Q&A 4Her – Manisha Singh, Founder/CEO of Divine Mama Bars
As a full time pharmacist and mother to a toddler, Manisha Singh knows how hard it is to balance work and motherhood while meeting her nutritional needs. Realizing this is the struggle of many busy working moms, especially for those still breastfeeding, Singh used her knowledge and extensive research to create Divine Mama Bars, healthy and handy snack bars that mothers can reach for at work, in the car, or on the run that will provide the essential nutrients needed until meal time.
We spoke to Singh about Divine Mama, the barriers she faced getting the company off the ground, what she loves most about being an entrepreneur and much more. Read her full Q&A 4Her below!
What is the unique problem or situation your product or service solves?
Divine Mama is a company committed to improving quality of life for nursing mothers. Our products are designed to help women adjust to the physical and emotional challenges of caring for an infant. We offer lactogenic food bars, which are convenient, nutritious snacks created from ingredients that help to build and maintain a healthy milk supply.
Proper nutrition is an essential puzzle piece for staying physically and psychically balanced, especially during this period of vulnerability marked by unfamiliar routines, lack of sleep, and dramatic hormonal changes. While a food bar won’t meet all of a nursing woman’s nutritional needs, it can often tide her over until she’s able to eat a real meal, providing nutrients and micronutrients targeted towards her specific physical circumstances.
A new mother needs the specific nutrients that are provided by lactogenic foods, and she also needs extra calories because the process of breastfeeding burns 500 calories each day. The convenience of Divine Mama bars makes them an ideal solution to these added caloric demands, and their lactogenic ingredients facilitate the process of not only eating enough food, but also eating the right foods.
In addition, having access to a product that is primarily designed for nursing women sends the powerful message that her needs matter as well, even though most of her time and energy is devoted to caring for her baby. Eating well helps a new mother to stay physically and emotionally healthy by preempting the added stress caused by inadequate nutrition and blood sugar imbalances, by providing her with a vital tool for starting to take care of herself.
What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about this particular industry or running your own business and why?
Going from full time pharmacist to part time entrepreneur is hard all while being a single mother to a toddler! When you are an entrepreneur you are doing what you love, but you also have to become an accountant, a marketer, a sales person, a manager, your own cheerleader, and trust me, those are not all of the hats that you will have to wear. Having someone tell you what to do is easy. Making priorities for yourself and being self-motivated is incredibly challenging. Having a flexible schedule is wonderful, but sometimes so many non-work things come up, and because of that flexible schedule, it is challenging to stay focused and on track. Starting a business takes a serious commitment.
What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?
A consistent yoga practice has taught me the true meaning of a famous quote by Henry Ford:
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
Believing I could start and grow my business played a huge role in the success I am now enjoying. Thoughts become things. What thoughts are YOU thinking?
What were the hardest barriers in getting your idea off the ground?
Finding a food manufacturer to bake my bars with the ingredients that I wanted. It also took some time finding the right manufacturer that could get high quality ingredients such as organic and fair trade. Making sure I had all the legal aspects in place was also pretty daunting not having a business educational background.
What do you enjoy best about being an entrepreneur?
I love connecting and meeting so many great health conscious and like-minded mothers. I also love the flexibility I have with my son. Having a small business allows me to be creative in ways that I cannot be as a pharmacist sometimes.
Do you feel becoming an entrepreneur has helped you grow as a person? If so – how?
Deciding to be an entrepreneur has made me a more humble person. I have gone from being a complete Type A personality to a place of being okay with not knowing. I take the advice of others and am a much better listener than ever before! Being a mother has also helped to encourage my entrepreneurship by not sweating the little stuff and focusing on the big picture!
Where can people learn more about your company?
Please find out more about Divine Mama at the website: www.divine-mama.com. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Divine Mama is also a proud sponsor of the Holistic Moms Network.
If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business – what would it be?
Keep up and keep on. Listen to your heart. Speak with conviction when you are speaking to others and avoid trailing off or framing things like a question. You are an expert with what you have created should speak about it confidently. Don’t let other’s negativity get in the way of your success. Know your weaknesses and build a strong team around you that can support you.