We love to present inspiring stories of women entrepreneurs of our country. There are few women entrepreneurs who have their own business for a social cause. Presenting the inspiring story of our women in business Ms. Sheena Oberoi, who is already a successful entrepreneur, more so a successful social entrepreneur. She is the Managing Director of Star Homz and the Managing Trustee of Vardhan
Sheena Oberoi, an alumnus of Chaumiere La Grande Academie, Paris and Ateliers De Sculpture, Paris, is the founder of Star Homz. She has more than two decades of experience in the field of design, painting and sculpture.
Let’s know her here more in her own words
Being born in a happy and loving family like a normal Indian family, is a blessing in itself. But this blessing was not in my side of the fate. I lost my father, just when I was 2. With a mother, an elder sister and a twin-sister, I took my first steps towards the existence. My mom was a national level record holder athlete. As a sports person, mom’s never to give-up attitude got naturally inculcated in all of us. She had her own unique way of taking care of three girls as a single parent.
My dreams, imaginations and a pencil in my hand naturally started fondling over a 4 line ruled sheet in the primary levels of the school only, that made me free enough that I never bothered about Maths, English, Hindi and other subjects. Through my pencil and sketches, it started coming out in the forms of greeting cards, school projects and some irrelevant school home works of my elder sister. Even, when I was a back bencher throughout of my schooling, my teachers never complained that. May be because, before me they realised, my passion monster, residing inside me growing its size day by day.
My life as a young girl
After the boards, when it was the time to choose the career options, I had no doubts while figuring out my path, my goal, my dream. To acutalise my dream, I took up graduation in a distance learning mode and the fashion designing course from the most popular and most accredited polytechnic of those times, The South Delhi Polytechnic. It was a two years course. Besides this, to exploit the best possibilities of my potential and career, I also joined textile designing from YMCA.
I always knew that mom has less financial resources, because be it today or those days, being a sports person attracts lots of recognition but less of money. Being a single parent, I have seen her juggling best of the resources and lifestyle she can provide to all three of us. Mom’s training of never to give-up like survival instincts, and the passion of converting the best for me, I also started working as an intern in one of the famous Export Houses. But after unrelenting hard work of three years, what I got in-hand were the wings to take-off. The wings that the whole world can see. The best potential of a crazy young girl, named Sheena.
Unlike both of my sisters, I was an introvert and shy girl till my schooling, but this hard work of three years not only gave me wings to fly but also gave a personality which was open; open to people, places, ideas, suggestions and the biggest most.. the critics. This was the time when I stopped bothering much about people, started giving them deaf ear as and when needed. The result of this attitude brought a surprise to me, when at the age of mere 21 years, I started my own venture.
My enthusiasm and passion, exceeded the client’s expectation that they had with the novice little girl as I was able to manage my venture quite well. But the fate had some other plans for me and the major recession in garments field raptured my self-chalked path.
Help came from a friend of mine, who just got inducted in one of the well-paying five-star hotel of Delhi, suggested me the idea of doing uniforms and linens for the big hotel chains. To share the truth, I did face lots of challenging time, where I found it difficult to stay afloat. The best part was that I was still able to sail through and managed to work with some large chain of hotels quite successfully and called off the show, when the waves went against me.
All four women of my life stood strongly with me, and along with their love and care, they did everything to keep my spirits high. But they never interfered in my business decisions or never talked about my risk-taking acumen. It was out and out my call, be it in the positive side or the negative.
For the next 15 years, I experimented with my professional skills giving them all sort of odd twists and challenging myself to be a winner. Now, when I look back at those experiments, I laugh aloud and even pat my back for successfully managing every hat, I had put-on.
I got married at the age of 35 years
As life is destined to go to next levels, there would always be some guiding angel, who would illuminate your future path. In my case, it was my husband, who possibly came from heavens specially for me. I met Anil, at a spiritual retreat and love connection came instantly, he proposed and I accepted. That time I was 35. But before this, I never thought of getting married.
He is a beautiful soul and a true giver. He being an Architect and I from the design background, had the same creative bend of mind. He belongs from a Christian family and is very calm and reserved and I am bindas Punjabi. We both enjoy each other’s personality and cultural flavours.
When it was time to complete our family, again the time was not on our side and even after all sort of attempts, I could not conceive. Anil and myself were in the deep trench of emotions, but again an angel named Michele, walked in our life when she was just 2 months old. Yes, we adopted her from an Orphanage from Ranchi. Time flew and she grew into a beautiful toddler and started looking for a company to play. And this is how Omkar came into our life when he was just 1 month old. Now they are 5 and 3 and are chocolate dollops of their father.
Launch of Star Homz and Vardhan
2014 was the time, when I wanted to settle with my best side, the designing and the garments. With all the years of learning and gaining insights, I applied all my experiences and started my own firm by the name of STAR HOMZ.
Star Homz was not an ordinary or just another design house. just like my own personality, it also had a crazy twist. In the past 15 years working in all sort of industries and roles, many things went into deep cores of my being.
That time I always thought, that whenever my next venture would take shape, I will always keep all those things in my mind, while designing my company’s modus operandi. Now, it was the time to actualize those self-commitments.
While working in multiple industries, I had always seen that the staff doing the low-level jobs, never got any sort of training, instead, from the day one they were expected to perform in the best ways. Another thing about the garment industry, that had disturbed me lot, was the colossal waste of fabric left as the side cuttings while making new garments.
I never wanted to ignore the moral or ethical responsibility towards the environment, ecology and our future generations. So, I made sure that each and every piece of mother nature that we receive in the form of fabric would be put to best of the use.
I am happy to share that, Star Homz that works in designing and manufacturing of products and made-ups for Home, Hotel décor. Our business process consists of starting with imparting skill based training to the rural women and to empower them and become financially independent.
From the past three years, I have worked relentlessly to establish my brand Star Homz. It has not been an easy journey as creating awareness on recycling and marketing was not an easy ballgame for me.
Today, our infant but strong nature-social arm, named Vardhan Foundation is committed to Mission Recycling of organic factory waste. Vardhan is committed to putting any kind of organic factory waste into recycling to bring out an innovative, creative and popular range of utility and lifestyle products through skill development of less educated and economically weaker men & women.
In sync with the Make in India and Skill India programs run by the Government of India, taking advantage of these programs Vardhan Visions to achieve its mission. In the next 5 years, we aspire to replace the plastic carry bags and packaging material by the organic, innovative recyclable range of utility and lifestyle products used in every household of Delhi/NCR.
Also, we wish to skill and train at least 500 men and women of the economically weaker and less educated section of the society.
The message with which I would close my profile, that I urge everyone to use resources of Mother Nature for our need and not for greed.