Where business is no child's play
Roshi Tandon, founder and chief executive of Chubby Cheeks Nursery
Chubby Cheeks Nursery in Dubai plans expansion.
Roshi Tandon, founder and chief executive of Chubby Cheeks Nursery, is an inspiration to many Indian expats in the UAE. A successful entrepreneur and the winner of the Emirates Women Awards 2015, Roshi's business has grown in a short span of time without compromising on quality, social responsibility and business ethics.
Being a mother herself, Roshi realised the need of nurseries in Dubai's tower dominated areas and started her own nursery business in 2010. And there's been no looking back since then.
Chubby Cheeks Nursery is an ISO-certified group of nurseries with six branches in Dubai. It accepts admissions of children aged four months to four years with a promise of providing them a home away from home.
Hailing from a family of professionals and having no business background, it was a challenging journey for Roshi to set up her own business in the UAE. The immense support of family and her husband contributed to the growth story.
"I believe we must take risk in life. If we win we can lead, if we lose we can guide. I have taken calculated risks in my business career and introduced many new ideas," Roshi said.
She recalled back in 2010 the idea of opening a nursery in the ground floor of a building was doubted and challenged.
"At that time all nurseries were opening in villas in residential areas such as Jumeirah or Mankhool. We wanted to open our first branch in Discovery Gardens and the location was also a risk as the area at that time was not very populated and newly-built apartments were just being handed over," Roshi said.
Chubby Cheeks Nursery has paved the way for many other nurseries in Dubai that have opened in towers.
Roshi is planning to open more branches in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. She is also eyeing an expansion in Muscat and Doha.
"We are taking the spirit of innovation to Sharjah and Abu Dhabi where the concept of nurseries in showroom is still in infancy," she said.
She said the UAE is a land of opportunities where people from all over the world are encouraged equally.
"I have grown up, studied, worked and raised a family in this country. I want to now give back and make a positive impact on the economy, environment and culture of this country that I call 'Home'.
"Our business has grown and created employment opportunities in the UAE. I started with a team of four and now have more than 200 employees across the group. Chubby Cheeks Nursery has enabled many women to go to work, which is boosting the economy."
She said the early year education industry in the UAE is very dynamic.
"The market is booming with more and more families are looking for child care and preschool spaces. At the same time new players are entering the industry."
Roshi believed that reputation and word of mouth are the best marketing tools.
"We adopt industry best practices to ensure quality education to children, high standard service to parents, job satisfaction for employees, timely payments and repeat business to suppliers and corporate social responsibility towards the community and environment," she said.
Roshi realised the role of technology in her future growth plans and properly utilise the social media, online and digital to strengthen her business.
"Technology has helped in bringing me closer to people, through Skype interviews, video conferencing and WhatsApp team groups," she said.
"I have recently introduced a new app at Chubby Cheeks Nursery so that parents can get live information about their child and track the progress. My companies are also active on social media as I believe that in today's age social media helps businesses launch new campaigns, grow followers, increase sales and find unique and loyal customers," Roshi said.
Roshi said entrepreneurs should focus on building a team and lead them from the front.
"I always say 'We' instead of 'I'. I frequently tell my team, 'the customer is king'. I maybe your director but to my clients I am at 'service'. I believe leaders take a little less credit and a little more blame. During crisis situations I always stand with my team," she concluded.