Indian women are doing a fantastic job of balancing work and family life, says Swati Gupta, Bodycraft
Swati Gupta, Director & head of creative department at Bodycraft opens up about various facets of her life in an exclusive tete`-a-tete` with SME Futures.
Anushruti Singh February 23, 2021
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Having a career is not the only definition of success, Swati Gupta wants to remind all the women out there. She is the Director & Head of the Creative Department of Bodycraft and is a recognised name in the beauty and salon arena of India. The credit goes to the entrepreneurial skills that she has learnt and imbibed from her mother.
Swati has ushered the Bodycraft Salon into a new era of trends and innovation, having trained with reputed international names like Toni & Guy, Vidal Sassoon and the Greasepaint Academy. Today, she is one of the top industry consultants working with acclaimed international brands wanting to break into the Indian market, having already successfully introduced System Professional, Malibu C and many other top brands to India. She is now spearheading the Bodycraft Academy, which has been launched in exclusive association with the Sassoon Academy School Connection, a first-of-its-kind collaboration in India.
As we celebrate womanhood in 2021, Swati Gupta opens up about various facets of her life in an exclusive tete-a-tete with SME Futures.
What did you dream of doing when you were a little girl?
While I did have the typical childhood dreams of becoming a doctor, IFS officer, etc. it gradually became clear where my interests truly lied. Having grown up in the beauty and wellness atmosphere, beginning from when the salon was at home and then watching my mom pursue this as a profession, made me see this as an ideal outlet for the artist in me. So, you can say that when the time came, I did have clarity and was passionate about pursuing a career in the beauty and wellness industry.
How do you see India changing when it comes to daughters managing family enterprises in the country? What challenges did you face when you started on this journey?
India has certainly come a long way in this regard. Daughters, daughters-in-laws, mothers, sisters, anyone who has interest in and the acumen for business are taking the plunge. They are working towards their dreams, while balancing both their work and family lives. And they are doing a fantastic job at it!
But I will add here, there is a lot of opportunity for both men and women. It all depends on what your dreams are, what your vision is for yourself, if you have the mind for it and what you are passionate about.
Personally, for me, I did not face any challenges while entering the business. My brother and I were always treated equally and were given equal opportunities and responsibilities. In fact, I joined the business before he did.
The salon and beauty business were once considered a male bastion, although now that is no longer the case. What are the changes that you have observed and are implementing at Bodycraft?
I don’t see the salon and beauty business as having been a male bastion. A lot of the initial pioneers and business owners have been women. Shahnaz Husain, Blossom Kochhar, Nalini Naegamvala, even my mom, are all women. This was all at a time when salon and beauty was not considered a business in India, when it did not command the kind of respect that it does today.
Now we are trying to formalise education in this field, make people aware of the fact that there is more to having a career in this industry than just cutting hair and giving facials. There is scientific theory, techniques, methods, SOPs, etc. All this is bringing us a step closer to not only generating employment but also changing and formalising the overall structure of this industry, where people begin to consider this as one of the more prestigious and successful industries going forward.
What is your favourite part of this job?
My favourite part of the job is imparting ‘Feel Beautiful’ experiences to our clients. It is immensely rewarding to give them an uplifting transformation, whether it is for a special occasion or is something that they have looked forward to for a while.
Also seeing our employees, our people, who started as housekeeping staff or with barely any education, now becoming trainers, senior service agents and even running outlets and seeing them successfully overcome obstacles is truly heart-warming.
Which woman do you admire the most?
It’s my mother, Mrs Manjul Gupta… She has always been someone I have admired.
She has been my sounding board for most of the decisions I have taken in my life. From the way she single-handedly started Bodycraft to the way she has conducted her business to become the successful female entrepreneur that she is today. Her hard work and dedication have influenced and inspired me.
As a women entrepreneur, how do you manage the work-life balance?
I feel that the work-life balance hinges on figuring out what aspect is important at what stage in your life and prioritising accordingly.
If you are at the beginning of your career, you might look at prioritising your work and when you have children then your family might take precedence. So, it is important to have clarity on your responsibilities, have a clear plan and be focused and disciplined towards following that plan.
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women embarking on their careers?
Have clarity on what exactly it is that you want to do and be a 100 per cent sure about it.
It is important to remember that only having a career is not the definition of success. Having a career doesn’t have to be the be-all-and-end-all. Even bringing up children responsibly and building the future generation is an achievement in itself.
The idea of success doesn’t have to be stereotypical. Make sure that you have a sense of why you are doing what you are doing and hold your principles, passion and ethics close to you. Work hard, be dedicated and passionate about whatever you choose to do, and you will always find the right path to success. Do it with your head on your shoulders, your feet on the ground and with respect towards the people who helped you get there.
What is the roadmap for Bodycraft this year?
One of the lessons that the preceding year has taught us is to not make many long-term plans. So currently, we are focusing on the now, making sure that we are strong, and the business and our people are given ample time to recover. The focus for this year will be more on dealing with and overcoming those challenges that the turbulence and instability caused by the pandemic threw at us last year.