Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Army wife & handmade entrepreneur Mukulika Sengupta's multi-passionate approach to launching creative businesses

Hello friends! Today we’ve got a multi-passionate fauji wife entrepreneur & serial business creator over at 'The Brigade that Builds Brands' series that turns the spotlight on military wife micro business owners. Meet Mukulika Sengupta, an Army wife, baker, soaper, decoupage artist, photographer and handmade entrepreneur. I love the enthusiasm with which Mukulika always carves out a career around her many passions, and the prolific way in which she creates and launches her many micro businesses. What I really enjoy is how we both share a love for proactively creating happy careers for ourselves and always finding something we can do from whichever place or situation we are in. 

milpreneur mukulika sengupta
Meet the multi-passionate milpreneur - Mukulika Sengupta

I hope you come away inspired and totally charged up to create a small business for yourself :). (Note: Stay tuned till end of this post to find out about the soon-to-be released online course for aspiring #workfromhome military wife entrepreneurs.)

CB. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji/military wife (and which service are/have been part of i.e Army/Air Force/Navy).

MS. A fauji daughter, studied in Sainik School Tilaiya, and married to my fauji for 20 years...I have been part of the organisation all my life. 

CB. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your brand/business/creative career?

MS. My creative journey happened by chance. We were posted to a small town in Assam. Those were the days before the online shopping boom and it was a difficult task getting stuff at such remote places. My son who was  9 years old wanted a beautiful birthday cake and all we could get was one of those artificially coloured pastries. So I promised my son to bake “the best” cake for him. And therein I discovered my passion for baking. I went on to do courses in baking and chocolate making from Neeta Mehta Academy, Swati Jain’s Sugarcraft India, Wisk India (Mumbai) etc. I started taking orders and conducting workshops. I started my own food blog called

baking as a small business

food blog as a small business
Mukulika's scrumptious home baked treats

The only bane of a fauji’s life is getting posted to remote places where accessibility becomes a big problem.  One such not-to-be-found-on-the-map station forced me to take a sabbatical from my baking venture. 

Next step in my journey took us to the city of dreams-Mumbai. To cut a long story short I learnt the art of making soaps from a reputed soaper who is the only soaper in India to have a Govt of Telengana certification to run a soap academy. I also learnt to make creams, lotions, shampoos, gels, scrubs, etc. What started off as a hobby saw me becoming an online entrepreneur as I launched my brand Skindulgence. My usp is that I do not compromise on the quality as I and my family use the very same soaps. So it is only the best for my family and those who buy from me. And by God’s grace I have a regular clientele and apart from individual orders I also get a lot of orders for Ladies meets. 

small handmade skincare business
Soaps from Skindulgence - Mukulika's brand

mompreneurs and solopreneurs
Mukulika with her decoupage products & handmade skincare goodies

The creative bug within me always pushed me to learn new things. So my next venture was Decoupaged home decor and I launched my brand M’s Creative Corner. Now I hold exhibitions regularly and have a lot of clients from the civil set up too. I conduct workshops. I have set up stalls in Garden parties and Coffee Mornings. 

I have many more ventures lined up and hope to achieve them one by one. 

CB. Fauji wives make their home in an assortment of obscure places across the country. Our lives are about living in the moment and doing what we can, when we can. Can you share how you stayed creative or found work that satisfied you while moving across the country?

MS. The online business model is a real boon to us fauji wives. My first passion of baking was relegated to the back burner as we moved around remote areas since it involved fresh produce. However my soaping and decoupage ventures have flourished with the help of online shopping. I can get my raw bases  easily online. My fb page helps connect my customers to me. So now actually staying in small places is not much of a hindrance as long as there is internet connectivity. 

This military wife is a creative entrepreneur

CB. How do you market your work/business and products while moving from base to base, place to place, and often to remote areas?

MS. I can take pride in the fact that my work speaks for itself. I make no compromises as regards quality because my ventures are not commercial interests for me. They are my creative outlets and they represent who I am. 

CB. How do you juggle that load of social commitments & welfare activities + postings and stints of solo parenting that are an integral part of the fauji lifestyle, while nurturing your passions and meeting work deadlines?

MS. Social commitments offer me an opportunity to interact with potential clients and showcase my products. It is only during the postings that I have to close shop for 2-3 months as we move and set up base somewhere new. The best thing about being your own boss is that you set your own deadlines. So that has never posed a problem.

CB. As a creative/entrepreneur + fauji wife, is there something that you cherish very much about being part of this community? 

MS. Fauji wives are the classiest ladies around. They love being creative and appreciate creativity in others. I have found a lot of support for my products within our organisation. 

handmade business by a milpreneur
At an exhibition with her handmade products

CB. What tips would you give to fauji wives out there who’d like to pursue a career in your field while living at small and busy bases (many still believe or led to believe that you can either be a fauji wife or a professional, and that’s not true)?

MS. My motto has been to adapt to the situation. I was a teacher. Then I did a lot of content writing. I co-authored a series of English text books for classes 6-8. I started a food blog and a travel blog. I am an aspiring shutterbug. My husband’s postings saw me change my projects like a chameleon. And i have loved every bit of it. So my only tip is to believe in your dreams. You will find a way out. 

Thank you Mukulika, for sharing your time and tips with us!

Ladies, a call to action for YOU:

Are you ready to learn how to launch your own portable, work-from-home micro business on the move? 
I’ve got a brand new Online Course for aspiring military wife entrepreneurs called ‘Be Your Own Boss From Anywhere’ come up soon. If you’d like more details, please sign up for my newsletter (I’ll be sending out updates and info via this): Sign up form (you can download my Free ebook once you sign-up)

Or, whatsapp me to know more about the online course at: 8427989038 (please introduce yourself if you whatsapp me for details about the course).

For more information and free videos & audio tips about #workingfromhome as a mom or military wife, check out my my Youtube Channel here.

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