Taniya Dhirasaria is the Founder of Zoe, a nutritious and healthy food brand. Starting from Gurgaon, soon they will be launching their 7 Day Tea Detox Program pan India. Below is her candid interview, where she shares about her career, her business and her thoughts on women empowerment.
1. What is the meaning of your name "Taniya”? How would you describe yourself in a sentence?
Taniya is a Russian name which means a white flower. The one trait that I have picked up from my name is that I always want to blossom & bloom like a flower does! I am a dreamer and thinker who believe in doing!
2. Can you briefly take our readers through your educational and career journey so far?
I've been fortunate enough to study in some of the best schools like the country, and study in an environment which fostered leadership. I went to Welham Girls' School, Dehra Dun. Living alone at such a young age taught me how to be independent and adapt according to changing situations, traits which are very important for leaders.
I did my graduation at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kolkata. This is where I understood the importance of packaging, design and learnt the biggest lesson in retail - jo dikhta hai woh bikta hai.
I did my post-graduation from MICA, Ahmedabad. MICA fostered my business acumen, consumer insights and marketing skills. MICA made my sales pitch more eloquent.
I've worked with some of the best companies, which have helped me reach where I am today - Orient Craft Ltd, India's largest export house. Reliance Industries Limited, where I learnt business operations and marketing, and Myntra, where I learnt all the growth & customer acquisition tactics.
3. When did the idea of Zoe, your venture for nutritious and healthy food originate and how did you go about planning for the same?
My husband and I have been consumers of healthy foods ourselves. We realized that working professionals face this pain-point, where even though they are away of the benefits of good food and nutrition, they are not able to give their body the best. We thought of solving this, by making super nutritious foods and camouflaging them with some great taste.
4. What were some of the initial hurdles you faced during the launch phase of the venture?
Well, our operations, product, branding and marketing were pretty streamlined since the beginning. Building the core team initially took some time. And customer acquisition and building brand awareness was challenging. It wasn't a hurdle, but it required a lot of meticulous dedication of the team.
5. Your offering includes more health drinks as of now. What are your plans of increasing the variety of food items at zoe.menu?
As we speak, we have evolved majorly from being a cold-pressed juice company to a more nutrition-first food delivery brand. Our bestselling item is a 'One Day Detox Diet' which helps our customers improve their immunity & metabolism, and lose up to a kilo in a day. This offering is right now limited to NCR. We are also planning to launch our Tea Detox very soon, which has the same benefits, and will be available to customers pan India.
6. What are the geography expansion plans beyond delivery in Gurgaon for your venture?
We are soon going live with a 7 Day Tea Detox program, which we will be delivering pan India.
7. What would be your advice to fellow women entrepreneurs who want to start their business?
Keep calm and believe in yourself. Don't get bogged down by societal pressure, and always believe in yourself and your dreams.
8. What does women empowerment mean to you?
Unfortunately, we live in a time where men have started considering themselves superior to women, just because they have more physical strength. They don't realize that men and women are how they are because nature intended it to be that way, and it helps solve a purpose in the universe. For me, women empowerment simply means getting the respect that we deserve as equal human beings, without having to 'earn' it.
9. Women face multiple challenges in society today. If you were to pick one problem, which one would it be and how do you think it could be solved?
I think one big challenge women face in society today is how to not get judged by the way they dress up. There are so many stereotypes and protocols attached to women and how they dress up. If she is wearing a sleeveless top, she is perceived to be a flirt. If she is wearing a red lipstick, she is perceived to be a sl**. If she is wearing a solitaire ring to work, she probably is already from a 'well-off family', so why is she wasting another man's career. If she is wearing a salwar kameez to work, she is very conservative.
Unfortunately, we live in a patriarchal society, and even the most educated men amongst us would make these judgements based on the stereotypes. This problem will be solved once men start treating women as their equal.
10. What makes you happy?
Every time I receive a new order notification, i feel happy. So generally I am happy, a lot of times during the day. Happiness growing at 20% month on month basis. Ha-ha! :)
11. Are you glad to be a woman? Why?
Oh yes I am. Because I feel that being a woman, I have the perfect balance of right brain & left brain. Men are usually more left brained. But women, they are just perfect.