To celebrate International Women’s Day, we sat down with the lovely ladies from Mumbai Mix to chat all things women in the food biz. From inKERBator graduates to an in-house residency at The Understudy in the National Theatre in just a year, Mumbai Mix has gone from strength to strength. They are a family business run by Mohini (mum) and two daughters – Deshna and Dimple, and we had the chance to sit down with all three ahead of this years IWD.
WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A FEMALE-LED BUSINESS IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY?
Deshna: We love it and are super proud of how far we have come! We left the realms of a steady salary and 9-5 schedule and entered a predominantly male-dominated profession, but this didn’t scare us. We were determined to match our male colleagues in everything they do to run their businesses. So, whether it’s driving a van or heavy lifting (the usual stereotypes) – we are not scared of getting stuck in. We have big aspirations and are determined to achieve our goals
HAVE YOU FACED ANY CHALLENGES AS A WOMAN IN BUSINESS?
Dimple: As with most working mums, my biggest challenge is juggling my family commitments and co-running Mumbai Mix. Running a small business means we are wearing many hats in any one day. This means we often have to fit in trading at the market, managing The National Theatre, prepping in our base kitchen and getting through our admin within 24 hours! I am determined not to compromise the time I spend with my kids and often have to sacrifice my own downtime – So TV time and sleep can sometimes be a luxury (sob sob). Despite this, I wouldn’t change anything, I love being a part of Mumbai Mix and am proud of what we are building for ourselves.
THIS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, WHICH FEMALE PROFESSIONALS INSPIRE YOU, IN FOOD AND BEYOND?
We are all in awe of the female famers that we work and trade with. We listen to their stories about their daily work commitments and challenges and truly feel honoured to be associated with such strong and determined individuals.
In the food business, we are inspired by Nadiya Hussain (GBBO winner) for everything she represents. A self-made entrepreneur who had the courage to enter GBBO and build a career around something she is so passionate about.
We are also inspired by Tomasina Miers and her principles on sustainability and food wastage but also for how far she gone with Wahaca. She is also a customer at one of markets and we appreciate her supporting our small business!
Beyond food, I think we are all inspired by Michelle Obama because she represents hope. She is a firm believer that your circumstances don’t have to determine your future and that you can direct your own path with hard work, resilience and integrity.
WHAT’S IT LIKE RUNNING A BUSINESS WITH YOUR SISTER AND MUM?
Dimple: I love working with my mum and sister. We all have the same goals and ideas on how we want to run our business. Naturally, we have days where we clash on everything (especially when we’ve all had a long day or are tired) but this is often resolved after a few heated exchanges (which can be eye rolls or stares because we can’t express frustration in front of customers lol).
Deshna: It’s great because we know each other so well and can be honest to each other about our respective strengths and weaknesses. This helps because we can then assign tasks accordingly and it only benefits the business. I know Dimple doesn’t get social media so would never assign her this as a task. Similarly, I would never serve a dish without a seal of approval from mum.
Mohini: I am so proud and humbled to be working with my daughters. I always enjoyed cooking but never imagined that my passion would lead to what we have today. We still have a long way to go but our support for each gets us through all our challenges.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING FEMALE FOOD ENTREPRENEURS?
Mohini: Keep your head down and ploughing through the challenges. You will have good days but some very tough days. The hours can be long and the work can be exhausting but if you perfect your idea first, then you can build a team to help you grow your business. Finally, keep evolving – our biggest achievements have come from change and the courage to take risks. Not all changes result in positive outcomes but that is all part of the learning process. I firmly believe that the key to success is learning to adapt.