Women's Week Special: Journey of a Mumpreneur
A lot of us find balancing time between work and play difficult. Imagine 3 jobs and a social life? Female Entrepreneur Shireena Shroff Manchharam proves that if you put your heart and mind into it, anything is possible. The 33-year old manages to juggle between being a full-time mummy of two, running her image consultancy service and keeping her passion project of designing exotic handbags come to life.
Vanilla Luxury: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your career and your family?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: I grew up in Japan and moved to Delhi (India) when I was 12 and studied in an International school. Years later, I moved to Canada for university and then moved to Madrid to finish my degree in International Business. Through this diversification, I learned a lot about fashion and culture. Fast forward to a few years later, I then moved to Singapore with Hudson Recruitment where I used to recruit executives in the finance industry for Asia Pacific. Eventually, I met my husband, got married and moved to Hong Kong. I have two kids, one aged six and the other at two and a half. In Hong Kong, I started a coaching business and dealt with clients like OCBC, NUS, Chinese University of Hong Kong and many more. In 2011, my family and I eventually moved back to Singapore and by 2012, I had started House of Sheens. It was a passion business for friends and myself but by the end of 2014 it moved on to a bigger scale. Finally we opened a showroom in 2015 at Amoy Street.
Vanilla Luxury: Can you give us details about each of your business?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: Both my businesses are linked together through one thing, it's to inspire people. Sheens Image Consulting is about students and managers, talking about life, coaching and helping them be confident and to believe in themselves. This comes very naturally to me because growing up, I myself did not have so much confidence. House of Sheens on the other hand is about inspiring people and fulfilling who I am as a person. I want people to believe in themselves and feel happy. Collaborating, sharing and learning - that's what both businesses try to do together.
Vanilla Luxury: What motivated you to start your business?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: I started off as an Image Consultant which helped me gain confidence in myself. I couldn't work on just appearance and so I extended to coaching, which later then extended to other things. When I initally started as a recruiter, I would see great CV's come in everyday but they never got the job. It wasn't about how great their work was, it was about who they were, their etiquette and mannerism. That's how I moved into image consulting, to help people realize what they can do, without stressing over their grades and other minor details. House of Sheens on the other hand, started as a passion for handbags and access to good exotic skin.
Vanilla Luxury: How do you manage to juggle between all of these?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: I manage because I am extremely organized. I have to write down everything old school style, in my diary. I also see that because I am organized, I manage to do everything. I don't procrastinate. I believe there's 100 hours in a day to do everything. I go out, come home, work, gym - all this is possible. And of course, with a lot of support from my family.
Vanilla Luxury: What has made you successful as an entrepreneur?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: First thing, Thank you for saying I'm successful. And secondly I think whatever I am today is because I don't stop dreaming. I make whatever I envision a reality. I'll go to bed and have a dream about how I see a bag or an event. I'll even have a dream about how I feel and I will wake up the next morning and execute it. I don't think about pros and cons, I just do it. For example, there was a picture of my daughter holding my handbag once and a friend of mine came to me and said "awww... this is so cute. You should make your daughter model your handbags." I went to sleep and said I'll do a line of bags for my daughter. I woke up the next day and made it happen.
Vanilla Luxury: How much did your career change pre and post baby?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: Before having kids, I was a lot more conservative. I wasn't that confident. After having kids, I feel like I need to set, as an example, and show them that I can do anything. My clothing style has changed. I have become more edgy, daring and bold. I almost wanted to reject the fact that I was old with 2 kids. I didn't want to be the boring mom, so I went the opposite way and put myself out there to be a role model to my kids.
Vanilla Luxury: What are your organizational tricks and tips?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: I write down everything. I make lists to make lists. I am a crazy organized person. I never put off what I can do today, tomorrow and I complete as much as I can before 12 every night. I'm a great communicator, I always try to listen and learn when talking to others and not be a know-it-all.
Vanilla Luxury: What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: My family's love. It's the love of my family and feeling important to each other and looking after each other. My parents, my husband and my children mean the world to me. I talk to my parents 5 times a day. Prior to an event, I practice my speeches on the phone with my dad. My family IS my support system.
Vanilla Luxury: Anything in particular you wish you had more time for?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: I don't need more time for anything. I do everything - I work out everyday, I look after my home, play with my kids - Everything.
Vanilla Luxury: How important do you think is it for women to focus on their careers?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: I think if that's what you want and that's your priority then it's important to have a good support system. It's all about preference - some want a career, some don't.
Vanilla Luxury: Any tips for other aspiring mumpreneurs out there?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: A lot of moms say it's not the right time because their children need them. They hold back on their own dreams and sacrifice for their families. Remember that it's never a good time because your family will always need you. You will be a better mother, wife and daughter if you're focusing on yourself. Find the right support system that allows you to be with your children and spouse. And don't neglect the mom side of entrepreneur - these two can work hand in hand. It's how you organize and put it together that people fail at.
Vanilla Luxury: What is your life philosophy or favourite quote?
Shireena Shroff Manchharam: To the world you maybe one in a million and to one person, you might mean the world.
Shireena Shroff Manchharam is the founder of Sheens Image Consulting and House of Sheens. Drop by their showroom at 115 Amoy street, #04-00 to see their latest collection or browse here.