“In business, politeness is considered a weakness”
5 invaluable lessons Foxtale founder Romita Mazumdar learnt the hard way
Ask any female entrepreneur about her trek to success, and you’ll likely discover a journey of unlearning. Loosening the corset of societal conditioning, making up new rules as they go along. For Romita Mazumdar, founder of the proudly Indian beauty brand Foxtale, it was realising that politeness is often misconstrued as a weakness.
“In the world of business, people try to gauge whether they have the upper hand in the conversation,” the venture capitalist-turned-businesswoman explains. “It took me six months to realise that I had to be more assertive in negotiations. It’s not my natural self, but I had to adapt to fight against every stereotype out there.”
In moments like these, it’s helpful to have a tribe close ranks behind you. And Mazumdar’s just so happens to be overwhelmingly female. “From our initial research with 3000 women to the people we’ve hired, Foxtale is built on the backs of women,” she says with pride. “The lawyers I work with, my first investor, my board members — they’ve all been women.”
With grit and guts, Mazumdar built the skincare brand she’d always longed for as a customer. She shares five invaluable lessons she learnt the hard way.
If you don’t have a nose for numbers, hire one
Mazumdar is the first to admit that her background in finance taught her to be analytical. “It’s not just about creating plans and projections, but reading through the numbers and being able to connect the dots,” she explains. “It’s very difficult to know everything about a company, and that’s when you rely on a sheet of numbers to understand the whole story.”
For people who don’t have a similar background, the Foxtale founder suggests hiring someone to build a financial model. “What really matters is to give it your all, be resilient and believe in what you’re building.”
Drawing boundaries around your personal space will protect you from burnout
“I realized that for my mental self to be healthy, my emotional self also needs to be fulfilled. Relying on my team, having conversations outside of the workplace, even if it is about work, helped me,” she says.
Mazumdar also created clear demarcations around her weekly schedule —Sundays are sacred and she avoids work calls for 7 hours of the day.
You can’t be everything, everywhere all at once
Unabashed about her time management skills, Mazumdar learnt early on that she couldn’t do everything on her own. “I always work on one task at a time, and I delegate. Having a very strong support system of great managers makes the system efficient.”
Break down long-term goals into smaller, achievable steps
Mazumdar learned early during her entrepreneurship that she had to break down her routine — especially when she felt overwhelmed. “Every day, you think of your vision, but you solve for a day at a time,” she explains. “Achieving those small goals automatically leads you to the larger prize.”
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Don’t skip the sunscreen
Baz Luhrmann and Mazumdar may come from wildly different backgrounds, but the Oscar-nominated director and the beauty entrepreneur share one mantra — make sunscreen your best friend. “As a kid, I never realized the importance of sun protection. It was something you did when you went to the beach or a sports event.”
Her job has awakened her to the environmental damage that can wreak havoc on our skin that we tend to ignore.
“If there’s one piece of advice I would have given my younger self, it would definitely be using sun protection.”