Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Anu Sehgal, Founder of The Culture Tree, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Culture Tree promotes cultural literacy about South Asia through language and educational & cultural programs. Our goal is to create empathy, respect, and understanding towards all different cultures and further inclusivity while helping address questions about Identity with heritage cultures.
Our customers are parents from the diaspora and institutions that seek cultural programs.
We partner with museums, galleries, schools, and libraries to implement our classes and programming. Our programs include the celebration of key festivals and events, puppet shows, bilingual story time, mindful eating, mindfulness, and language classes in key South Asian languages.
Tell us about yourself
I am a marketer by training and have MBA from Yale, and have worked in traditional CPG companies for most of my career. I became an entrepreneur and educator after having my kids; 10 years ago, I realized there was a critical need for a real, authentic, and accurate depiction of South Asian culture and practices in children's programming and education. There was also a big gap in teaching South Asian – American kids their native languages more relevant, fun, and consistent. I believe an awareness of one's heritage, culture, and language is key for children to become self-aware and confident individuals. I also recognize the immense benefits of being bilingual. Our company's mission is to bring the Indian culture to the forefront in America.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The biggest accomplishment is when I see children from the diaspora speak their heritage language fluently and with pride. Another accomplishment was when on June 20, 2021, the Mayor of NYC honored us at one of our biggest celebrations and declared that day "Culture Tree Day" on our 5th anniversary.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Managing the day-to-day logistics and maintaining a presence on social media.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take the plunge and do it: You can start in any capacity, big or small, but the key is to follow your passion and start somewhere. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results."
- Connect with people: Network in any way you possibly can, events, social media, elevator. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to anyone and have a memorable story ("pitch") ready to share.
- Figure out how you will keep your life organized - this will help you keep your sanity because there will be a lot of juggling and curveballs!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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