Features ShikSona Beauty

11 Inspiring Women Leaders Share Their Business-Struggle Journey


Today’s women are unstoppable; their power and influence are rising.

As the statistics say, women’s entrepreneurship has seen 114% growth in recent years, which means women own the world’s best organizations. The global economy also relies on the flourishing female-owned business market.

They are climbing the ladder of success incredibly quickly and better know how to make the desirable changes in society with their hard work. These women are known for their incredible charisma and for encouraging other women to join their growing community. A number of studies say the women leaders are proven to be better performing than male-owned businesses.

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Sonali Chaturvedi, Founder of ShikSona Beauty


Sonali has been an entrepreneur for over 15 years and owns a small business that provides IT consulting services. Passionate about helping other women achieve the same success no matter what their circumstances, Sonali knows that feeling and looking beautiful are all part of the process. So whether it’s that quintessential no-makeup makeup look or full-coverage glam, Sonali believes that every woman should feel beautiful in their own unique way.

The biggest challenge you faced at the starting of your business.
The biggest challenge that we had to face in creating Glam Set Go (our mobile beauty salon) and Shiksona (our lipline – soon to be expanded to beauty product – line that complements our mobile beauty salon) was transitioning from our previous career path and diving into the world of beauty. My sister and I have a background in the US energy industry, working across various parts of the industry over the past 15-20 years. To shift focus to a completely foreign and, in some ways, a more complex world (in our humble opinion) was certainly daunting, and it did feel like we were diving into the deep end of the pool to learn how to swim.

How did you overcome it?
We are very lucky that we had each other to rely on. We definitely hit a lot of roadblocks along the way, and we have made some costly mistakes in the process. Those things have a way of knocking you down, especially your confidence. However, the one thing that my sister and I have ingrained in us from our parents is that if you put in the work, you can ultimately achieve the desired outcome. Like many entrepreneurs out there, we have spent countless sleepless nights trying to navigate this new world. However, we took away two important things. First, if you spend the time to learn and listen at the start, the easier the road forward will be. We looked to people who have been in the beauty industry and asked the “stupid” questions. What you end up finding out is that most people are really willing to share their experiences and help you to avoid some potential pitfalls. The second thing is that the direct path to your end goal does not likely exist. Even if you can see the steps toward what you want to achieve, sometimes you have to take an awkward path to get there. So we shed any rigidity and remained flexible and patient, always keeping in our mind our intended goal.

What advice do you have for aspiring female business owners?
Working in the US energy industry, where the presence of females is more of a rarity, my sister and I have grown accustomed to maneuvering in a man’s world. It can be difficult to have a voice at the table if you allow the differences in gender to impact you. We try and sidestep the gender debates/divides that are currently plaguing the corporate world by understanding what we are trying to achieve, remembering why we want to achieve it, who we are targeting with this idea, and figuring out how to efficiently execute it. The start of our companies was always based on problems that we wanted to solve in our life. From there, we figured out from conversations with others that we were not alone in this problem which led us to find our target market. After that, it is all about finding ways to execute our idea in the most efficient and cost-effective manner without sacrificing quality. If you stay focused on the path toward your end goal, the noise that is out there regarding the gender divide becomes less distracting.

What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
Our favorite thing about being a business owner is watching an idea that we had many years ago finally taken shape and transform into something that helps people – in some manner or another – get through their day-to-day lives. Creating a business is very similar to having a child. You have to spend time nurturing it, and in the beginning, it can be extremely difficult, but over time you can watch it grow into something that you can be proud of. It certainly is not all roses along the way, but sometimes after a long day of work, my sister and I will have a glass of wine and try to take a 25,000-foot look at what we have achieved so far, and the feeling of satisfaction that comes from that is irreplaceable. Also, the wine helps!!

What are your- “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
Here are five things that we wished someone outlined for us from the very start as it relates to the beauty industry. However, these things can also be utilized across other industries as well.

• Make sure you define and differentiate your brand from other brands: There are so many different beauty brands, and it’s important for the customer to see why your brand is unique. Our Beauty Brand focuses solely on providing convenient, simplified, and luxurious products/services to busy women on the go. As part of our Beauty services, we have our luxurious mobile salons (GlamTrucks) that come to your home, work, event, etc., for makeup and hair services at your convenience. Our Beauty products are created to reduce choice overload for our customers. We recently launched a lip collection that includes lipsticks that are multifunctional, made with clean ingredients (gluten-free and vegan), and are made of a limited amount of universal/timeless/inclusive shades that look amazing on any skin tone and can be used for any occasion. Also, be ready to really think outside the box in the beauty industry to set your brand apart from others (for example, one of our lip glosses, Sassy Stunner, can also be used as a highlighter for cheeks).
• Identify your customer: Our customer is the Busy Badass woman who is working hard and long hours, busy multitasking, is not a beauty expert, and doesn’t have time to travel to a salon and wait for hair and makeup services appointment, nor has the time to go to the store or online and try to figure out which lipstick/lip gloss shades to choose with the best ingredients.
• Focus on that customer: it’s important that you focus and stay true to marketing and selling to your core customer only and not try to sell to other customers. For example, it may not make sense to sell our beauty brand to women who love doing their own hair and makeup and who are makeup and hair experts/enthusiasts that enjoy trying different beauty products and choice overload.
• Slow and steady growth with quality products and services: It’s really important that you roll out a limited amount of beauty services and products at a time and not take the Big Bang approach to ensure you can handle capacity and provide the best service and best quality products to customers. Also, we recommend doing a soft launch for friends and family 2-4 months prior to really test the entire process end to end and fix any unexpected kinks prior to the official launch.
• Ensure you hire full-time team members (not part-time contractors) that are dedicated to achieving customer satisfaction. As a small business, our brand’s reputation means everything to us. We hire top, full-time talent to make sure all our clients are happy.

What is your success mantra?
Our success mantra is that “from mistakes comes success.” For most people, it is incredibly difficult to get it right on the first go-round. With mistakes, we have the opportunity to learn, reset, and try again. So we encourage people to almost bask in the mistakes (don’t let it get you down) because, in the end, it will help you get to what you want to achieve.


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