“Women have always ruled the roost at home. So they are technically groomed leaders. However, many homemakers lack the confidence and skills to work outside,” begins Pooja Bedi, a well-recognised Film, TV and Media personality who founded Happy Soul – a multi-vendor eCommerce marketplace that aggregates wellness products, services, and experiences. Pooja’s focus is to promote emotional, physical, mental and spiritual balance and well-being the world over! Pooja adds, “For homemakers, I am creating a massive B2B2C eCommerce portal due in May 2021. With this, they can earn not only sizeable income for themselves but also feel great about being wellness ambassadors and take charge of the health and wellness quotient of their family, friends and loved ones.”
Pooja is a strong advocate of leading by example. She says, “We can inspire women to follow in our footsteps only if we walk first.” Pooja had been actively researching metascience and alternative healing since 2003. She dreamt of creating an organisation that would start a series of empowerment workshops amalgamating everything she had learned over the years. Early on, she had shared her vision with Namrata Thakkar, a social and serial entrepreneur who founded Entrepreneur Excel, which has a strong community of over 70000+ entrepreneurs globally. “I used to routinely bump into Namrata Thakker at my gym and often shared with her my dream of creating Happy Soul, which would start as a series of empowerment workshops amalgamating all the knowledge I had acquired. For two years, she pushed and prodded me and gave me all the support I could ever ask for,” recounts Pooja.
Eventually, Namrata launched three workshop series for Pooja in 2016, which were well-received by organisations across the country. The workshops’ success helped Pooja acknowledge that the time was ripe to lay the foundation of Happy Soul, a giant wellness wonderland. She first launched Magicians of Wellness (India) LLP and made Namrata a 25 per cent shareholder. Later, she formed Merchants of Wellness PVT LTD, a tech-driven multi-vendor e-commerce venture. The brand ‘Happy Soul’ is now leased to both companies.
Magic of Team Work
Registered in Goa, Happy Soul has a young and dynamic team. Pooja drives her team to perform their best and rewards employees for great ideas and stellar performance. Under her leadership, the office environment remains filled with laughter and positivity. Pooja helps employees through rough patches in their personal lives to ensure they can give their best to work. She also uses her employment workshops to reach out to women’s groups across the country, including FICCI FLO, YFLO, EO, and Wow. Through her workshops, she focuses on spreading self-love, self-care, and self-confidence, besides igniting their minds, hearts, and dreams. “It is rewarding to see their catharsis during sessions and receive positive feedback on how their lives and the lives of those surrounding them have changed,” smiles Pooja. The sessions further her attempts to ensure that people speak up to promote equality and fairness and help others open up as well. Ultimately, it ties in with her focus on women’s and men’s rights groups and her aim to work on governance issues.
“Mental wellness is all about how you respond to everything that happens to you, good or bad,” explains Pooja. “Happy Soul opens the doors to the well-being of our minds, bodies, and souls.” Pooja’s dream has long been to aid in the spread of all-round well-being, and her practice begins with her own self. She believes that her workday is not complete until everything is taken care of, and there are times when it can get stressful. She loves to excel at everything she does and takes inspiring, helping, and challenging people to be the best version of themselves very seriously. To this end, she drives herself and others through passion and vision. By taking time out to walk at the beach during sunset or listening to music while writing and ideating, she reconnects with her inner self. Moreover, she keeps essential oils and herbs at hand to diffuse feeling overwhelmed, uplift her energy, and remain healthy. Most importantly, she focuses on staying positive and grateful, which she believes are her biggest stress-busters!
While it might seem that Pooja has everything in control, she had her fair share of challenges as a leader. Her eCommerce website saw more than a few unforeseen hurdles. She had planned for an eCommerce website that would be the Amazon of the wellness world. However, a disastrous web development team prevented this from becoming a reality in the three months it should have taken. Two years down the line, the website had numerous glitches and had already been hacked twice. Even as this was a significant setback, Pooja concentrated on retail expansion, which was a major success. Moreover, plans for a wholly revamped B2B2C website model are now on the cards.
On the other side, the pandemic dealt a cruel blow to people in the retail, hospitality, and entertainment sectors. The inability to work from home during the initial period of uncertainty saw the rise of new problems in different organisations, and Happy Soul was no different. However, Pooja utilised the period in revamping the website and developed a franchise model for her retail stores. Despite the challenges, the positioning of Happy Soul in the health and wellness arena enabled the stores to stay open during the majority of the lockdown. Business boomed as people rushed to pick up health and immunity boosters. Happy Soul’s deal with Francorp India to open 50 retail stores across the country’s length and breadth further augmented its success.
Moreover, Pooja also hosts Happy Soul’s YouTube channel, which has been up and running since January 2021. The process of ideating, curating, scriptwriting and shooting episodes keeps Pooja constantly on her toes, and she is enjoying every moment of it. She also plans a Healthy Soul product line offering spices, candles, massage oils, skin care products, and more in the pipeline. The plan is to eventually open up cafes and wellness centres to benefit more people as well!
As Pooja works relentlessly towards her vision of ensuring all-round well-being, she believes that the only person we need to be better than is who we were yesterday. As a woman leader who takes challenges in stride and forges her way ahead, she works with the belief of being open to change, newer ideas, and new energy infusing into the organisation. “Always have someone in your team who dares to challenge you, to question your decisions, to tell you where you perhaps falter and reward them for it,” Pooja concludes.