Women have been doing really great in the startup ecosystem: Saloni Anand, Traya

Adgully has consistently celebrated and acknowledged the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs and leaders in various sectors. One of our notable initiatives, W-SUITE, focuses on highlighting extraordinary women achievers in the Media & Entertainment, Advertising, Marketing, PR, and Communications industry. In this updated series, we aim to explore how women leaders adeptly manage their teams and overcome challenges in the dynamic landscape of their respective industries.

In an exclusive interaction with Adgully, Saloni Anand, Co-Founder, Traya, speaks about the role and scope of women leaders in today’s market ecosystem, woman entrepreneurs’ journey, stereotypes and misconceptions, mompreneurs, maintaining a successful work-life balance, fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion, and more.

How important do you think mentorship and support networks are, especially for women entrepreneurs?

As a co-founder of a startup myself, I believe that today women have so many wonderful opportunities to grow as entrepreneurs. With the right support, encouragement, and plenty of resources available anyone can thrive at such times, regardless of gender. If you look around, women have been doing really great in the startup ecosystem, breaking stereotypes and changing narratives. Additionally, support networks create a sense of community, for all entrepreneurs, to share experiences, seek advice, and find solidarity in their entrepreneurial journey. This is the right time to step up and identify growth opportunities. Aspiring entrepreneurs need to seek help whenever they face challenges while starting and growing a business. I believe that mentorship and building strong support networks are not only beneficial for individual success but also contribute to creating a more inclusive and empowered entrepreneurial ecosystem.

With a workforce of over 400 employees nationwide, maintaining a positive work culture is crucial. How do you foster employee engagement and growth within Traya, and what role do you believe it plays in the success of the company?

Employees are the heart and soul of any organisation, and at Traya we ensure that each individual can openly share feedback and their opinions provided, it’s backed by data and insights. The average age of a Traya employee is 24, we love working with young minds, their zest to make it happen is contagious. Ever since we started growing as a workforce, Altaf and I had a clear idea of what kind of culture we would want to maintain to foster overall growth. It was a conscious decision, to make sure our employees are a collaborative force working towards a common goal. We encourage employees to be fearless, fight for what is right, and constantly explore and experiment. At Traya, we celebrate not only successes, but also failures. I believe, for any organisation if the employees lack a sense of direction, or are unaware of their contributions, their overall growth gets hampered. We make sure our employees are aware of their contribution to the company and receive recognition for their work. This approach has played a key role in our continuous growth and improvement.

Diversity in the workplace is crucial. How does Traya actively promote diversity, not just in terms of gender but also across other dimensions, and why is it essential for the company’s success?

As the Co-Founder of Traya, I believe diversity is not just a catchphrase or a trending term, but a means of seeing growth and success in the workplace. We bring individuals together with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, which can lead to the flow of innovation, creativity, and problem-solving and this is exactly what we do at Traya. We’re committed to maintaining an inclusive workplace that provides equal opportunities for everyone, and we're proud to maintain an almost 50:50 ratio between men and women in our workforce. We promote diversity through inclusive recruitment practices, creating a culture where everyone feels valued, and offering training for all employees. Diversity isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do for a business’ success.

Traya focuses on holistic well-being, including hair health. How do you see the importance of addressing women’s health issues in the broader context, and does Traya have specific initiatives in this regard?

In 2023, Traya experienced a significant breakthrough by recognising the distinct behavior of females in comparison to males concerning hair loss. The brand achieved remarkable growth in the last six months by expanding in the female-focused market. One of the recent launches includes the Santulan range featuring products such as the Traya Meno Santulan, Traya Mom Santulan, and Traya PCOS Santulan, specifically targeted to treat female-led issues such as PCOS, Menopause, postpartum, etc.

Keeping the pillars of holistic well-being at the forefront we’ve introduced and are running two successful seasons of India’s first health podcast, ‘What The Health!’, where we debunk myths and misconceptions surrounding health and fitness, making it a trusted source for evidence-based information. By having in-depth conversations with industry experts, and tackling a diverse array of topics including Ayurveda, gut health, food labels, chemical-based skincare products, postpartum health, and mental wellness, our podcast serves as a reliable source of information for individuals seeking to make informed choices about their overall health. Notably, we have also dedicated episodes to discussing sensitive women’s health issues, featuring renowned speakers such as Sexual Health Influencer Seema Anand, Consultant Embryologist & Sexual Health Expert Dr. Prateek Makwana, and Sexual Health Educator Dr Tanaya Narendra (popularly known as Dr Cuterus), among others.

Breaking stereotypes is often part of a woman entrepreneur’s journey. Have you encountered stereotypes or misconceptions, and how did you overcome them while building Traya?
I was born in a service class family and entrepreneurship required me to completely change my attitude and approach. I was able to do that because of my in-laws who have been entrepreneurs for generations. Even today, the response to any new idea begins with “yeh toh nahi ho payega”, but on the other hand, my mother-in-law is extremely ambitious and foolishly optimistic – two traits that one must have to become an entrepreneur. During our initial days of building Traya, she would always support us and never ask questions. Now that she knows we are doing well, every time we enter the house, she asks “kitna hua” (in terms of revenue) and I greet her with my Shopify dashboard. She cheers for us and pushes us to be a better brand.

Juggling the responsibilities of motherhood and entrepreneurship can be demanding. How do you integrate work and personal life to ensure both are fulfilling and successful, and do you have any advice for other mompreneurs?

As a startup founder, I receive a ton of advice from all directions. But one piece of wisdom that resonated with me is this: “Being overly busy is the last thing you want for yourself.” However, what’s truly been my guiding light is the importance of being adaptable and embracing change in the ever-shifting world of entrepreneurship.

My journey as an entrepreneur and my personal life as a mother has been quite the rollercoaster ride, with unexpected demands, market twists, and evolving customer needs. It became clear to me that resisting these changes would only slow down my brand’s progress. So, I made a conscious decision to view change as an opportunity to get creative and make things even better. The shift in mindset has also made me realise that taking care of myself and my family is equally important. By prioritising my well-being, I have found a balance between growing my business and cherishing moments with my family.

Maintaining a calm and clear mind surprisingly boosts my productivity and allows me to handle challenges both at work and as a mother more effectively. The advice I would like to give mompreneurs is to prioritise tasks and set clear goals for both business and family life. Creating and sticking to a schedule, and allocating specific time slots for work, family, and personal activities, will help them maintain a better work-life balance and allow them to be fully present for both. I would suggest avoiding multitasking and giving full attention to each task. In my case, delegating tasks to others, whether for household chores or business functions, has allowed me to focus on the most important aspects of my role as a mom and entrepreneur.

An important lesson I have learned is that delegation is about effective communication. Rather than randomly assigning tasks, it is best to break them down to ensure complete clarity for the person executing them, prioritising quality over quantity. I personally also dedicate uninterrupted time to my child every night, post work putting away distractions like my phone to focus solely on him. Sundays are only for my son, I don’t even socialize unless I am allowed to bring him along. Also, you cannot compete with at-home moms. They are super-moms, so instead of feeling guilty, learn from them. I am blessed with mom friends who tell me all about the field trips, homework, or projects. Both my husband and I have divided roles that are very gender agnostic. I am responsible for all hospital visits. He is responsible for all things school. So, even if it’s a cooking contest, my husband will go. We did it deliberately so that, as a mother, I take care of finances while my husband takes care of homework and schoolwork.

As a successful woman entrepreneur, what message would you like to convey to young girls and women aspiring to enter the business world, particularly in fields where they might be underrepresented?

Aspiring women entrepreneurs should recognise that their ambitions are valid and their voices deserve to be heard, regardless of the challenges they may face. They must recognise their uniqueness and use it as a strength, as their individual experiences can lead to innovation in any industry, just like they did in my case. Building a strong support network of mentors and like-minded individuals who believe in their potential is essential. Being surrounded by those who offer guidance and encouragement during moments of doubt can make a significant difference in their journey.

Resilience is key when encountering obstacles. Viewing setbacks as opportunities for growth and remaining steadfast in their beliefs can help them tackle any problem whatsoever. It is also important, like I said earlier, to be calm and level-headed while making any business decisions. They can bring positive changes in their workplace and society with courage, confidence, and unwavering determination.

Offering personalised solutions through Traya could positively impact women’s confidence. How do you think addressing hair health contributes to overall confidence, and have you received feedback from women about this aspect?

Before starting Traya, I could not imagine the impact hair fall could have on one’s confidence and emotional well-being. I always thought that there were other things one can derive confidence from, like education or wealth. I was always of the opinion that ‘looks’ should not matter, but the truth is that it does. Be it hair loss, acne, or weight-related problems – these issues have a deeper impact on one’s emotional being than we might imagine.

When we did a qualitative study on the psychological impact of hair loss in young people, we found out that individuals aged 25-30, both men and women, experienced insecurities about their appearance, leading them to avoid social gatherings, ultimately affecting their mental health. It made us realise that healthy hair can significantly impact the overall confidence of individuals, regardless of gender.

Many of our female customers have dealt with severe hair loss, thinning, and receding hairlines, which has greatly impacted their self-esteem. These women often withdrew from social interactions, feeling hopeless about their hair health. However, upon discovering Traya through recommendations and research, they took the hair test and received personalised treatment plans from our dedicated hair coaches. Remarkably, within 4-5 months of starting the treatment, they experienced transformative results, including reduced hair loss and improved hair health. The feedback we receive highlights how Traya has helped them regain lost confidence by giving them the hair they once only dreamed of.


News in the domain of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Business of Entertainment

More in Marketing