In this blog of TeamWave’s FOUNDER STORIES, we have published an interview with Rashi Mittal Nair, the Cofounder of WOOP. Here, Rashi talks about what is WOOP, how did they come up with this idea and her journey as an entrepreneur!
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Reshmi: What is WOOP in the words of the Co-founder?
Rashi: WOOP is a unique triple-win platform that brings together brands, women and society. The more women consumers engage with brands they love on WOOP, the more money brands pay to WOOP, which are in turn used to help girls go to school via our partner Nanhikali. The women can check out the girls they have impacted and how they are doing in school.
Reshmi: Would love to know more about the tagline, using “Marketing as a force for good”?
Rashi: The tagline “Marketing as a force for good” encompasses the triple-win thinking. While selling shampoo, cream, and a dozen other things that the privileged population may want, we are indirectly helping fulfil what the underprivileged actually need – education.
Reshmi: How did you come up with this idea?
Rashi: Asit (co-founder) and I have always (even in our personal lives) been committed to giving back to society in any way we can. We both love marketing and didn’t want to give that up. So this triple-win model allows us to continue doing what we love while helping create an impact that we genuinely want to focus on – girl child education.
Reshmi: And what made you venture into entrepreneurship? Did you have prior experience?
Rashi: Both my parents are entrepreneurs. I was raised thinking running your own business is just a standard way of life. As a child, I often played “office-office” where I would pretend I’m running a business of my own. I guess the game just continued into adulthood and became a bit more real.
Reshmi: How does WOOP work?
Rashi: Women join the WOOP platform and tell us about their interests. They can then choose the brands they want to engage with. Every brand has a ‘journey’ on WOOP which consists of ‘missions’ (or byte-sized tasks that women need to complete). Missions could be ‘watch this video’, take this quiz, share this on your profile, give us your feedback, invite a friend, try this sample, create a video or lots more. For every mission they successfully complete they get points. Tougher missions have more points. Reward top performers for their efforts. Not everyone wins a reward, but for every 500 points generated by any user. And generate enough funds to support 1 day of school for a girl child.
Reshmi: How did you reach out to the initial few customers with this idea?
Rashi: Given both Asit and I are Ex-P&G, we already had a bit of a network of friends and colleagues in the marketing fraternity. But having said that, when we started, we didn’t really have any community of women on-board to reach out to clients with. So we started with Free campaigns offered to the people we knew, to build up certain credibility and get enough success stories under our belt to share with others. Focusing on small steps and small actions have led to big results for us today.
Reshmi: Any strategies or missions that you introduced specially during the current COVID pandemic?
Rashi: Most of our clients are big MNC’s like Philips, Reckitt, P&G, Kimberly Clark, J&J, ITC and others. However, with the Pandemic, we went all out to support local businesses, SMEs, and other smaller players that needed that additional help. Engagement for brands on the WOOP community was made absolutely free for brands if they were a small company and if they added genuine value to mom’s lives. (We didn’t take on brands of junk food, or anything else. That is, the products which we felt wasn’t truly improving mom’s lives.)
Reshmi: What is the worst challenge you faced as a Founder?
Rashi: Like any other business, cash-flow is always very different from P&L management. While we turned profitable in our second year of business, we turned cash-positive only in our 3rd year. The first two years we really struggled with getting clients to pay on time, or putting systems in place that ensured we were able to manage this better.
Reshmi: A business book that you would like to recommend
Rashi: “Buddha’s Brain” by Rick Hanson. It wouldn’t be traditionally classified as a ‘Business book’, but it explains how to develop greater happiness and love by drawing from breakthroughs in modern neuroscience. A happier, calmer leader will always lead to a more successful business.
Reshmi: An App that you use to boost your productivity
Rashi: Brain.fm is one that I would recommend highly. It’s essentially music that has been scientifically designed to improve your focus when you work. In about 10-15 minutes of listening to it… I go ‘into the zone’ where work happens faster, better and I end up feeling happier about the meaningful work I’ve achieved during the day.
Reshmi: What is your advice for current or aspiring entrepreneurs?
Rashi: a.) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or even fail. Nothing helps you succeed better than first failing at it.
b.) Be obsessed with creating processes that help you unlock greater time/productivity. Processes help you scale up faster.
c.) 80% now is better than 100% later. Focus on Small Steps, and moving forward. Perfection can wait.