By Indranil Halder
In the Indian state of West Bengal, Shaleni is the face of Kolkata social life. She is often busy attending Christmas cake mixing ceremonies or attending cocktail parties or just enjoying Durga pujo with friends in Bengali red and white Dolce Vita style.
Shaleni, the entrepreneur :
Shaleni S Biswas is the founder of Easy Note Stationery Pvt Ltd – a fast rising stationery brand in Eastern India that services over 350 schools. It also has over 170 products to offer. She is 2019 Times Power Woman(awarded by Times of India) and a member of Confideration of Indian Industries ( CII), Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, (WICCI), Indian Chamber Of Commerce(ICC) and Bengal Chamber of Commerce(BCC).Shaleni is one of the top entrepreneurial minds in India– a plan that, surprisingly, wasn’t a part of her check-list!
Cooking a perfect work-life balance:
Besides, being an inspiring entrepreneurial figure, Shaleni is also a doting mother. She loves to look after are children and cook for them. She is skilled at stirring up a quick pasta with finger licking taste. She is the modern Ma Durga whom Bengal business community needs today. She is great at multitasking by looking after her family and business.
Like all great journeys, what seems like a dream come true today for Shaleni, wasn’t a cakewalk to begin with. Shaleni married young and had children, before she started a career. Her first stint with the education industry began when she joined as a junior team-member at Chhaya Prakashani – a stalwart publishing house in Kolkata, India, headed by her . Though her first step might have been a simple one, from then onwards came challenges that Shaleni did not quite anticipate. Her zeal to understand the business from inside-out made her take small steps to come into prominence, in an office predominated by male co-workers. Though she was technically, the ‘boss’s wife’, Shaleni wasn’t handed out things on a platter.
Shaleni brought a fresh perspective and a unique set of skills to the job. This grabbed the attention of the organization’s leaders and soon the young Shaleni found herself adorning the director’s chair – a feat earned through blood and sweat. This episode not only instilled a renewed confidence in her but also opened a whole new chapter in her life. Though Chhaya was an organization people identified with, the setup worked on traditional business ideas that weren’t sustainable in the long-run. Shaleni’s new-age marketing ideas and her pitch to digitize the business model, helped the organization turn into a profitable setup.
In between her busy business life as empowered entrepreneurial individual, she also firing up occasional bengali delicacies like Chingri Macher Malay Curry or Bengali style prawn curry. It is her favourite. Shaleni dishes her prawn curry, while spending time with her family and friends in house parties. It is a way of staying in touch with her fun side and unwind after a heavy week of work commitments.
In the work front, Shaleni’s constant enthusiasm to take on new adventures, soon made her take on the reins of Easy Note Stationery Pvt Ltd and in no time she made it her own. Armed with an arsenal of industry knowledge this time, Shaleni brought three essential things to the venture – quality, innovation and constant upgradation. This philosophy not only helped her take successful strides within the first few years itself, but also enabled the company to tide over stumbling blocks with ease.
Shaleni owes the success of Easy Note to her ‘quick-on-feet’ thinking and the company’s adaptability to changing circumstances. With the pandemic resulting in schools and academic institutions closing and online classes becoming the go-to format, sales of notebooks and stationery materials, plummeted all over. What Easy Noteneeded was a breakthrough idea that would help the company stay afloat amidst turbulent waters. Along with her core team of fast-thinking innovators, Shaleni came up with a brilliant idea to start a new vertical – a packaging unit that benefitted industries working full-throttle to offer COVID assistance to people. The targeted clientele were industrial giants in aviation, food & beverage, health and hospitality industries. Using cardboard and paper as raw materials, Easy Note soon became the exclusive suppliers of customized packaging materials for companies in various parts of the country.
Shaleni strongly believes in giving back to the society that has shown her love and acceptance. Thus, her company Easy Notes stands as a strong advocator for the girl child’s right to education – a cause close to her heart. Shaleni encourages the same by donating a percentage of the company’s profit, each year, towards girl education.
And then she relaxes with quintessential Bengali delicacy, Pabda Shorshe or Mustard Pabda( delicate sweet taste freshwater fish, found in the Asian countries Bangladesh, India, Nepal).
Such is life for Shaleni!