The Moms Co. founder CEO Malika Sadani
Note to readers: Fit to Lead is a series of interviews with business leaders on their approach to fitness, leadership and navigating the new normal.
An engineer and MBA graduate Malika Datt Sadani worked at a bank before founding The Moms Co. in 2016. The founder-CEO says her company is India’s leading company for toxin-free products catering to expectant and new mothers seeking natural, chemical-free products for their daily personal care regimen.
A category builder and pioneer in the space, in a short span of time, she has received several awards, including the Times She UnLTD. Entrepreneur Awards, Business World 40 Under 40, Pharma Leaders Power Brand Awards and others; while the product range has also been recognised at the Cosmopolitan magazine’s Beauty Awards, the UK’s Mother&Baby Awards — Mum’s Award and LUXlife Magazine‘s Parent & Baby Awards (The Moms Co. is India’s first brand to have won this award), among others.
In India’s largest direct-to-consumer (DTC) transaction to ever take place in the beauty and personal-care segment, in October 2021, The Moms Co., led by Sadani’s expertise, was acquired by the beauty commerce startup The Good Glamm Group. The Moms Co. claims to be India’s first “Nature In. Toxins Out” brand that works as an independent entity to “help moms in India and across the world make safe, natural and effective choices”.
Speaking to Moneycontrol, Sadani, 40, talks about leading by example and how her fitness routine impacts her life:
Starting The Moms Co.
The idea for The Moms Co. came to me in 2012, when I had just moved back to India from London. At the time, I couldn’t find safe products for my daughters locally. One of my daughters also suffered from a skin condition, which made high-quality solutions a necessity. I spoke to several parents and found a gap in the market for products that mothers could trust. That birthed a brand which now serves over 2 million moms across 20,000 pin codes.
Your health and fitness routine…
I have always tried to maintain an equilibrium in nurturing my mind as well as body. I try to stay consistent because being a mother and an entrepreneur does not come without its challenges. Therefore, I believe that to be ‘Fit to Lead’ I need to make conscious choices that help me balance all the avenues of life.
Favourite fitness activity…
I have a very active fitness routine. Currently, I train six days a week. This includes different sessions between yoga, Pilates, circuit and core training and TRX workout. I absolutely love Pilates and core because it practises “Contrology” and helps me incorporate a whole-body workout at the same time. I find it as one of the most efficient ways to maintain optimum strength through muscle balance.
Spinning has been the toughest fitness challenge. I don’t enjoy being on that stationary bicycle. Just like in real life, I like to keep things in motion, entropy fuels me.
Your typical workday
It usually starts with getting my daughters ready for school, spending time in the gym and finishing some household chores before getting to work. Work is back-to-back meetings and about an hour of catching up with some of our teammates. I believe people are the biggest asset of an organisation and nurturing them is the biggest role of a leader.
Your leadership style…
My leadership style has always leaned towards listening and solving. I believe in an insane focus on constantly listening to the consumers and my team. As a leader, I am involved in almost all verticals of business, but I strongly feel my main job is to constantly identify newer opportunities and get passionate people on board who could help take The Moms Co. to the next stage.
Does a fitness routine help you navigate the uncertainties of current times?
Absolutely, I am a happier person who can do a lot more in a day if I regularly exercise. It’s a well-known fact that a fitness routine leaves you feeling happier and more aligned with your core. Not only that, they also help relieve any stress and anxiety, keep me centred and grounded, and ready to face any challenge with a positive attitude.
The one change you would encourage your teammates to make to deal with the challenges of current times
Caring for yourself as well as for your loved ones, be it through adopting a fitter lifestyle or embarking on a journey of passion. I have seen what drawing a sketch, going on a trek or pursuing a hobby in day-to-day life has done for a few of our teammates.
Leadership lessons in your fitness journey…
Being consistent and showing up every day is the key to success. You can be tired or in pain because of your last workout but showing up the next day, not giving up, is what gets you the results, and that is very similar to our entrepreneurial journey.What impact does your image of a ‘fit leader’ have on your team?
I believe in leading by example — I hope my team feels that if she can do it, so can I. So many flourishing female entrepreneurs around the world have flourished because of their unwavering determination and passion. So, if they take time out to find that hour so can anyone in the team. I encourage my team to invest in themselves. I think it’s the key to having happy, self-motivated people around.
What about work-life balance?
I believe more in work-life integration. As an entrepreneur, I haven’t learnt the art of switching off ever but what I learnt is to steal a few moments to do things I really enjoy and I really want to. I can’t go for a holiday thinking I won’t get a work call but what I can do is allot time on my holiday where everyone knows this is the time I am available for a work call.
Goals for the year…Personally, I want to learn a new sport, professionally I have a list of milestones for the coming year which I hope to achieve.