Meet the SHEROES - Malini Gowrishankar
'The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page'
Most women are natural multi-taskers. It isn't uncommon for women to take on a multitude of roles in their daily lives. When it comes to professions too, several women dabble in more than one area of work. Today we share the story of Malini Gowrishankar an enterprising entrepreneur who works as a voice-over artist and runs a travel company that deals in - women-only travels!
Read on to learn about the reason behind this interesting name for a travel company and her thoughts,
What line of work are you in?
I am a freelance voice-over artist and an entrepreneur – I run F5 Escapes, an alternate travel company specializing in all-women travel.
How did the inspiration to enter this field of work come about?
F5 Escapes was born out of an insatiable urge to change the way women travel, especially in India. Having set my foot in over 16 Indian states and 11 countries, I felt that travelling outside India was a tad easier than within the country. That is when I figured that there is a genuine problem to solve here. However, the trigger came much later than the idea – the Delhi rape case was the one. That was when the urge became a raging fire inside me, pushing me to do something to make women feel safer and reclaim their space in the country. Considering that I have travelled extensively within the country and had great rapport with people across the country, I decided to put my social capital to good use. I started an alternate travel company that specializes in all-women travel. Thus was born F5 Escapes. F5 – we help women hit the Refresh button in life. As simple as that!
What are your short term business plans?
To include more Indian destinations.
To get atleast more Indian women to get our and travel India.
To get atleast 1 foreign group to experience India in 2015.
What are the top 3 challenges you face in this field?
Ensuring service quality at every step of the way is a challenge in the Indian travel scenario. We are constantly putting in our best efforts to ensure safety and comfort of our travellers.
Getting women out of their houses and making them experience travel is a huge challenge. While our early adopters were primarily single women, now we see more and more married women and mothers taking time out for themselves and travelling with us.
Price sensitive customer. A lot of research and hard work goes into making a destination women-travel friendly. However, our margins are limited as the first time customer wouldn’t know the value that we provide. This challenge is already getting easier as more and more women travel with us.
What advice would you give fellow women entrepreneurs?
The idea doesn’t matter – its execution that matters. Try solving a real problem. Keep the passion alive and the fire burning all the time. Experiment and pivot if necessary but giving up should be the last thing in your mind. Last but not the least, pay it forward. See how you can give back to the ecosystem instead of just taking from it.