselves, and try to multitask. While it can be satisfying, it can also become overwhelming. There's a huge community of cause-based initiatives like women entrepreneurs, mentors, small businesses etc. Leverage all of those resources because it just makes you more agile in all parts of your business.
If a journalist were to write a headline about you/your business, what would it be?
“Conscious Home Decor Brings Traditional Craftsmanship With Modern Elements To Your Home”
Are there any apps or business services that you just can’t live without that you would like to give a shout-out to?
Is there a non-profit or other social/mission-oriented business that your business supports? Can you tell us about this?
Yes! We are proud to be donating to Charity Water, a non profit that helps fund clean water projects in villages of Africa. Access to clean water has so much more impact on the women community than we can imagine. It helps girls free up their time to get education, they remain healthy and therefore ultimately leads to women empowerment by getting time to do what they like.
Thank you, Sakshi, for sharing your advice and journey with the WMarketplace!
SHOP BIT OF MERAKI
Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a nationwide e-commerce marketplace for women-owned businesses to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 4000+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more. The Her Story Q&A is one benefit TheWMarketplace provides to sellers.