Downtown

Building careers, building women

MOOWES has over 50 active members who put up stalls during annual exhibitons. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan   | Photo Credit: K.V. Srinivasan

Twenty-five years spent supporting women. Twenty-five years spent helping them shine as entrepreneurs.

As they celebrate their organisation’s silver jubilee, founder members of Marketing Organisation of Women Entrepreneurs (MOOWES) in R.A. Puram cannot suppress their elation.

The sense of excitement can hardly be missed in Janaki Ananth’s voice as she talks about the journey. “We started with seven members. All of us were small-scale manufactures, who didn’t have much visibility and had a limited customer base,” says the founder-secretary.

When they joined hands and held a common exhibition, they found greater confidence in selling their products and also more patrons. As they made a strong connection with their customers, they continued with direct selling.

At the exhibitions they met women customers who were doing similar things as a hobby. MOOWES persuaded them to turn it into a self-employment opportunity. Slowly memberships went up and the non-profit organisation provided marketing support to these sellers. Today, there are over 50 active members.

“We trained them to face the crowd, counselled them about what would sell in the market and taught them sales and marketing techniques. Some women would under-price their products or give them at a throwaway prices just to sell all that they had made. We taught them how to make profits and be content with breaking even,” says Sita Ranganathan, the current president and a co-founder.

Vijayalakshmi loves to make pickles and papads. From selling only to her family and friends, she found a larger customer base after she joined MOOWES. Now, she has been with them for 15 years. “The confidence to talk about my product to customers is the biggest lesson I learnt from MOOWES,” she says.

Women who join MOOWES are expected to sell under the banner for the first few years, after which they can go it alone. Periodic training in marketing, food processing, jute dyeing and finishing are given. The organisation also helps women get loans and understand licensing policies.

“Many of those who joined MOOWES have gone forward and opened boutiques, tailoring units and training institutes now,” adds Janaki.

MOOWES conducts five exhibitions in a year. As part of the silver jubilee celebrations, an exhibition was inaugurated by Nandita Krishna of CPR Foundation and actor Radika Sarathkumar on Thursday. Over 40 women have put up stalls at Ethiraj Kalyana Mandapam, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, till October 13. Timing: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 7:00:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/Building-careers-building-women/article11066432.ece

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