Devina Vadera-Bhandari quit her job as a buyer at super hip travel and fashion startup L-atitude, had a baby, and is now on to her next startup, albeit her own this time around; My Little Pudding. I talked to her about all the cool things that come with being a new mom, and what she has planned for her new company.
What’s your morning and evening regimen like?
Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash followed by Biotique’s Cucumber Pore Tightening Toner and Morning Nectar. My mother introduced me to Biotique when I was 12. I’ve used everything in-between, from from Decleor to La Mer, but I always come back to Biotique. In the evening, I’m all about Makeup Forever’s Sens'Eyes Eye Makeup Remover followed by the Cucumber Pore Tightening Toner and Morning Nectar. I’m always stocking up on Le Labo’s soaps everytime I’m at a hotel that has them because you can’t buy them in a store. I’m also a big fan of Kama’s soaps and Forest Essentials’ Hand Pounded Fruit Scrub. I’ve really gone the proudly Made in India route of late.
What are you working on now that Project Baby’s come to fruition?
I feel so inspired after having a baby! I’ve got a few projects that I’m working on right now. It’s early days, but one of them is a line of onesies called My Little Pudding. It’s what my mother calls my son, so it’s sort of an homage to her and our family. It’s an organic, India-inspired line with lots of expressive artwork. I really want it to be the kind of thing you’d want to gift someone.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about being a mother?
That mommy guilt is real, and that it takes a village to raise a child. There’s a lot of pressure on women to be the perfect mother and the perfect wife and the perfect business savvy individual, and that’s an interesting thing to balance. But it’s not a contest, and no one’s going to give you a prize for it. You’re not going to win Mother of the Year, because every mother is Mother of the Year; so it’s just about figuring out what works for you, and if that means calling in help so that you’ve got some time to explore other avenues, then that’s what’s best for you. And that’s okay!
What’s the one thing nobody tells you about being pregnant?
There are two things, actually. One is that contrary to public opinion, it isn’t actually a good idea to read all the books, because they will swallow you whole and make you incredibly scared of everything. The other is that you’ve got to go where your pregnancy takes you. You might have all these ideas for what you want to do and how you want things to go, but really, the key to being happy – and this sounds really hippy dippy, but it’s as true for life as it is for pregnancy – is to not be all closed up. Nothing works out when you’re stressed; that’s the bigger life lesson I learnt through this whole thing. Sometimes, you’ve just got to roll with it and trust that everything is going to work out okay.
How did the idea for My Little Pudding come about?
I’ve always admired people who start something of their own, and it’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Working at L-Atitude gave me an idea of what it’s like at a startup; I was their buyer but a typical day involved everything, from working on their digital marketing and reaching out to vendors. Still, I’ve never run something of my own. I’m so happy to have my boy and it’s so great being a mom, but being surrounded by so many people doing so many inspirational things has really inspired me to start My Little Pudding. And I don’t know what it is about living abroad, but it’s really made me want to do something India-centric. The American market is so saturated when it comes to small business; by contrast, there’s just so much opportunity here in India.
What are the four key things you cannot live without?
My iPhone charger, mommy blogs like Cricket’s Circle, Buzzfeed for late night feeds, andHonest, Jessica Alba’s organic baby and home company.
Have you been anywhere interesting lately?
We stayed at the Suryagarh when a friend got married in Jaisalmer recently. It’s this gorgeous, incredibly well decorated property that somehow never makes you feel like you’re at a hotel. They have everything down, from the décor to the food and the service. Every room is different, so you’re looking at different furniture and different antiques everywhere you go. They have these two golden retrievers who're always jumping into the fountain and eating the lotus leaves, and it just feels like home. Oh, and their dessert is delicious; they make what is probably the best halwai in the country. It’s not like the Aman, where it’s stripped of technology; this has everything you need, except the last thing you want to do is sit in your room and watch TV.
Devina is wearing the Navy Embroidered Long Caftan from Shop L-Atitude.
As told to Jossbox. Devina Vadera-Bhandari photographed by Santu Misra.