Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Born and brought up in a typical merchant family, Mamta Gupta did everything that a girl isn’t expected to do like wearing short skirts to her school, Presentation Convent, despite opposition by the teachers and the setting up own business while studying.
Mamta had her first brush with working life during her pre-teen years when she used to spend her spare time at her father, Motilal Gupta’s, office. Her father was an exporter of cotton yarn, and it was here that driven by her curiosity she learnt about different types of fabrics. And this started her love affair with traditional weaves; something that exists till date.
But one thing that stands her apart from others is the fact that she does everything out of love. Love is the main motivating force that drives her in all her endeavours.
Why do I classify her as a shero? Well, for one she began her professional journey while still in college and despite all the personal and professional setbacks she suffered, she has risen like a star. She not just pulled herself up, but also several others, and she is still doing that.
An enthusiastic textile, fashion and interior designer, all rolled into one, Gupta has been mentoring start-ups, individuals and brands for over a decade now. In these times of cut-throat competition wherein everyone wants to be one up on the other and no one minds using people as staircases to go up the ladder of success, Mamta is a woman who actually gives her hand to the one on the lowest rung and pulls her/him up. And that’s no mean task by any standards. Only a shero can do that!
Through her store Buzzaria at Lado Sarai in Delhi, Mamta has taken it upon herself to promote as many small entrepreneurs as she can. She has a special love for people who work with their hands; this is the reason you find so many handcrafted products on display here.
Mamta started her first range of stitched salwar kameez under the brand name Kutir, in 1984, when she was studying Textile Designing at the South Delhi Polytechnic for Women. Unfortunately, Kutir had to shut shop in 2003, owing to some major losses she suffered due to some nasty and mean competitors. Though the flourishing business came to a sudden standstill, the spirit in her didn’t.
The ‘Never say die’ attitude that Gupta has inherited from her father made her stand up again. And by now she had also found a new meaning to her life. That was when she decided that she will extend a helping hand to each and everyone in need.
“Running Kutir was a great learning experience. I not only learnt the nuances of business, but also gained wisdom to understand people better” she says.
In 2010, Mamta founded Blue Lotus, her own company, which led to the multi brand retail store ‘Buzzaria’ in 2011. Holding more than 50 brands under fashion and lifestyle segment from all across the country, Buzzaria runs on the concept of Make in India. Some of the brands are God Bless, Mimathyma, Meri Jaan, Eco Storey, Hands On, IamRa and BluPear.
“Our country is rich in everything be it culture, traditions, festivals, food, clothes, languages, customs. This richness enthralls me; it makes me wonder as to how can there be so much beauty and such great diversity in one country. But it also propels me to work towards its promotion and unification. I want to do any and everything I can to bring all this diversity under one roof,” she says.
“It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, and lot many fail. I have seen people are quick to judge those who fail; everyone looks down upon the ones who fail. I want to change this; the way people look at struggling entrepreneurs,” she says. This is the reason, Gupta gives space to upcoming entrepreneurs at her own store, providing them with the infrastructure where they can exhibit and sell. At any given time, at least 20 Indian brands are being sold at Buzzaria.
“In the course of life everyone faces adversities, but that doesn’t mean that one should lose compassion. We don’t have to be mean, even if the opponent is being selfish,” she says. “We must stand with each other, that’s what makes us human,” she remarks.
Buzzaria gives space mainly to women entrepreneurs, but then it does showcase other start-ups as well. It has all kinds of stuff, from the traditional and ethnic to the contemporary and futuristic, be it in textiles, décor, garments, footwear, jewellery, aroma products, eco-friendly equipment or handmade art and craft items.
An advocate of women empowerment, Mamta vociferously campaigns for developing financial acumen among women. “I truly believe that for a woman to be truly empowered, she must first gain the knowledge of accounts and handling finances,” she says.