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Chicks We Love is our new series showcasing, well, chicks we can’t help but just love! Get ready to meet some of our favorite exciting female entrepreneurs and hear all about their wisdom for helping you to succeed too. If you want to subscribe so you can stay up to date on all our Chicks We Love interviews, click here.
In this article, I caught up with Kanchan Singh of Crumbs & Whiskers. Here is Kanchan’s inspiring story and her words of wisdom for you!
Photo courtesy of Kanchan
What was your inspiration behind starting your company?
I’ve always loved two things: social entrepreneurship and animal welfare! Social entrepreneurship is amazing because the concept is that through your business model, you can make your community and the world a better place.
Animal welfare has been something I’ve cared about deeply since I was a little girl. These two things came together perfectly when in 2014, while on a backpacking trip to Thailand, I stumbled upon a cat café.
I knew immediately that this is what I wanted to do because I could see the positive impact it would have on homeless cats and on people who love animals!
What is your favorite aspect of the brand or product line?
The personality of the brand itself is my favorite aspect of Crumbs & Whiskers! It’s fun, light-hearted, happy and uplifting.
We work really hard to make sure our branding, our messaging, and our in-store experiences always leave people happier and lighter than before.
That’s amazing and it makes us all feel great about going to work every day. My favorite part about the ‘product line’? Well, cats.
What do you aim to accomplish in the next year?
Professionally, I hope to open a new store within the next year. I also want to grow the impact of our company by helping reduce the number of cats in shelters and connecting cat people with their new best friends.
And as always, I hope to continue bringing a memorable and joyful experience to the people who love and appreciate our brand.
Personally, I’ve been writing a book about my journey of healing and self-work. In the last two years, I’ve taken a break from growing my business and instead focused deeply on inner work, healing, and self-development.
I think that the “inner journey” is something that every human, especially every entrepreneur, should go on. I hope to share my story in this book, and I hope it will encourage and inspire people to explore that path.
Photo courtesy of Kanchan
What’s the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?
I don’t want to generalize this to all entrepreneurs, but for me, entrepreneurship has been an isolating journey. It has been difficult for me to maintain a social life because I don’t have a lot of free time outside of work to make new friends or to participate in social gatherings.
It has also been difficult for me to find friends who relate to me, who understand what I’m going through, or who have advice for my specific circumstances. I’ve experienced a lot of loneliness as an entrepreneur.
What advice do you have for other women that would like to start their own company?
I have so much advice! First, make sure that you are pursuing something that fulfills you.
Your blood, sweat, and tears will be poured into your business, and the only way you will keep going despite the challenges is if you are fulfilled while doing it.
Next, take care of yourself and appreciate the little wins along the way. There is so much truth in the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your business or your employees.
Also, there is always something that’s going wrong in business, which is why it is really important to make sure you notice what’s going right.
Lastly, build a support team around you and your business. Find yourself at least one mentor, maybe even two or three.
Also, find a good therapist, a good accountant, and a good lawyer. Trust me, you need all of them.
Why and how did you end up an entrepreneur? Was it a path you always envisioned pursuing?
In my sophomore year of college, I learned what it meant to be a social entrepreneur.
Since then, I knew I wanted to start my own socially conscious business.
What tools do you recommend for other women who would like to be entrepreneurs?
Time management and self-organization are two of the most basic tools every entrepreneur needs. There are endless tips and tricks from other successful entrepreneurs available online, through books and podcasts, like the Tim Ferriss Show.
Also, having a system in place that keeps you connected to who you are, what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Whether it’s through the 5-Minute Journal or meditation or yoga, staying connected to your ‘why’ will help you immensely.
And honestly, the best tool you can have is people. Find a group of entrepreneurs who are sharing knowledge with each other and supporting each other along the journey.
And then tell me about it, because I’m looking for that group, too.
Photo courtesy of Kanchan
How do you overcome failure or fear?
I think the most important part of overcoming fears and failures is acknowledging them, and then feeling all the emotions they bring up in you.
Once you acknowledge the fear and feel the insecurities and anxieties it brings, you can then move through it.
I think we get stuck in fear or failure when we ignore it, run away from it, or numb it. We have to really confront it. We have to look at our fears in the eye. When we do that, we become bigger than our fears (and our failures), rather than our fears being bigger than us.
Of course, that’s really hard to do. There’s a lot of crying, journaling, and sometimes screaming, involved. Every time I have a setback or I’m overwhelmed by fear, I let myself really feel the pain, anxiety, and anguish of failing because after I’ve truly felt it, I’m able to move through it.
What habits contribute to your success?
I’ve developed a great habit of self-examination and self-awareness. I’m always exploring my motivations, my feelings, my beliefs, and my thoughts, usually through journaling every day.
This practice allows me to recognize and eventually overcome my own limitations.
Asking for help is another one of my most important habits for success. I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t do it all on your own – you need a team.
Lastly, my meditation practice. We live in a world filled with so much clutter and noise, and I’ve found myself in really dark places when I’ve lost myself in all that noise.
So I’ve learned how to slow down and silence my mind because, without that ability, I’ve found it almost impossible to be effective or happy.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I focus on eating well, sleeping well, getting exercise, listening to my favorite music, and spending time in nature. To me, balance is a feeling, not a number or a statistic.
If I feel healthy, happy, and grounded, I know I’m balanced – it doesn’t necessarily correlate with how many hours I’ve worked.
That being said, on most days, it is hard for me to find balance. It’s an art I’m still learning, and most of the time, I’m not quite getting it right. When I get really off balance, I hide away with the ocean and the mountains – they always bring me back to the center.
What does your typical day look like?
Every day is different but I typically journal and meditate when I wake up to get in touch with myself. I often do yoga early in the morning before I start work as well.
Once the workday starts, I like to get all my company’s creative work and my team work done before noon, because the mornings are when I have the most energy and when I’m full of awesome ideas.
I save all my mundane and administrative work for the afternoons. I also like to take naps so that is usually sprinkled in there somewhere.
In the evenings and at night, I usually write my book. I also try to talk to someone who’s important to me before I go to bed, but I’m not very consistent with it.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
I can’t live without music! When I’m working or being creative, I like to listen to piano. When I’m meditating, I listen to all kinds of instrumental tracks.
When I’m in social situations or in a particularly happy mood, I like to listen to chill EDM. When I’m dancing around my apartment, which is all the time, I blast Taylor Swift or Avicii.
When I’m going out with friends, I like regular EDM or dance music. When I’m emotional, I listen to country music and lyrically touching songs.
Music is a huge part of my life, and I absolutely love how it has the ability to carry me through anything I’m experiencing.
Bre is a female millennial go getter residing in New York. One part entrepreneur, one part geek, she obtained her degree in Textile/Surface Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology.
She has held some exciting roles in both fashion as a designer working for brands like Victoria’s Secret and Henri Bendel, as well as in ad tech working for publishers like Ziff Davis.
Today she operates her own luxury label Bre Avery, along with Chip Chick Media which reaches millions of women each month.
Bre is passionate about teaching women how to build a business and be an entrepreneur, in addition to keeping her readers informed of the latest technology trends and exciting products to improve their lifestyles.
You can send Bre a message here.