All our lives are about choices. The moment we gain a conscious ‘I,’ we course our own destiny by opting for one alternative over others. At every turn of our lifetime, when we reflect on ourselves with an outside-in vision, we can see our past as a movie that could teach us how to reshape our future, only if we can stick to the endeavouring spirit churning in our innate nature.
All right, external factors matter! What matters the most are our responses to the external forces trying to dominate our living force. As they say, every action has an equal and opposite reaction; if we do good, and strive to do good through all of our actions, then only good will happen to us in the long run.
There are some dreams that will not come true, even if you are ready to die for it. So instead of wasting your life in false hope, it is better to pursue other dreams. Because all the time, more than dreaming, doing something good to be remembered forever is the only way to ensure your worth of being alive. That is how, when her childhood dream did not come true, Zarine Manchanda changed her track.
The Shining Light of the Golden Starlet
After the successful launch in 2019 of an NGO, the Zarine Manchanda Foundation, which generated strong media coverage and was felicitated with numerous prestigious awards, including two National Awards, two Governor Awards, and the Nelson Mandela Peace Award, Zarine decided to move into entrepreneurship.
She established several businesses in different sectors that bear her name. Happily for her, Zarine’s foray into entrepreneurship was not really a saga, as the decisions to launch her various companies came in a comfortable and organic manner.
In addition to her charity foundation cum NGO, Zarine now owns and operates five companies:
Zarine Manchanda Cafe,
- Zarine Manchanda’s Flavours of the Himachal Pradesh restaurant,
- Heavenly Flavours Cloud Kitchen,
- Zarine Manchanda Premium Security Agency, and
- Zarine Manchanda Treasures of the Himalayas.
With all the businesses operating successfully, Zarine is now looking to expand and franchise these businesses beyond Mumbai into other cities and locations in India and internationally.
A Successful Visionary
Sharing her inspiration behind venturing into the corporate world, Zarine says, “I always had the vision to be a successful entrepreneur and to grow my businesses so that they would be impactful on the international stage. I never wavered in my self-belief; rather, it was mainly a question of launching the businesses at the proper time, and once my foundation became successful, it seemed logical to transition into the entrepreneurial world.”
Zarine’s primary inspiration came from her beloved parents. Her father was a respected politician and minister in Himachal Pradesh, where she grew up, and he was a highly successful businessman with business holdings in many different sectors. She remembers, “Growing up with him, I saw first-hand how a CEO operates; how important it is to have a bold and unique vision, and to be adaptable, to change course in an ever-changing business environment. And my inner strength comes from my beloved mother. She raised me to have a purposeful life. To do good. To help others. To empower them, and to lead by example.”
To highlight her leadership skills, values and qualities people greatly admire, Zarine guesses this would be a great place to add testimonials from her fine employees or from media executives who have chosen to feature and profile her, or from the organizers of various award galas who have felicitated her!
“But to provide insights into this answer, I would say people admire my spiritual qualities first and foremost. I speak of spiritual matters all the time, and this topic comes up in virtually all of my conversations. But even more important than the words are actions.” Thanks to her beloved mother, Zarine was always raised to be compassionate. Always look to help people. Always act with good karma and good intentions so that God is pleased. And if he is pleased, good things will come here on earth in her life’s journey.
Beyond the Spiritual Realm
Zarine thinks people admire her because of her bold vision and her insistence on establishing a strong USP with unique branding for all of her business enterprises. She insists, “I do not follow the crowd; I always want my companies and business model to be unique and to be the first in a given sector. Whether it is operating India’s first seven-star café – Zarine Manchanda Café. Or being the first woman to own and operate a premium security company in India, as is shown through her Zarine Manchanda Premium Security Agency. Or whether it is opening India’s first truly Himachal restaurant, as is her new restaurant, Zarine Manchanda’s Flavors of the Himachal Pradesh. “To be unique, to be the first, and to not follow the crowd’ had always been my father’s mantra,” she informs. Zarine’s father was a very successful entrepreneur and businessman.
When asked to brief her USPs and how she is currently positioned as one of the dynamically multitalented personalities, Zarine says she is flattered by the question. “So, I will do my level best to answer! My businesses encompass a fairly wide range of sectors. From a hospitality industry café, restaurant and cloud kitchen, on the one hand, to a security company and fine decor business offering showpiece gifts and other collectables.
In all these businesses, I strive to the maximum extent to brand these companies with luxury and spiritual charm. For example, my café and new restaurant offer seven-star decor from floor to ceiling, including the finest crockery and cutlery. Beyond this luxurious appeal, we introduced spiritual charm in that our waiter staff rings beautiful Tibetan Bells to provide a blessing when they bring food and drinks to a guest’s table.”
The bells are from Dharamshala, where Zarine grew up near the home of the Dalai Lama. She adds, “Our guests love this wonderful and unique blessing!”
A similar standard of luxury is stamped with her premium security agency as their security guards and other employees wear elegant and colourful uniforms, and they are trained to provide impeccable service that makes their clients feel safe, secure, and comfortable when the guards are on duty at their premises.
Zarine believes the concepts of luxury and spiritual charm can be deeply entwined so that customers and clients feel they are receiving the best service in an elegant, refined manner. And also to provide blessings and the highest ethical standards. “So that my businesses grow and prosper in a positive way through client and customer loyalty.”
Levelling the Playing Field
Regarding her current positioning, Zarine is very pleased that her extensive media coverage includes all of India’s most prestigious publications. As such, she has been profiled and featured in leading business, economic and political magazines and publications that focus on beauty, glamour and lifestyle. In this way, she is probably one of a rare few women to receive coverage in such diverse and varied publications, and she hopes it is a testament to her skills and vision as a businesswoman and CEO and aspiring politician on one side but also in a way that her lifestyle and fashion tastes are also recognized and praised.
When probed about considering the current industry scenario, and being a woman leader, what kind of challenges Zarine faces, and how she drives herself to overcome them, Zarine says, “I am proud to be Indian, proud to be a woman, and proud that India takes giant steps every generation to increase possibilities for young girls throughout our country to be educated, and to have as many career and business opportunities available as possible.”
But the playing field is not yet equal, and there are still stubborn stereotypes and resistance to women and girls being afforded the same respect and opportunities as men and boys can take for granted. The fact that she is a young woman entrepreneur only adds to that challenge. Because there are so few young women in the entrepreneurial arena.
While this general societal and cultural imbalance exists, things are improving. Zarine believes she can do her part to correct the imbalance and remedy the situation by being empowered, keeping her bold vision and USP constantly in place, and insisting on leading and not following. “All of us women can think and act this way. And if we coalesce around these points, that gap will narrow quickly and permanently as it should.”
A Generational Bold Step Forward
Perhaps again, due to her upbringing and the strong values instilled in her by her dynamic, charismatic father, who was a successful businessman and prominent minister, as well as her mother, who raised her with a compassionate heart and focused on helping others, whenever Zarine meets a new industry contact in media, philanthropy, politics, government, or other business, she feels she receives immediate respect and admiration. She hopes this is because of the values instilled in her by her parents.
Zarine further says that, of course, entrepreneurship is crucial. “As I already said, each generation seems to take a bold, positive step forward regarding evening the playing field for men and women, boys and girls.” Girls and women have every right to be mentally and financially independent and not rely on husbands or others as sole providers.
If she can, Zarine wants to lead by example and show girls and women that anything is possible if you dream, envision, think, strategize and act in a big and bold manner. She always says: ‘Don’t follow the trend, because trends come and go. But bold vision and bolder actions are timeless and can survive the fickle nature of trends.’
Right now, if you ask every young girl in India what she wants to be when she grows up, probably 90% will answer a Bollywood actress and a movie star! But she believes that in one generation or two generations, after her business career and life is over, she hopes that young girls in the future will reply that they want to be a philanthropist or an entrepreneur! “And this is the legacy I hope to have in my own life. So that girls and women can succeed in many sectors beyond the glamour industry.”
Making Your Own Mark
In her advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into any industry they wish to, especially to women entrepreneurs, Zarine says that she has already said it previously, but it deserves emphasis again. ‘Dream big and bold and follow your dreams. Please do not follow the crowd. As it is easy to get lost that way. Create a bold vision in your mind and then take the steps confidently to achieve whatever that vision is. Create a USP that is unique to your life experiences. Always have a plan B, even a plan C. Because so often, our plan A does not materialize for one reason or another. We must adapt to life’s challenges, problems, and misfortunes.’
“On this point, I will note that, as I just mentioned, when I was a little girl, I aspired to be a Bollywood actress and wanted to be a famous movie star! I came to Mumbai, leaving my ‘Princess Life’ behind in Himachal Pradesh. I struggled to crack into Bollywood. However, I always had a B plan and a C plan due to my father’s profound influence on me. So I knew that politics, commerce, and entrepreneurship were a natural fit for me due to my blessed DNA. And so, at my lowest point, struggling to make my mark in Bollywood, I opened my NGO cum charity foundation, which propelled me to the success I now have in both the non-profit and for-profit worlds.
And focus on your legacy as I do. How do you want people to remember you when you are gone from this world, and what can you do during this precious life to make sure that you have a legacy that survives and thrives? These questions – and the answers to the questions – are always on my mind.”
From an Ideal to an Ideology
Zarine says she is extremely busy as a young woman entrepreneur with many businesses bearing her name. She hopes the very fact that she operates so many businesses as a young woman entrepreneur helps other women entrepreneurs. Because numerous media outlets have covered her life story, values, business model and branding concepts in rich detail. Thus, she hopes this USP of Zarine Manchanda – India’s Powerful Woman Business Leader to Follow – helps other women entrepreneurs.
On envisioning moving ahead in the future, Zarine says that she has bold visions. She works extremely hard and is very ambitious! With the successes of her various companies to date, she is now exploring and expanding each of these companies into other cities in India and even internationally. “I firmly believe that blending luxury and spiritual charm as I have done till date is a winning business concept, and each of my growing businesses proves this point,” she says.
According to Zarine, leadership should be the same whether it comes from a man or a woman. The same qualities that people admire in men, they should admire in women as well. This is why she wants the playing field to be completely equal in our country.
She mentions, again and again, the need for a bold vision and bold actions. The need to have a personalized USP based on life experiences and specific business models being implemented, and the need not to follow the crowd or to follow trends. But all this advice applies equally to a man or a woman.
“For us women, I think it is important to craft our own leadership and management style.” Strength does not always equate with physical strength or even decibel levels! Women can lead and govern differently. To be sure, it still requires force and dynamism. But this can be uniquely feminine in terms of how it is developed and implemented.
For herself, Zarine enjoyed a princess life growing up thanks to her father. This explains why it was so easy to introduce a luxury component into the branding of her various enterprises. Her mother instilled in Zarine the core beliefs and values she lives by. Especially her strong spiritual part. From this standpoint, it was easy to bring spiritual charm into her business vision.
Transform the Times Ahead
It was due to this vision that, alongside winning several awards, Zarine had also been conferred a doctorate. And she won numerous awards from prestigious media outlets for her entrepreneurship and multiple business expansion.
Zarine proudly serves as Regional Director for India’s BRICS CCI (Chamber of Commerce of India). It is a trade organization that looks to facilitate and expand India’s bilateral trade relations with other member countries, including Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa.
She is also proud to serve as Chairperson and Editor in Chief for the states of Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa for India’s National Council of News and Broadcasting.
Finally, with her strong interest in politics and the success in building her political base through her charity foundation, which has hosted over 500 charity programs since its inception in 2019, Zarine is entering politics and contesting elections in 2024 as MLA candidate in Andheri through her national party – Zarine Manchanda Peoples Party.
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