Young, passionate and ardent, Kayan brings entrepreneurial instincts and health knowledge to LivRite. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from S. P. Jain Institute of Management. Kayan has completed the 10,000 women program by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore and Goldman Sachs, advanced training & certification programmes in Digital Marketing, Branding safety & hygiene, and ‘FSSAI Food Guidelines’ and ‘Internal Auditor FSSC 22000’ within the retail industry. Having conducted three years of research on honey and beekeeping, Kayan is ready to take LivRite to the next level.
Kayan is a Biochemist. She chose to to work with honey as there were numerous biochemical properties of honey like moisture, ash, acidity, specific sugars, potassium amongst others which were beneficial to humankind. Indian markets sell honey as a commodity. However, in ancient times, India and other countries had given much importance to honey and its medicinal benefits. “Over time, people got influenced by western culture and lost track of how honey could heal a person from head to toe without consuming chemicals, anti-biotics, or any medicine that could have adverse effects on the immune system”, said Kayan. All this made her explore more and delve deeper into this domain. She travelled to many places, met different beekeepers, and gathered valuable information about this helpful product. She saw that there was only one existing variant of honey. Nobody offered the unifloral variants like Leechi, Eucalyptus, Kashmiri Acacia and many more. The higher quality honey that was available was for export only. So, a thought crossed her mind as to why not our Indian consumers have the opportunity of such unifloral honey, which at times has special benefits. As she dug deeper to collect more details, she felt disappointed to find out how honey was manufactured – processed, overheated, and most of the times even adulterated. This led her to provide pure and distinctive consumer-based honey to the end-users, which was different from the standard commodity available at the time. She tried to increase and spread awareness among people about the benefits of honey on their health. Eventually, all these processes helped many farmers and beekeepers earn some revenue round the year. “Farming is seasonal, and after the harvest, many farmers struggle. Beekeeping is a year-round activity where they can seasonally migrate the boxes and generate income throughout the year. That felt very fulfilling.” says Kayan.
Kayan’s passion and dedication to her enterprise are reflected in her growth. Given that her family did not come from an agricultural background, Kayan said it was challenging in the initial phase. She met one or two people from the industry, and through them, she was able to connect with more people who were in this field for a long time. She travelled to many states of North India and met many beekeepers to collect more information about the whole process. They were reluctant to share all the details initially, she says, and were not ready to accept the techniques she and her husband suggested. These beekeepers were extracting honey in a hurry without allowing natural sealing with proper natural beeswax, which resulted in a raw taste in the flavour of honey. There were no proper mechanisms to test the quality of honey on the field. Most of the farmers expected immediate cash payment on a purchase. Many of them did not even have a bank account, which made it difficult to transact, Kayan says, as they had to confirm the quality before making payments. She researched this sphere and then decided to import special test kits from the United States, which helped to check the basic parameters in the quality of honey. Only after these quality tests were approved, honey was collected and sent to their facility. Surpassing all hurdles, especially gaining the trust of beekeepers in the field, which was an arduous task, paved the way towards success in a gradual manner.
Plans to diversify into the wellness sector is the next task on the target list for Kayan. As honey aids in healing many illnesses like Gut (digestive) health, regulating blood sugar, improved immunity, and so on, Kayan aims towards manufacturing health tonics and foods that would include honey as the main ingredient.
Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs:
In India, society is still very reluctant to accept change in women’s role concerning household responsibilities. The most common assumption is that, it is the women’s primary role to look after the domestic affairs and not a joint responsibility of both husband and wife. She is judged and held accountable for anything going wrong on the home front in every aspect. Although times are changing, it may take a while to get the desired change in the outlook towards women in a professional capacity. People fail to understand that women are also better planners, risk-takers, managers, accountants, organised and responsible. Kayan is confident that women can be much more productive and professional given a chance to prove their skills.
Speaking about risks, Kayan feels she has a significant risk appetite. She believes in taking big leaps and attributes this risk-taking quality to her father. “At some point, just believe in yourself and move forward in life”, says Kayan. Equally, there were numerous failures on the paths she had chosen. Each success came against a hundred failure. However, that did not deter this young woman from overcoming the hassles coming her way. She accepts that her business is still getting into shape, have not yet grown to a large extent due to lack of experience in business and many other factors.
Covid-19 pandemic proved to be a boon for Kayan. She said they took this phase as their planning interval. They could review and analyse the process, and identified those areas that needed further improvement. Another significant change in her life was relocating to a different state to overcome overhead expenses and optimum utilisation of available resources and be closer to the supply chain. Kayan believes she has made the most of the opportunities that have come her way, contributing to the small growths in her business. In a way, her hard work, resilience and adaptability skills brought out positive effects in business and were able to sustain even during this recession period of the economy.
Kayan’s piece of advice to women:
Kayan had a very clear and concise viewpoint towards her career. She appeals to women not to be in haste to settle down in life or start earning. Her advice is to spend more time learning, research and equipping oneself with knowledge for the journey ahead and figure out more avenues and scope, as ample information is available now over the online resources and through various incubation cells – private and government-owned.
Her message to women is, “Enroll with a program that can handhold you and help you achieve your areas of interests. Do not be in a hurry; have the patience to do things the right way and make the most of every opportunity coming your way; else you may miss out on some of the important learnings and opportunities in life”.
We wish you good luck, Ms Kayan Motashaw!!! As you move on to face new challenges in your entrepreneurial journey, may you turn into a legend in your honey making venture.