I e-met Atithee a few years back, in the beginning of the pandemic and instantly fell in love with the lovely pink branding and design of Paavo India – an online marketing place for carefully curated small batch products. Her critical eye watches over even the smallest details of the business. Her voice always has welcoming warmth and a gentleness that makes her an instant friend. I have seen her evolve from the first few steps of entrepreneurship to slowly taking confident strides and moving swiftly and gracefully. Her aesthetic sense shines through each and every work of her.
In her answers, there is an honesty and eagerness to move towards getting things right, but at her own decided pace. She adapts traditional rituals in to today’s lifestyle and is constantly working towards work-life balance – an ordeal each one of us struggles with.
But what I love about her, is her realistic approach for each day to be an opportunity to work towards improvement, healthier lifestyle and work successes– there is a calmness in her responses which is clearly going to take her far ahead.
Read her self-care views:
Tell us your relationship with skincare and how it has evolved over time?
I have always had pretty resilient skin, so for me it was always about acing the basics.
But with time (and of course, age) I started to understand the importance of more than just moisturizing, and how to make my skin look and feel its best. Seeing the results definitely helped me follow my routine consistently and has now become a therapeutic ritual in my day!
Are there any skincare or wellness tips or rituals that were passed down to you that you methodically follow?
One tip that I methodically follow is hair oiling, I believe this one tip has been passed down to majority of Indians over generations, and for good reason!
Whether it’s a simple age-old favourite like almond oil or a blend with herbs and essential oils, the right one for your hair concern or type is sure to balance and improve your hair health. Even at the busiest times, I make sure to oil my hair at least once every two weeks and keep it on for an hour before I wash my hair.
Do you have a special morning ritual?
With the ongoing pandemic, a lot of us have understood how we need to stop rushing through the day and put our physical and mental health first. I make sure I have my to-do list set for the next day the night before so I don’t wake up with a deadline hanging over me, and take time out to do something calming for myself, like practicing my skincare routine.
But the most important thing I have changed is not keeping an alarm on my phone! This took a great amount of time, but I let my body clock now decide when it’s time to wake up. A great tip to train your body to do this is leaving your curtains slightly open before going to bed.
Have your goals changed over time?
Before Paavo India, I was just a regular 9-to-5er who, no matter how much I loved my work, couldn’t wait for the work day to end or the weekend to begin. And when I decided to start working towards my goal to launch the website, almost all my waking hours were spent on just doing that.
Eventually, I realized the importance of a healthy work-life balance, which we often forget as entrepreneurs, and how taking the necessary time-off actually made my working hours more productive.
What has been a difficult moment for you in this journey? And how would you normally deal with setbacks at work?
I think the most difficult time for me was launching and running the brand as a one-woman army; from building the website to maintaining inventory to shipping out orders. I first wanted to prove my idea had merit to myself and create the necessary platform for small Indian businesses to be discovered and to grow.
The only way I got through it all and still deal with any setbacks at work is because my family and friends have always been my strongest support system, I couldn’t be more grateful for them.
Tell us more about Paavo India and what inspired you to start this initiative?
When the pandemic first hit us, we all wanted to support small Indian businesses, myself included, but I couldn’t find a platform that exclusively let me discover and order items from multiple local brands together, and that’s when the idea for Paavo India was born.
Who or what inspires you in your work?
I am so lucky to have the chance to work with some of the most inspiring and thoughtful entrepreneurs, more than 85% women, from all the brands on our platform. They not only motivate me to be a better businesswoman and person, but are always there to support & help me and each other so we can all strive to grow together!
What new goals have you set for yourself to achieve by the end of 2022?
As a budding solopreneur one of my main aims is personal development, I’m always looking to add to my skill set and acquire the right knowledge so I can help upscale the brand in different ways.
Another goal for 2022 that I would like to actively work towards achieving is exponentially growing our wonderful family of 45+ amazing and innovative Indian brands.
#WomenOnTheGo: How do you balance your work and personal life?
Reaching this balance has been a tedious task to say the least, as many fellow entrepreneurs can vouch for, but my friends and family have made me realize the importance of cutting-off from work at a decent hour and learning to take time off on the weekends to wind down.
Of course, if it’s an urgent task that needs your attention be 100% present, if not, the task or person can wait for you to be available. Moderation is key!
What one advice would you give young women who aspire to start their own business?
Just start! Don’t let fear prevent you from building your dream. You don’t need to have everything figured out in advance to a T; believe in your abilities to achieve what you have set out for yourself, and seek help where you think you need it.
Today, you can learn multiple skills online, network to find like-minded people to help each other grow, reach out to other women entrepreneurs you find inspiring, seek government initiatives for women in business and a 101+ other ways you can overcome any task you set for yourself.