Meet The Founder – Pooja Baheti of Poppi

With a desire to bridge the parallel universe of a homegrown western wear and the needs of modern Indian women, Pooja Baheti founded Poppi. Poppi is a celebration of a woman’s heritage while giving it a twist of flirty, chic, and feminine semblance. The brand’s purpose is wearability, comfort, and design aesthetics. It’s a conscious effort to curate each collection, in which everyone feels confident in each design, and it fits like a second skin.

A strong-headed and determined student, Pooja concluded her graduation in Arts. She commenced her career with her own content creation company- POPO KOKO Productions. With an aspiration to transform her career path and fill stylish western wear fashion ensembles into our wardrobe, Pooja found Poppi, more like Poppi found Pooja. Baheti’s style is chic yet comfortable. Hence it’s reflected in each of Poppi’s collections. The young and performance-driven founder had the idea for Poppi a long time back, but only with rigorous research of more than a year, Poppi came into action. The brand is an extension of its customers and is a
perfect fit for every woman. In our meet the founder series she says..

How do you get your best ideas?

Our best ideas are always a result of long brainstorming sessions with the team at office. We love researching, discussing and even challenging each other so that we look at our ideas objectively. Apart from office I also love discussing ideas with my family & friends and I’m always looking for their feedback and honest opinions and it’s always helped me evolve my good ideas into something even better. 

What’s something they don’t teach you in University that you should probably know?

While university teaches you how to hone your skills, grow as a person and stay involved in extracurriculars…the one thing they don’t teach you is about failure. How it is okay to fail and every failure turns into a beginning. I feel the focus on success is way more than failure which I feel should change because failing isn’t a bad thing. The notion needs to change right when you are getting a degree, learning new things at your university! 

First thing you do as soon as you wake up?

I wake up with my baby, early morning and after cuddling with him, I always tell him “today will be the best day ever!” Keeping this in mind, I wake up and look forward to & start my day.

What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses in the country?

I definitely hope people are more receptive towards new businesses & can be more supportive of them, instead of leaning towards already established companies. Whether it’s buying from them, posting about them, giving them a like on social media or even funding them – give small businesses a chance. Even Uber & Amazon were small businesses once. We gave them a chance & look where they are now 

What was your biggest stroke of luck since the launch of your company(s)?

Apart from being from a strong family business background & having a strong support system, I’ve only had to work my way up through a lot of rejections & hard work. 

What do you typically read?/ Favourite book?

I am a fiction lover. But recently I read “Believe It’ by Jamie Kern Lima & it was one of the most inspiring books about a woman entrepreneur who started selling cosmetics from her bedroom and eventually sold her company to L’Oréal for 1.2B$ 

Best boss you had and what did you learn from them?

I’ve never had a boss but I’ve had some great mentors along the way who have pushed me hard and also taught me to normalise failure. I also learned through them that the limits I put on myself are only because of me. The more risks I take, the bigger I think, the more I can soar! 

What question do you ask at interviews?

“What value can you add to our company/business?” 

It’s very important that the candidate you’re looking to potentially hire adds value to your organisation. Every time I hear them say “I will learn a lot from working with you”, I decide it’s over for me. Because if you’re only thinking of taking, you’ll never give. And only when you add true value to the company, does it benefit both – the employee & the business. 

One thing you learned about yourself?

I’m a great multitasker! I can be with my baby all day long and still be in constant touch with the team and make sure the show goes on. 

How do you keep your team motivated & engaged?

One of the key ways I keep my team motivated and engaged is by keeping them connected to the company. They are my family, so I make sure I share crucial company information, long and short-term goals, and how it can elevate things for all of us in the organisation.

Another learning for me has been to set a good example that the team can learn from. So even when I make a mistake, I own up to it rather than concealing it so even they are encouraged to never hide things! And most importantly, always ask for input – maintain an open door policy, and an open mind, so that it’s easy for the team to approach you.

How do you maintain work/life balance?

For me there is literally no work-life balance because my work is my life. I literally am always either doing both or thinking of both. So like I can be with family and be having a great time and also be answering emails at the same time. 

A childhood memory that shaped something you do in your business today?

As a child I was always very inquisitive, I wanted to know more about everything around me and that I think has helped me adapt and learn so much about me and my business especially with the pandemic. 

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Listen to your customers as much as possible. Talk with them like you would with your friends: email, in app chats, calls, zoom meetings. Don’t be scared to get feedback, what could be improved and if there’s a particular solution they are looking for. Understand their needs so that you can create something that adds value to them and therefore they won’t want to leave you.