From her own experience and that of her closest friends, Neha Gupta realized that women needed their own space to come together and relax. Creating such an environment is the goal behind the aptly named Women Relaxology. This India-based startup helps women connect, come together and enjoy activities to help overcome the stresses of everyday life.
A recent report said that Indian women are among the most stressed demographic in the world. Neha felt that stress in her own life in the corporate world and saw it in others. She saw it particularly in the changing cultural landscape where women are expected to both live up to traditional roles as well as participate in the corporate world. From their childhood, Indian women are expected to take responsibility maturely and in a well-mannered way, and the stress of this is often neglected.
Women Relaxology is a platform for women to have time to de-stress, and to find peace and happiness amidst these responsibilities and cultural changes. It offers workshops, sessions, space for talents like photography, travel, book, food, spirituality, health, entrepreneurship; and networking space to meet mentors and friends
Neha had two key conversations over a couple years that led her to found Women Relaxology. The first was with a superior in her job as a marketer, who lamented that women had no place to sit back and relax, even for just an hour a week. It was a casual conversation, but one that stuck with her.
The second came in 2014, in talking to her own mother, basically about the same issue. But her mother encouraged her to not just talk about it, but to take action – at least to provide herself with some way to escape the stress of life. It was then that Neha began to take this seriously, although it still didn’t take the form of an idea for a startup. In fact, she thought of doing it mainly for herself.
She thought a change of job would help bring her more peace of mind, but that didn’t work. By October 2015 she was committed to creating a networking-bases system to help destress life. Her mother continued to push her and help her refine her ideas and to overcome the fear of leaving a high-paying job to take the entrepreneurial plunge.
Neha came to the realization that free oneself of stress means you need to spend time with yourself, working on your own goals. There were two aspects to her plan:
- A networking space for women to have their own time
- An area apart from academics, where they could put talents to work
To get started, she interviewed young women in different work and family situations and talked with friends. She also made sacrifices, even moving to a smaller house and getting rid of her car and credit cards to save money!
Launch finally came on January 16, 2016, with three key features. Women could deepen knowledge of a talent or hobby like photography, cooking or travel; network; and learn about selling online.
A lot of time was spent in building the brand both online and through flyers and posters before their first event, a June photography tour in New Delhi. They were able to attract not only friends of friends but also some strangers, including a foreigner who opened Neha’s mind to
Neha began approaching investors, and in one meeting, felt really stung when one asked what was being done for the men? The concern was not a similar program for men, but that steps be taken to help the men in these women’s lives realize the value of Women Relaxology for their wives, daughters, and sisters. It’s a point Neha and her team continue to try to work through.
On January 1, 2017, an investor officially signed contracts to support Women Relaxology. Over the coming months, they plan to open central offices, hire more employees, and have a couple centers for activities available.
Advice For Others Starting Out
- Learn from your failures
- When you pick up the pain points of life, it really shines; she realized the international need that she thought were only local.
info [at] womenrelaxogy [dot] com