Purnima Rao: Bringing fresh green from the farm to the fork

Purnima Rao is the founder of fresh2all.com, which sources fruits & vegetables directly from the farms, at times from the wholesale market and delivers it to the doorsteps of Gurgaon’s working class. A mother of two, an engineer who applied her technical know-how to create a successful business

Tell us something about yourself?

I come from a middle class family of Patiala and graduated in Computer Science Engineering from A.I.E.T Faridkot, Punjab. Both my parents were working. After I lost my father at an early age, my mother raised me and my brother well despite all the struggles. An interesting thing I would like to share here is that my marriage is the result of technology. I met my husband over a chat application when he was in USA and I was in college. We met each other a few times and decided to marry.

What made you switch from a career in corporate and start your own business?

I worked for 8 years in the corporate world. When my first daughter was born, I took a break and re-joined work.  After my second daughter, I took a break again. I am a firm believer that it is crucial to give time to your children in their initial years. For example, breastfeeding is so important for a child’s health. So I quit my job for the upbringing of my daughters. When my daughters were old enough I started thinking of returning to mainstream career. I read about online grocery companies and one day I ordered some vegetables from one such company and found that the quality of the grocery was not good at all. When I checked out local stores, I found that they were selling vegetables and fruits at very high rates. Our family had a very strong emotional connect with our village in Rewari which is just one hour away from Gurgaon and other farms in Haryana, Rajasthan, and Punjab. I immediately connected the dots and being from a technology background, I built a unique value proposition to provide chemical-free vegetables and fruits at normal rates from our own farms.  We finally launched fresh2all (a venture by Univerv Excel Services LLP) in August 2015.

What were the challenges you faced while being an entrepreneur mom?

In delivering fresh produce, I have to start early in the morning and being a highly operations intensive business, my day only ends late night. I also have to perform other duties at home. As it is with mothers, we all have a default skill of multi-tasking, which comes handy to me in managing my business along with my other family responsibilities. I keep balancing my time between dropping and picking kids from school and rushing to office. In addition I also try to take out time for my in-laws, especially for festivals.

Who inspired you and what all support you got?

The inspiration came from my husband who has been very encouraging and helpful.  Being your own boss along with managing a successful business keeps me motivated.  Moreover as fresh2all deals with fruits & vegetables, I thought I could connect well with my customers (which are mostly females). The idea of providing fresh and healthy products to customers and a great service in itself is a noble thought and I am proud we are living with our principles and value system with fresh2all. My husband and my in-laws have been my backbone in this journey. My husband is still working in a MNC and he and one of his friends provided the funding for fresh2all.

What advice do you have for other working mothers?

I appreciate working mothers who work in addition to handling family responsibilities. Having seen my mother work, I believe that women should make use of their education, talent and skills. They should participate in the mainstream business/job world equally. If making money is important then raising kids and managing the entire family is also  important. It is the women who are the fulcrum of all the relationships in a family so it is important that they continue managing it well along with work.

Hence I would advise all mothers to maintain a 360 degrees balance in life, which is definitely not easy but that is what we should keep trying for a happy & meaningful life.

Inspiring Eve Series aims to inspire and motivate moms (working or those contemplating getting back to work). If you have a story to share, please write to us on contact@proeves.com

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