Never stop believing in yourself, never let anyone tell you it can’t be done, says Neha Sahu

Neha Sahu, Founder & Designer, The Haelli

An artist based in Gurugram, Neha Sahu holds a Post-graduate degree in Computer Science and Technology. She started her career as an Assistant Professor for over 5 years but soon realized that being happy in our day to day routine is very important than planning something for the future and working unhappily for it in the present. This led her to start her own label 'The Haelli', which she started side by side while working for my 9 to 5 job and soon felt more content and at peace when she works for Haelli.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview where Neha unfolded her entrepreneurial journey with HelloPost Team:

Tell us something about yourself.

My name is Neha Sahu, I am the founder and designer at The Haelli, where we create handcrafted and hand-painted juttis. I am a Post graduate in Computer Science and Technology. Prior to this, I was working as an Assistant Professor with an Engineering College.

What motivated you to start your own venture?

I always knew I will end up doing something creative eventually but never had the vision of what and how. I realized being happy in our day to day routine is very important than planning something for the future and working unhappily for it in the present. I started my label side by side while working for my 9 to 5 job and soon I realized I felt more content and at peace when I work for Haelli.

What were the challenges that you’ve faced while starting your own venture?

Coming out of my comfort zone was the biggest challenge. leaving a well-paid job was never easy and you are surrounded by so many self-doubts. But sometimes you have to risk it all for a dream only you can see. 

Which was the moment in your journey when you felt that it's not working but still you didn’t lose your hope and kept it going?

Every day you encounter something which makes you doubt your decisions,  the initial phase is the most difficult as there are a lot of speculations and also criticism about your work. Over time we learn to be a little more fearless and confident. And about hope, when you have only one aim and you know there is no backup plan, you work for it giving your 200%.

What was the biggest achievement during your entrepreneurship journey?

I can’t remember myself being happier than for the first time Sonakshi Sinha, Actor, wearing our juttis. Although now we get requests from celebrities all the time. But, I guess firsts are always the most important.

How do you maintain a good work-life balance and mental health?

When you enjoy your work, its no more a burden. But it is very important to manage time and take care of your health as well. I make sure I spend enough time with my family and friends. And also eat well.

Who is your role model?

We always look up to our parents as they lead by example. But I also pick out things from everyone I meet to get inspired. I believe there are too many intelligent, hardworking, genuine people around to learn from.

What is your secret to success?

I am not sure my aim or purpose is accomplished yet to call it a success, but every new milestone achieved is a victory in itself. Talent always overpowers hard work. I have worked in two shifts, handled everything from a designing to painting, managing logistic, customer care, and technical help,  but I never stopped believing in myself no matter how difficult it was. So staying positive, always looking for opportunities and valuing experience and learning over riches. 

What’s one leadership lesson that you’ve learned in your career?

Respect and motivate. A person who is treated with respect and is told how well he/she is performing is very important. If someone is a part of any organization they must be treated in that way only.

What are your future plans?

I am looking forward to seeing Haelli among the top known brands in the country promoting handicraft and breaking stereotypes. And also hoping to see Haelli with a good physical presence among the top locations throughout the world with an excellent customer base.

Any advice to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

I feel blessed to be born as a woman. Although we might have to take tough routes at some points in our lives, nothing compares to the amount of courage we have, love that we hold in our hearts and our strong-willed mind. So never stop believing in yourself, never let anyone tell you it can’t be done. When women push each other up, miracles happen.

Anything else that you would like to add.

We have got only one life, make the most of it.


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