Every woman has her own secret ingredients to success. Dr. Sheeba Seeniraja’s journey as an entrepreneur is definitely unique and not much possible for many to imagine, as it isn’t any normal for one to reach where she is today, for it is filled with thorns, mountains, long sleepless nights and tough roads.
Her personality confuses most people. Sometimes people had even asked her whether her professional and academic achievements are true. For an unlimited woman like Dr. Sheeba, nothing is impossible.
Being a multi-tasker from birth, she was never satisfied with one task at any point in her life. She loved experimenting with various things and trying out new concepts, as she felt that she was born to be unique and versatile. Any routine job done by other people bored her easily. She loved learning everything about anything on earth. She felt that learning is an endless process.
Dr. Sheeba did extraordinarily well in her career and got elevated to higher levels in fast track and won several accolades in recognition of her hard work and dedication in finance industry. She won many awards and titles throughout her career. She continued working in finance sector until 2016 to support her family.
“Something came like a sudden blow to my successful career path when I was working in Dubai -back in 2016. She was suddenly diagnosed with a tumor in her left eye which brought her to the rim of tasting death and changed her life upside down overnight,” shares Dr. Sheeba. She came to India from Dubai for further treatment and continued staying at Bangalore then onwards.
During the course of her treatment, a spark of thought came to her mind about the cause of the tumor in her eye. It was found that the eye make up products which she used on regular basis had caused the problem. That was when she decided to probe deeper into the cosmetic market and find out more about the ingredients and composition of all types of cosmetics that are used commonly by people all over the world.
Dr. Sheeba quit her job as a senior banking partner and got into medical studies and research along with a team of experienced medical professionals and biotechnologists.
She pursued higher education in Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Quantum energy healing and Psychology- all at the same time, while continuing her researches about the carcinogenic effects of the harmful ingredients in cosmetic products.
In the pursuit of educating people about the side effects of synthetic cosmetics, Dr. Sheeba invented her own natural products using natural ingredients that are safer when compared to the harsh synthetic ingredients used in many branded cosmetics. When her friends and relatives used her products, they found them highly satisfying and showing quick -permanent results unlike synthetic cosmetics that take years to show desired results.
Some of her friends insisted her to introduce these natural products into the market under her own Brand name, so that many people can benefit out of them. After giving a deep thought, without much planning and delay, she decided to sell her products commercially under her own Brand – LIARA.
LIARA was founded in March 2018 with Bangalore as its head-quarters. She was the one who did everything to launch the products -starting from product- R & D, designing, marketing and placement in the initial days.
It was from June 2018, Dr. Sheeba’s hard work and genuine intention started paying her off with rapid growth of her brand and expansion worldwide. Many aspiring entrepreneurs started showing interest in marketing her products at different locations and volunteered to become their franchisees by themselves.
She considers this as a real success, as she had not approached any single person to help her develop her brand and develop franchises. It is her mission statement and brand value that pulled people towards her brand automatically and made them follow principles to help people enjoy the benefits of herbs and natural products. Especially women from various walks of life got inspired by her values and expressed their interest in learning from her and becoming an entrepreneur like her.
As a born leader, she believes that leadership is not about growing individually but in helping others grow collectively. Hence she agreed to give necessary training and support to those who were interested in joining hands with her to promote natural cosmetics worldwide.
Thus, her brand LIARA expanded worldwide within a year of launch and made her feel proud of herself for taking such a decision even when her own health was at risk. Dr. Sheeba won innumerable awards and titles for her seamlessness and noble business. Her brand LIARA became ASIA’s fastest growing and top -natural personal care brand in 2019.
Today, when she looks back at this journey from being a banker to a successful beauty business professional within 5 years, it makes her smile with pride and satisfaction that she was able to inspire others with her actions, thoughts, and values.
In an exclusive interview with Insights Success, Dr. Sheeba shares her life’s journey with us candidly. Excerpts of which are given below:
Who inspires you to wake up every day and keep making a difference in the industry?
I’m self-made and my own life experiences are the inspiration that make me wake up every day and make a difference in the industry. I believe that my struggles and resilience is what made me who I am today.
Brief us about the operations of organisation its mission, vision, and core values.
LIARA was founded as a Natural Beauty Brand that offers holistic body care solutions at reasonable prices, so that natural beauty care becomes everyone’s routine.
Our vision is to eradicate life threatening diseases caused by harsh synthetic chemicals used in personal care products and create a cancer-free world.
Our mission is to educate people all over the world about cosmetic-terrorism through our education programs and bring back the forgotten glory of Ayurvedic & natural body care solutions that were invented over 60,000 years ago.
Our core values are:
- Purity, authenticity & quality
- Keeping it affordable by all
How has the current pandemic affected your business and what steps have you taken to safeguard your employees while catering to your clients?
The pandemic had completely put our business into halt in March 2020 all of a sudden while we were heading towards our goals in fast pace. Just within a month after our company was listed as “The fastest growing personal care brand “2019- 2020, we were forced to shut down our operations temporarily due to the pandemic.
I established my company without taking any financial support from external sources like banks or VCs. Hence we ran out of working capital within three months after the pandemic hit India. I had to liquify all my assets to pay off the salary and meet the monthly operational expenses. I’m proud to say that LIARA is one among the very few companies that paid FULL SALARY to its employees throughout the lockdown period. We didn’t cut down even the smallest portion of our employee’s salary and other benefits. Instead we compromised on our profits and limited our production to keep our employees safe and unaffected by the pandemic.
We allowed all our franchisees to close their showroom premises to save them from getting into financial loss by paying rents and bills while the consumers remained locked down at their houses.
As we couldn’t run the manufacturing units during the nationwide lockdown, we opened new ventures like education academy and new brand- development to create fresh job opportunities for those whose jobs were at risk.
I analysed the future of cosmetic industry under the new normal lifestyle of people after the pandemic and developed new strategies to adopt to the changes. Thus we started our education academy in addition to manufacturing, to impart online education in Beauty science, Ayurvedic cosmetology and Holistic health care, so that our customers can learn how our products are manufactured and try making them by themselves at their homes. In this way, we ensure that our customers continue enjoying the benefits of our natural products even when there is no production due to the unavailability of bulk raw materials and logistics issues during the pandemic.
In this way, we also safeguarded our employees from losing their jobs and salary cuts.
What creative ways have you employed to make the work environment of company vibrant?
LIARA has always been unique and creative in everything it does.
We as a challenging team ensure that every team member feels important, appreciated and accepted.
Some of our creative practices that keep the company vibrant are:
- Celebrating every special moment in our employees’ life through parties and lunch treats
- Rewarding the best performers with whopping amount of cash prizes and rewards to their families.
- Regular weekly team trips to nearby picnic spots
- Supporting female employees by providing child-care facility and entertainment systems-giving them a stress-free work atmosphere
- A work environment without gender bias: We have deployed men, women and transgender employees in our company, as there is no role of gender when it comes to working towards success. All of them are treated equally at all situations and we make them feel appreciated for every little thing they do creatively.
- We sponsor our employees for their daily personal grooming and personality development, because we think that feeling confident about one’s looks and appearance makes them more productive and successful firstly.
According to you, what are the essentials of being an inspiring business leader or business professional?
To be an inspiring leader, one must have a clear vision and mission that inspires others with similar goals. People must follow us because they believe in our mission and appreciate our values. One can never inspire others when they try to grow individually.
The one who shares their mission clearly to others and helps like minded people grow along with them is a true leader according to me.
It is OK for me even when my personal goal-achievements are getting delayed, but when I help others accomplish their dreams and vision through my business, I feel more content and satisfied.
The essentials of being an inspiring business leader are:
- Taking responsibility for both success and failure equally
- Not blaming others for anything that goes wrong
- Consistency, resilience and learning through mistakes
- Selflessly motivating others to grow
What would you like to share with the young generation of entrepreneurs who are looking to step foot in a leadership role in their respective businesses?
The first thing that young generation should know is the difference between making money-getting rich and becoming a real leader. To become a successful leader, one need not be financially rich or have great assets. One can become a leader when they have genuine intentions for others.
Leadership always comes with following qualities: Selflessness, hard work, consistency, authenticity, perseverance, resilience and motivation.
One can become a leader only when they feel their own values strongly and accepts their own flaws without regrets.
Focusing on what we want will take us to where we want to be.
It is impossible to be a real leader when we keep trying to appear successful in others eyes instead of being truly successful.
Continuously gaining knowledge in the filed of business and improvising our skill sets is another key to step foot in leadership roles.