Tell us more about yourself. What are you mainly passionate about?
My name is Rahul Kale and I’m an entrepreneur from India.
Very early in life, I realized that in order to make an impact and to stand out I really needed to think outside the box.
I grew up in a fairly privileged and sheltered environment however I was raised to have a certain level of empathy and sensitivity to those not as fortunate as me. Even today, I feel grateful for the opportunities that I have been given and I feel very passionately about sharing some of what I have learned and acquired over the years. At this stage, I feel very passionately about inspiring and motivating others, especially those not as fortunate as me.
When the Covid crisis hit India, I realized that there were many who suffered, some rather disproportionately, and that’s when we started the project for micro-entrepreneurs especially those people who had lost their jobs and were forced to migrate back to their villages. When I see the thousands of people who really have the potential to achieve way more than what their present circumstances allow, I feel a little sad because of the lack of motivation and guidance, that they are not able to achieve their true potential.
But I also see a big opportunity for myself, an opportunity that I can come in, motivate and inspire these people to do something; to realize what they are capable of, and how they can achieve what they seek and in turn to inspire others.
I think this is what I’m most passionate about – inspiring others to realize their true potential.
You are a known entrepreneur in the beauty industry? What got you interested in this niche? Was there an “A-ha” moment behind it? Take us back to that time.
It was while I was studying, doing my MBA at a leading Business School in France that it occurred to me that the French has been very successful at taking their traditions and adapting them to the modern-day context – to the sensibilities and the aesthetics of contemporary consumers. Branding these traditional products and concepts, packaging them, and presenting them accordingly. That is why they have been so successful in things like perfumes, fashion, food products, etc. I realized at that time that India also has a rich heritage of traditions -traditional products, age-old systems of medicine, and other sources of indigenous wisdom which have time and again proven to be very effective and applicable in today’s context yet these haven’t been presented very effectively to modern consumers.
In the early 2000s the Spa and Wellness industry was just emerging, and we knew the potential for Ayurveda and Ayurvedic products had, with proven formulae for relaxation, rejuvenation, stress reduction and other solutions for chronic issues.
That’s when we decided to enter the space and I remember yes there was an “A-ha” moment when I walked into the first spa that we gave a presentation to ( incidentally this Spa went on to lead the several awards and it was ranked the number one Spa of the world by Conde Nast after we started working with them). But when I went to make a presentation to them and as we were discussing I looked at the spa I looked at the ambience – it was a beautiful very luxurious ambience and while I was presenting the products they kept saying we know the products are very effective, we know they work wonderfully well but the smell the texture the presentation that is not what a client would expect in the luxury environment such as this.
It was at the moment when I thought that if we take Ayurvedic products and transform them into Spa Therapies and Home products that suit the aesthetics and sensibilities of modern consumers it would be so wonderful – to bring Ayurveda to Modern consumers without diluting its core principles.
Fast forward today, what have you been busy with since the start of the pandemic? Care to share any realizations or insights?
About 15 days into the first lockdown when the novelty of it had started wearing off, I started getting terribly bored at home like most of us and I decided that for my existing businesses it would be a great time for us to connect with consumers fand or us to connect with our employees and create a sort of virtual community where we could spend some time together, and share knowledge with each and try to understand what each and every one of us was going through. So we started doing internal training online and we started Customer Meets like cooking shows, Educational seminars (a 45 minute home workout regimen, about Ikigai, etc), and other kinds of talk shows, and our customers really loved it. That’s when I realized how much I enjoyed it, and I started pursuing online speaking assignments. We started doing several pieces of training online we did a 3 months training workshop for NGOs in Central India – there were about twenty NGOs and it was a capacity building workshop for all these NGOs who manufacture and sell products of some kind (mostly cottage industries). The Training covered various aspects, right from understanding consumer needs to design aesthetics to packaging, branding, and how these products could be presented to customers via digital and traditional marketing. At the end of the workshop, I realized that I really love training, speaking, and motivating others, and that’s how the idea of starting the Parth Project Youtube channel came to me.
We have been conducting several skill development programs with the non-profit organization that I’m involved with but taking them onto a virtual platform was very interesting. I’m happy to say that we have conducted over 25 or maybe thirty programs that have benefitted a lot of people over the past one and a half years.
Personally, it’s been a very interesting time as well because I have sort of realized what my priorities are what things I really value in life moving ahead. What are those areas that I would like to spend more time and what are those things that perhaps I was just pursuing as part of the rat race, and not fully realizing why I was doing it, it has been an interesting period. Having said that, two years is enough and I’m really looking forward to getting back to normal!
Speaking of realization, when did you realize that you were meant to do what you are doing today?
It has been a journey, and I have evolved along the way over the years. Flashback 10 years, perhaps my biggest ambitions then were linked to the business. All I could think of was about growing it – expanding, getting in the right magazines & newspapers, and perhaps looking at an IPO at some stage. Now, as I’ve grown my priorities have changed, and I feel and think a little differently.
Business is important, as I still need to pay the bills, but I have realized that there are larger and more important things that matter to me.
This is not often asked, but what mistakes were you thankful for? Were there any mistakes in the past that led you to become the person that you are today?
I think I have definitely learned a lot from my mistakes. Not really sure which mistakes I am thankful for, but two things where I definitely could have done better are taking care of the relationships with the people that matter, as well as understanding what’s really important for me.
If you were to talk about a topic without any preparation at all, what topic would you talk about for 30 minutes?
I love talking about the topic of Optimism and finding joy and opportunity in the smallest of things. This is something that I have learned by interacting with people who have so little, just like the hearing impaired youth I met during one of our training sessions, and the youngsters I met at the seminars in North Korea.
What do you often do when you’re not working?
I love to cook and watch documentaries on Youtube – the audio-visual medium is so powerful and so exciting…I also love spending time with friends and travelling! Travel has been an integral part of who I am and I really miss that now!
If you were to share the top 3 books on your shelf, what would they be and why?
I feel sorry that I am now mostly reading on my mobile phone. I am immensely grateful to Wikipedia for expanding my knowledge on all kinds of information (some needed and some not!) but I wish I could read more. Three books that I go back to often:
- Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
- A year in Pyongyang – Andrew Holloway
- Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
Once all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
I just would like to be remembered as someone who somehow made an impact and made some difference, in whatever little way that I could.