A woman starting and running a successful business on her own feels like a victory for all womankind, doesn’t it? And why shouldn’t it? When a woman shatters the glass ceiling in a male-dominated industry, in a country that has some of the most skewed sex ratios in the world, it is a massive win. One of the thousands of women doing this every single day is Pooja Dhingra, of Le15 Patisserie fame. In 2010, Pooja Dhingra started India’s first macaron store with three people in Mumbai. Now, Le15 is a bakery chain, with about a hundred employees, taking the unique concept of gourmet desserts across India.
We caught up with this powerhouse through Bumble’s Find Them On Bumble Bizz campaign. Debuted in June 2019, Find Them On Bumble Bizz celebrated 25 remarkable Indian women with inspiring stories of personal and professional success, including Pooja Dhingra.
All About Eve: A woman in business in India was a novel concept till very recently, and now we have Bumble Bizz, celebrating a community of such women. How do you think this will help to encourage more female entrepreneurship in India?
Pooja Dhingra: A platform like Bumble Bizz is great to bring more female entrepreneurs together. It provides an opportunity to connect with like-minded women who are most likely going through the exact same things as each other. A place where you can reach out to mentors and connect with potential business allies is great encouragement for women in business.
AAE: What do you think is the step forward to bring more Indian women into the professional fold?
PD: It first starts with rights to education. If more women are in the education system, it will help them make professional decisions in their lives.
AAE: Everyone faces some sort of obstacles in their line of work, at least in the beginning. What sort of challenges have you faced in your career?
PD: I started my career when I was 23, and I often faced challenges for both my age and gender. People didn’t take me seriously and I was constantly asked where my husband or father were. It was unimaginable to some people that a young girl can run things on her own.
AAE: What made you choose food as a career?
PD: I’m extremely passionate about food and mostly desserts! I started baking when I was 6 years old. It was only natural that it eventually became my career.
AAE: What advice would you give to young women who are just starting their careers?
PD: It’s okay to not be perfect, it’s okay not to have all the answers at all times. Choose the people you surround yourself with wisely. Save money, and have a proper financial plan for your life.